Elizabeth Harding is newly arrived to Cheyenne and the town’s first lady doctor. Although attracted to the handsome attorney who shares her office building, Elizabeth is solely focused on establishing her medical practice. An unfriendly welcome from some of Cheyenne’s residents reveals that the frontier town is not as forward-thinking as she’d hoped. Elizabeth will have to take unconventional measures to change people’s minds about women and medicine, if she can do so without destroying her reputation in the process.
Cabot elevates the ‘lady doctor in a frontier town who must overcome prejudice’ storyline by introducing an outbreak of diphtheria which is addressed with known medical techniques in 1887, which I found interesting. Gwen, introduced in an earlier book in the series, serves as a romantic foil for Elizabeth. The author also provides a period-accurate map of Cheyenne which helps the reader orientate themselves with the booming town. Some of Elizabeth’s methods seem far-fetched at best, but if the reader will forgive, there is much to be liked in this story about truth, justice, and establishing yourself in the world. With Autumn’s Return is a charming conclusion to Cabot’s Westward Winds series.
This review first appeared in the May 2014 issue of The Historical Novel Society. I was provided with a copy of the book for the purpose of a review.