Where to begin with my feelings about this book? Let's start with the obvious; the cover is fabulously beautiful and what initially attracted me. However, once my attention was captured, the blurb sealed the deal. Lastly, I most joyously won a copy through a Goodreads giveaway and now I'm a major fan of brilliant author, Brad Watson.
Using his great-aunt as inspiration, Watson begins the story in rural Mississippi, setting the stage perfectly for the entrance of Miss Jane Chisolm, a baby girl born with genital birth defects in the early twentieth-century. The confused parents believe that the circumstances of Jane's conception, conceived late in life and during a drink and laudanum fueled night, is punishment from God. Both husband and wife believe their sins are visited upon Jane. Thankfully, the doctor that delivers Miss Jane is kind, caring, and completely interested in his tiny, new patient. Dr. Ed Thompson develops a bond with Jane that is so endearing, will last a lifetime, and is probably the one person that allows Jane to be her true self.
Miss Jane was born in 1915 and there was no possibility of surgical treatment, nor was there hope for any in the future. I don't have to remind one about a woman's role back in the early days. Women were wives and mothers. Jane would likely never be either; her purpose unclear. Jane is clearly stronger than she appears. She is full of life, questions, wonder. She learns to live with her disabilities with graceful acceptance but yearns to be loved like anyone else. Jane is a curious girl and I completely fell in love with her positive outlook on life.
I knew very little about the defects that afflicted Jane and I can only imagine the lonely, desolate feelings of those that suffer this anomaly. Watson has created a beautiful character in Jane and it was such a touching story. I loved the rural setting, the relationship between patient and Doctor. Watson has a magical way with words. When describing scenes, Watson's colorful imagination brought the story to life for me. This is a tough topic and quite heartbreaking. Watson spins it well and in a way that just feels right. Loved it!
*I won a copy of Miss Jane through a Goodreads giveaway and I sincerely thank Brad Watson and W. W. Norton & Company for a wonderful book that tells an original story. Thank you!