Award winning author Amanda Cabot has another hit with her latest novel, With Autumn Returns. I was hooked from the first page and only stopped 92 pages later because it was nearly midnight and the pages blurred. Picking it up as soon as possible the next morning I finished it early that night.
I enjoyed other books by Amanda Cabot so the prospect of reading about Dr. Elizabeth Harding warmed me while I had the chill of a winter's virus on board. Dr. Harding is a strong young woman who faced many obstacles at medical school where her fellow students and professors, all men, expected her to fail. She heard repeatedly that a woman's place was in the home and the most she could hope for in a medical career was a position as midwife. Nobody would want to be treated by a lady doctor.
The year is 1887 in the Wyoming Territory and the city of Cheyenne. When Elizabeth stepped down from the train she felt this was where she was meant to be; a modern city full of possibilities. Her sister had found the perfect building for her practice, ordered all the equipment and furniture according to Elizabeth's specifications. She would simply need to hang out her sign that she was open for business.
The office next to her belonged to handsome attorney Jason Nordling. Their attraction to each other got off on the wrong foot when he pointed out that nobody would want to see a lady doctor, most of all him! The town did not welcome her as Jason predicted and she became fodder for gossip and mistrust. She found herself spending most of her time alone waiting for patients until she is contacted for monthly care for twelve women from the town's bordello.
When diphtheria threatens to take some of the townspeople, she uses her medical training and modern methods unheard of in Cheyenne to treat her patients. Dr Wortling, the town's other doctor uses patent medicines and leeches on his patients in addition to harsh lectures on the evils of Elizabeth's methods.
Jason and Elizabeth form an unlikely partnership that I hoped would turn to love. She, who would remain a doctor and he who wanted only a full time wife and mother seemed at polar opposites. Instead a friendship begins and he soon learns of her skills and knowledge as a doctor. She learns what a good attorney with integrity and loyalty.
The author reels you into the story but keeps your attention with believable characters who face issues just as valid today as in 1887. We have come far in our world with the acceptance of women as doctors who possess the gift of healing. Take a trip back to the old west and visit a time of adventure with people who forged ahead under difficult circumstances to accomplish so much for the future.