Friday, October 11, 2013

One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix By Jane Kirkpatrick

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Book program for no charge in exchange for my honest opinion of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Book Description:

One dedicated voice to the suffering of many

Born to an unavailable mother and an abusive father, Dorothea Dix longs simply to protect and care for her younger brothers, Charles and Joseph. But at just fourteen, she is separated from them and sent to live with relatives to be raised properly. Lonely and uncertain, Dorothea discovers that she does not possess the ability to accept the social expectations imposed on her gender and she desires to accomplish something more than finding a suitable mate.

Yearning to fulfill her God-given purpose, Dorothea finds she has a gift for teaching and writing. Her pupils become a kind of family, hearts to nurture, but long bouts of illness end her teaching and Dorothea is adrift again. It’s an unexpected visit to a prison housing the mentally ill that ignites an unending fire in Dorothea’s heart—and sets her on a journey that will take her across the nation, into the halls of the Capitol, befriending presidents and lawmakers, always fighting to relieve the suffering of what Scripture deems, the least of these.

In bringing nineteenth-century, historical reformer Dorothea Dix to life, author Jane Kirkpatrick combines historical accuracy with the gripping narrative of a woman who recognized suffering when others turned away, and the call she heeded to change the world.

My Thoughts:

     One Glorious Ambition is the second book by Jane Kirkpatrick I have had the pleasure of reading through Blogging for Books and it did not disappoint.  This book is based on real life Dorothea Dix, a teacher who founded a school and who worked to change conditions and treatments for mentally ill patients and prisoners. Dorothea Dix defied the social expectations imposed on women of that time, including marriage.  Dorothea loved to teach and write but could not continue because of different illnesses.  This opened up the door for her to find her passion to fight for reform for the mentally ill. 

     I really enjoyed this book.  I personally had little to no knowledge of Dorothea Dix but after reading this book I feel like I have learned a lot from Jane Kirkpatrick's expertise on this incredible woman.  Jane Kirkpatrick writes with authority on Dorothea Dix, the time period, mental illness, the prison system, and health care of the period.  This book really grabs the reader, I could not put it down once I started it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction. You will NOT be disappointed. I look forward to reading more from Jane Kirkpatrick. 

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