Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman by Teresa Warfield

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman by Teresa Warfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Medicine is a man’s field. Women aren’t allowed to attend medical school. Proper Bostonian ladies marry and become dutiful wives and mothers, not doctors. Michaela Quinn has heard it all, but medicine is her lifelong passion, and a physician is what she strives to become in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman by author Teresa Warfield.

Yup. It’s a novel based on characters from one of the best historical dramas to ever grace a television screen, a superb family show from Saturday night network television in the 1990s.

Still, I didn’t step into this read expecting to relive my beloved onscreen drama through it. Television is television and books are books—very different mediums for storytelling. So I let this historical fiction novel be what it is: a historical fiction novel.

It’s the coming-of-age story of an imperfect, ambitious heroine who has much to learn and must fight numerous frustrations and rejections to walk in her purpose. The tale includes Michaela’s vital relationship with her physician father, her difficult relationship with her conventional mother, her first romantic love, and of course, her early work on the path to becoming a doctor.

Some of the medical scenes are pretty graphic, but hey. The medical field isn’t for the faint of heart.

Now, the writing style is rather trite and redundant in places, the storyline rushes at times (indeed, there are a lot of years to cover), and I’m not sure the tale really concludes so much as it just goes along and eventually stops, pretty much where the television show begins. But the novel is rich in historical background and detail, with new inventions of the time, the heated sociopolitical climate in America, the Civil War, and the shifting landscape of medicine.

In all, a worthwhile read for this fan of inspiring historical fiction.

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Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Series

 

Will TVs, Movies, Gadgets, and Gizmos Make Books Obsolete?

I suppose my short answer to the question at hand is: no. No, TVs, movies, gadgets, and gizmos will not make books obsolete.

And to explain a bit…

With the way technology is advancing and media is shifting nowadays, people have increasing options for entertainment, and plenty of folks don’t do much book reading unless they have to. Sure. Nevertheless, increasing options for entertainment isn’t a new phenomenon.

Take motion pictures and television for example. When the television was invented, people worried about what would happen to motion pictures. Why would anybody take the trouble of going out to the movies anymore when most of those people would have screens to entertain them right in the comfort of their homes?

Yet, for some odd reason, people kept on going to the movies anyway.

And now, even with the availability of YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, DVD and Blu-ray, the ability to watch movies on our TVs, tablets, and smartphones, movie theaters still have yet to become obsolete. We have more options, but those who enjoy going to movie theaters still go.

Has technology changed things? Absolutely. Filmmakers knew they’d have to raise the bar on their art because people would have the option of staying home to watch this new thing called television, if the movies coming out weren’t any good. So filmmakers did just that, raised the bar, and the “silver screen” lived on and still lives.

Yeah, most movies don’t remain only in theaters for as long a time anymore. Subsequent DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix releases follow original releases sooner. Yet, going out to the movie theater still gives people an experience they can’t get by watching a movie on their tablet or phone.

I’m of the same mind as fellow bookworms I’ve heard from who believe that people who truly love to read books are going to read books. It gives us an experience we simply don’t get from TV, movies, video games, social media, and other forms of entertainment. Besides how enjoyable they are to read, books help us to strengthen our reasoning and critical thinking skills, to keep our imaginations sharp, to become more empathetic human beings, to see and consider ideas from different angles, and to become better at expressing our own ideas through words, when we need to write or articulate.

That’s not an exhaustive list of the benefits of reading, by the way.

As entertainment options increase, though, it becomes more important for readers to deliberately stress and demonstrate the value and importance of books, especially to generations coming up behind us, in the age of all things digital. When I was growing up, my parents made sure my siblings and I had a TV and movies we could watch. They bought us toys and sporting equipment and video games. And they bought us BOOKS. They made sure we had library cards and took us to the library. They started a reading club where the whole family participated. They sat down and read in front of us, so my siblings and I saw our parents reading, not just telling us that we kids should do it (“Go read a book, kid. Get out of here.”) while the two of them vegged in front of the TV all day. 😀 Our parents constantly kept the option of reading before us, and even with all the options my sibs and I have for entertainment and learning now, we still read books.

So, fellow authors and publishers–or “book makers,” if you will: we have to be intentional about keeping our art excellent and improving our craft, as past filmmakers did in their changing times. Book lovers who know the importance of reading have to be intentional about conveying that importance to other people, knowing that there are more entertainment options available, and the options will likely increase with new technology.

