This was just a good all around story that kept me enjoying the book all the way through. The back of the book describes this story very well, “Priscilla White KNEW God wanted her to be a missionary; NOT A WIFE. Then, the missionary board declared the ONLY WAY she can serve is to be MARRIED. Now, married IN NAME ONLY, her epic journey west will test her spirit. .. and the new LONGINGS of her heart.” What the description doesn’t tell you is the heartwarming way Priscilla and her husband-in-name-only, Dr. Eli Ernest grow to care for each other as they travel across the country to work with the Nez Perce Indians out West. The description of the their travels and the hardships they endure makes you realize how difficult it must have been for the first woman to make that journey (and this story is written based upon a true life story of the first woman to make this journey, as the author mentions at the back of the book).Mabel became a true friend in this story and she reminded Priscilla that God will give us the strength we need. When we are weak, then He is strong.Priscilla does come to realize that though she thought she was the perfect missionary, she had come to understand that her piety, commitment, youth and education didn’t matter in the harsh wilderness she found herself in. The harshness of the trip let her see the true her; her selfishness, her self-pity and her pride.
I just fell in love with Priscilla and her determination and unrelenting spirit despite her setbacks in life, which were many. She had to give up her dream of having children, her dream of going to India, and her dream of marrying for love were just a few. But she endures and seeks to encourage others. Dr. Eli Ernest is also a man you will learn to appreciate, though at first he comes across as rather abrupt and uncaring, but he starts to see Priscilla for the special woman she really is. The way these two people come to care for each other at times just made me tingle all over, waiting for them to acknowledge their true feelings to themselves and then to each other. This is an author I have read before and enjoyed her work, but this story I think will be up there as one of her very best. It is a story of hardships and hope, of love and desire and a story that will make you glad you picked it up and read it. A big thumbs up for this author and her story.
Paperback: 378 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (September 1, 2011)