Monday, March 18, 2013

Blogging as I read

Belle Blackburn is one sweet soul. She is also a swell scribe.

I wrote about Belle and her book "The Doctor's Daughter: Journey to Justice" in my newspaper column two weeks ago. It can be found here by scrolling to page A-3.

And, as you will read, I had intended to post my full review of her book on this blog one week ago. I am recovering from surgery more slowly than expected. Temporary fallout: I can only read for short stretches.

So, I thought I'd try something. As my way of making it up to Belle for missing a deadline, I am going to blog as I read, updates, here and there, as I can. I owe it to her. It's worth it. It will be fun.

As I said in the column, Belle grabs you from the beginning with a perfect prologue: a (fictionalized) snippet of a newspaper story from what was then called The Nashville Republican Banner. "Suicide on Summer Street" is the headline. May 16, 1860.

Seems the main character's father commits suicide in front of two witnesses, a business partner and his wife, before dying in his daughter's arms. Or did he?

Kate Seaver thinks otherwise. She's seeking the truth.

And I have been thinking this through, eager to learn more. Move it, migraine, so I can get to it! Did Brian Seaver commit suicide? Was he murdered? Is he even dead?

Kate's mother is a doctor of a sort, practitioner of the old ways, mountain medicine, you might say. An early chapter features a hilarious scene at a quilting bee in which the women get the men to tell the "true" way to be rid of a wart. You will see more of this -- medicine of the period (a central topic/theme) and humor -- later.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention here: one character wakes up at, yes, his own wake.

Another scene involves a character who could be found in "real life" today. Goad is her name, holier-than-thou, certain she's sitting at the left hand of the Lord. Perfect name, too, 'cause people like to goad her.

Kate's mother suggests a colic cure. Follow your own beliefs, she says, but try a toddy.

Goad growls:

"You'll burn in hell for that."

Discussion follows. God gave us the ingredients. Nowhere in The Bible does it say "Thou shalt not drink alcohol."

"Jesus drank wine. The Bible says so."

Goad: "That was just grape juice..."

"All I am doing is telling you what it says in the scriptures. You better quit using God in all your arguments or you will ruin His reputation."

Funny. Food for thought.

The review will continue...

"The Doctor's Daughter: Journey to Justice" by Belle Blackburn is available for download ($2.99) or paperback ($19.99) at As of today, it has a five-star average review. 

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