Verdict: COURAGE IN A WHITE COAT is a lengthy and meticulously-told biographical novel about a missionary family who place their faith solidly in God and what they believe he wishes them to do, no matter the hardships they subsequently endure.
COURAGE IN A WHITE COAT is a vivid telling of a young missionary doctor’s travails–from her comfortable Colorado home to small villages in India, where she treated the sick and dying–to a prison camp in the Philippines that was occupied by the Japanese during World War II.
Dr. Joy Kinney Chambers, her husband Fred, and their two children, Carol Joy and Robert, are the central characters in a biographical novel carefully reported by Mary Schwaner, who has written novels of historical suspense, with Dr. Bobbie Chambers Hawk, Dr. Chambers’s grand-daughter. Schwaner and Hawk rely heavily on memos and letters Dr. Chambers wrote to family members during her years in India and the Philippines. And they serve the purpose.
At the outset, she is Dr. Kinney, a young missionary whose father was a Baptist minister in the Western United States. Much later, working under stressful conditions in rural Assam, India, she meets Dr. Fred Chambers, a theologian, and they marry in 1936.
This is a book based on absolute belief in God’s word and his mission. Dr. Chambers is a medical professional, but her faith guides her through a difficult time trying to heal desperately ill patients at a poorly-equipped hospital. Despite the often arduous living and working conditions, life is pleasant for the Chambers family in India. They were later posted to the Philippines, and when war broke out, were held in an internment camp in Manila. Toward the end of the war, they–along with hundreds of others at the camp–were scheduled to be executed by the Japanese. But in early 1945, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Flying Column broke through the Japanese lines and they were rescued.
COURAGE IN A WHITE COAT holds the reader’s attention, but the book at times becomes mired in unnecessary details, such as family chit-chat between Dr. Chambers and her relatives back home. The authors also take too much license with what Dr. Chambers may or may not have thought from time to time. Their work is better when they stick to what she did or did not do. But COURAGE IN A WHITE COAT is ultimately well-worth the effort it sometimes takes to read into the heart of a very brave woman and her family, who endured much pain and suffering to fulfill what they saw as their mission in life.
COURAGE IN A WHITE COAT is a lengthy and meticulously-told biographical novel about a missionary family who place their faith solidly in God and what they believe he wishes them to do, no matter the hardships they subsequently endure.
~James Bernstein for IndieReader