(Reviewed by Jeyran Main)
This book revolves around the time when a woman is not welcome to have a profession other than being a housemaid and giving birth. Men dominate and make decisions for her. If a woman decides to beat the social norm, such as Pearl, they choose to make her life unbearable, in hopes to push her into just giving up. Even women were jealous of Pearl’s success for doing something different.
Pearl is a physician in the nineteenth-century. It is at the time and age when women doctors are not taken seriously and African Americans are not treated with the same rights as others. Treating them as a patient is unacceptable and hiring them as an assistant is frowned upon and bad for business.
Pearl struggles to stand on her two feet throughout her whole story. She is very determined, kind hearted and a knowledgeable doctor who does not care about what other people think. She hires a young black girl as her assistant and ignores all warnings and consequences for her decision. Pearl treats all patients the same and no matter how abusive they are, she still assists in curing them. A small mistake with one of her patients creates self-doubt and serious problems in her mind and subsequently, in her life. This mistake may have been the cause of an uncomfortable event which inevitably catches up with her. This causes her to move and forces a new chapter in her life.
This is a beautifully written story by Marie Bartlett. I absolutely loved every page. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading Jane Austen’s books as it had a similar class to it. The style of writing is very precise and well thought out. The author managed to express the feelings of a woman in a real sense and with honesty. I loved how Pearl always focuses on her profession before her personal life. Her decision-making is based on facts rather than emotions, and when love comes knocking her door, she does not fall into it like a baby kitten. I was very drawn to her character, and her engagements just made me fall more and more in love with her.
It was amusing to read about her reactions when men would talk about her and make decisions while she was standing among them. Her love interest supported and respected every wish she had and consequently, took his time in allowing Pearl to accept him rather than force the whole situation. This was fun and proved that not all men were the same at the time and some did believe that a woman had every right as a man did. Pearl’s past does come into play with the decision she has to make at the end of this tale, which is unfortunate.
There is a second book after this one, and the story continues with Pearl’s journey. The end of this book does not determine what is to happen with her situation of life and her love interest. Everything is set for its own interpretation however; the anticipation is a welcomed one.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. The story is a model for young women and signifies courage, determination and the ability to trust in the feelings that instigate doing what’s right. I will most likely read this book many more times over, simply because of how good it simply is.