Andy McBride meets Louisa Martin in medical school and is instantly smitten. However, Andy is a Mormon and Louisa comes from a polygamist lifestyle. After medical school, they go their separate ways, when it seems that neither can live the other's way of life.
Andy ends up practicing as a country doctor in rural Kentucky and Louisa goes back to her hometown to practice among her people. After she does this, she begins to learn that life among the polygamists is not all roses and sunshine. As she treats the women of the community, she learns of abuse and disabilities due to intermarrying. Ultimately she must decide if she can keep quiet and be obedient to the brethren or will she do what she can to help those she has promised to help even if it means rejecting the life she has always known.
Through their experiences, Andy and Louisa find each other again. After a difficult experience with their children, differences are resolved with their respective parents, all of whom had reservations about the marriage.
The book is well-written and the polygamy aspect is thoroughly researched. It echoes much of what we have seen in the media this year. The characters are brought to life with depth and insight. I appreciated that Janet portrayed Louisa's family as normal people. They loved and lost and believed in their faith, but had questions at times just like the rest of us. They weren't just blindly following some lunatic. They honestly believe that what they are practicing is true and right.
I found the part in Finland a bit disconcerting. It was as if it was just thrown in. Yes, he served his mission there, but I found the "coincidence" that they both ended up on the same exchange program a little too convenient.
At times this book was laugh-out-loud funny. I thoroughly enjoyed the Kentucky characters and the people Andy comes to love. Miss Carolina is awesome, and I loved the fact that natural healing and homeopathy were presented as normal and able to work alongside western medicine. The bit at the end with the FBI agents wearing their missionary name tags was hysterical.
A charming, yet captivating book. A delightful, easy read.