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Amber's Thoughts

Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series



Love, War and Medicine

The Doctor's Daughter: The Choice - Belle Blackburn

Finally—the sequel! And it’s even better than the first book in the series. The dialogue flows more naturally, the characters are intriguing, and the historical research is once again solid in every detail, including the important aspects of the two types of medicine practiced in the nineteenth century—traditional herbal folk doctoring and academic medicine (which was in its infancy). The narrator, Kate, is as lively and passionate as ever, with an earthy sense of humor that enlivens this tale of difficult times. She matures through the challenges she faces in this next stage of her story, and her sister-law Carolina does as well. The Civil War forces Kate and her wealthy in-laws and their slaves to take refuge from Nashville at her mother’s simple rural home. Kate’s medical doctor husband and her folk doctor or “yarb doctor” mother have to live together—and that’s not the only conflict. Imagine having your entire family with their varying views on politics, their personalities and their habits, sharing one small house.


The complexity of the war, with good and bad soldiers and supporters on both sides, is portrayed in living depth. The effects of the war on various social classes are also shown vividly, from poor farmer to slave to wealthy lawyer. This series would make an amazing TV miniseries. I’d love to see it dramatized.


So much happens in this story, in a true-to-life blend of tragedy, comedy and romance, the pace is riveting. At times it seems that too much happens, but it’s war time—and everyone is together. It's not only the conflicting views of the war and slavery that share a small space, but all the events in the lives of one family and their close neighbors also are compressed into a kind of intimacy where sometimes the only privacy is in the outhouse.


The theme of choice goes far beyond Kate’s personal life. I was particular moved by choices the slave George had to make. I recommend reading the first book before this one, to get to know Kate and her mother. The second book could stand alone, but the evolution of the relationships and the changes characters undergo through extraordinary trials will mean more if you meet them in The Doctor’s Daughter: Journey to Justice first.


Note: I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.