Naturally, people who just aren’t into books can’t be forced into loving them. While, of course, everyone should be literate, literate folks are still entitled to whatever methods of entertainment and information consumption that suits them best. But don’t be fooled. Don’t see all the TVs and movies around and people fiddling with their digital gadgets and gizmos, be fooled into thinking it’s impossible for anyone to love or focus on books anymore, and throw up your hands and say, “Welp. I guess books are over.” I might not have discovered my love for books, especially not so early on, if somebody hadn’t deliberately stressed and maintained the awesome “option of books” to me.

And let’s not even go into all the advantages that digital gadgets and gizmos have brought about for books, or we’ll need another blog post to expound.

Books will only become obsolete if book lovers and devotees somehow let it happen. And I don’t think we’re going to do that.

 

The Canadian West Series by Janette Oke

As a longtime fan of author Janette Oke, I just felt it necessary to chronicle that I finally finished the original four novels of the Canadian West series, the story of Elizabeth and the Canadian Mountie she marries, Wynn. I was determined to finish these books before I started watching the connected television series from Hallmark, When Calls the Heart. The CW series closes out with When Hope Springs New, which I gave three stars and said in my Goodreads review:

“The way Elizabeth really comes into her own in this novel makes for a nice enough ending to the original four-book series. Yet, it doesn’t exactly seem to end so much as it just finds a place to stop, eventually. There isn’t much of a climax, and after a significant change about three quarters into the novel, I couldn’t really connect with a whole different setting and a new bunch of characters when the book was almost over, bringing a new set of problems that would have to be rushed through. An ending like this one would need more added to it, sometime, to make something more of it.”

The first four novels were published in the ’80s, and the series continued much later with Elizabeth and Wynn’s grown children in Books Five and Six. I actually read and enjoyed those two books first, when they released in 2000 and 2001.

Beyond the Gathering Storm When Tomorrow Comes

Time will tell if I’ll read the newer Return to the Canadian West books that Janette has co-authored with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan. Despite taking its name and some elements from Janette’s first CW novel, I think the television series is more heavily based on the Return to the Canadian West books from 2014-2016.

Where Courage Calls (Return to the Canadian West #1) Where Trust Lies (Return to the Canadian West, #2) Where Hope Prevails (Return to the Canadian West #3)

Still, I chose not to wait any longer before starting the show. I’m about halfway through Season One, and I’m getting quite a kick out of it so far. It’s sweet and uplifting and somewhat corny, which I expected, but it also packs a little more punch and, um, “swoon-worthiness” than I imagined it’d have. I’ve posted the trailer from the show’s premiere before, and, hey, I feel like posting it again. 🙂

 

When Calls the Heart Season 3: I Must Catch Up!

when-calls-the-heart When Comes the Spring When Breaks the Dawn When Hope Springs New

It’s no secret that I’m a big, longtime fan of author Janette Oke. After planning on it for years, I’ve finally begun reading her Canadian West series, starting with When Calls the Heart.
That is…well, I did start the series years ago, reading the last two novels that were added to the series much later.

Beyond the Gathering Storm When Tomorrow Comes

But I’ve gone back to the beginning! And ever since I heard that Hallmark was coming out with a television show, When Calls the Heart, which is based on the Return to the Canadian West novels, I’ve told myself that I will not watch the show until I’ve read all the Canadian West books. Even as a lifelong bibliophile, the cinephile in me is okay with the reality that filmmakers must make changes to a story to take it from the pages of a novel and portray it for a viewing audience. Even so, when it comes to one of my all-time favorite authors, I’d first like to know what she originally wrote at the beginning before I see any screen adaptations.

The show isn’t waiting around for me, though, so I’ve got some catching up to do in my reading. 😀 Season 3 of the television series is due to release in a collector’s edition on DVD this fall, and FishFlix.com is giving a free DVD set of the Season 1 episodes to everyone who preorders the new Season 3 collection before its release on October 11th.
They’re also holding a drawing for a $100 gift card on September 1st. Everyone who reviews Season 3 on FishFlix and sends an email to promo@fishflix.com to verify their reviewer nickname will be entered into the drawing.

Feel free to take a look at the When Calls the Heart Season 3 DVD Set.
You can also check out FishFlix for more Christian movies.

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Here’s a trailer for the premiere of the television series.