All She Left Behind (2017)



Already well-versed in the natural healing properties of herbs and oils, Jennie Pickett longs to become a doctor. But the Oregon frontier of the 1870s doesn't approve of such innovations as women attending medical school. To leave grief and guilt behind, as well as support herself and her challenging young son, Jennie cares for an elderly woman using skills she's developed on her own. When her patient dies, Jennie discovers that her heart has become entangled with the woman's widowed husband, a man many years her senior. Their unlikely romance may lead her to her ultimate goal--but the road will be winding and the way forward will not always be clear. Will Jennie find shelter in life's storms? Will she discover where healing truly lives?

Willamette Medical School

ref. Oregon Health & Science University

"The origin of formal medical education in Oregon was the establishment of the medical department of the Willamette University in 1865. After an aborted attempt at establishing the Oregon Medical College in Portland, the first real endeavor at professional medical education began on March 3, 1867 at the University in Salem with three graduates in medicine.." This was the first professional school established in the Pacific Northwest.

Highlights from Willamette University's early History

Willamette's origins date back to Methodist Missionaries and the establishment of a mission school for Indian children (1834). Jennie's husband, Josiah Lamberson Parrish would arrive as part of the "Great Reinforcement." In 1839, the trained blacksmith volunteered to join Jason Lee's mission in the Willamette Valley.Parrish and 52 others sailed on the ship Lausanne around Cape Horn in South America to the Columbia River and on to Oregon City in what has been called the Great Reinforcement of the Methodist Mission.They set sail on October 9, 1839, from New York City.

In 1844, the missionary school for Indian children was sold to the Oregon Institute and converted to a boarding school for settlers' children. In the early 1850's the school became "Wallamet University." The university catalog of 1870-71 first used the current spelling, Willamette, in the school’s name.

By 1872, the University included an elementary school, a Commercial Department open to male and female students, the Medical Department, and a Music Department that in 1872 began to grant its own degrees. Annual enrollment in the 1870s averaged 280, of which only 81 were college students.

Jennie graduated from Willamette Medical School in 1879 and practiced in both Salem and Portland.


Medical Doctor and Natural Healer

Jennie Pickett Parrish is a natural healer, but her dream to become a doctor in 1870s Oregon puts her at odds with the world around her. As she struggles to keep her dream alive, she finds that the road to fulfillment winds past love, heartache, and plenty of surprises along the way.

Lavender    Lemon     Peppermint

"Alternative doctors throughout the past two centuries have identified themselves as practitioners of "natural healing," by which they have meant they use remedies and procedures that support and stimulate the healing power of nature, the innate tendency of the body to react to illness and work to restore itself to equilibrium and wholeness" Early practioners saw their method that has "always learn the course pointed out by nature," then to provide "those things best calculated to aid her in restoring health." Very similar to this 1999 statement: "Naturopathic physicians believe that the body has considerable power to heal itself. It is the physician's role to facilitate and enhance this process with the aid of natural, nontoxic therapies." Source:

Jennie had three children, Douglas, Gracie and Josie. Josiah Parrish, father of the two girls, was 37 years older than Jennie and contributed to her interest in medicine by opening a pharmacy beneath her offices in Portland, OR.

Oregon State Prison


Until 1853, the Oregon Territory relied on local jails for the housing of prisoners. The legislature recognized the need for a new prison and authorized the construction of one in Portland. The construction of the Territorial Prison was plagued with problems and escaping prisoners. Two lots of land - on opposite sides of Front Street - were purchased. The City of Portland refused to close or reroute the street. In 1866, the Portland site was abandoned in in favor of a new prison in Salem. Unlike the old prison, which was constructed primarily of wood, the new Penitentiary was built of brick and resembled a fortress. The Oregon State Penitentiary is still located on the Salem site originally selected.

Jennie’s first husband was the assistant superintendent and her brother-in-law was the superintendent at this prison.

Praise for Jane Kirkpatrick's All She Left Behind

"Kirkpatrick (This Road We Traveled, 2016) returns with dramatic literary force in this late-nineteenth century novel based on the true story of Jennie Pickett. Jennie is a homeopathic healer in her Willamette Valley, Oregon, community, but neither herbal remedies nor love for her child offers any cures for the toxicity of her husband’s addictions, abuse, and neglect. As her desperate family situation disintegrates, Jennie sets out to chase her dream of becoming a physician. Leaving past hurts behind is easier said than done, and Jennie must chart a path through the pain that threatens any chance of future joy.
"Kirkpatrick is an unwavering pillar in historical fiction, showcasing the power of her meticulously researched and richly rendered details. Heart-wrenching and heavy with the emotional trauma and confusion of the children of addicts, this is a story of fallibility and determination, of failing but still showing up. Kirkpatrick offers an ode to the hardworking women and mothers who face head-on the pressures of family, social status, and career while fighting for their dreams."
— Kate Campos, Booklist

Romantic Times Book Reviews has selected All She Left Behind as one of their Top Picks with a 4 ½ star rating. “The storyline is rich in historical details that enhance the overall plot without overtaking it. Kirkpatrick does her research on each of her books, and it shows.”

“ Once again, Jane Kirkpatrick creates a bold and inspiring woman out of the dust of history.” Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author.





Writer's Recollections

I first heard about Jennie Lichtenthaler Pickett Parrish in 1996 when a descendant contacted me and told me that the Indian agent I’d mentioned in Love to Water My Soul was Jennie’s husband, an early missionary in Oregon. Later in life, he married young Jennie Lichtenthaler Pickett who became one of the first physicians in Oregon. It took all these years for that story to percolate to the top of my “next” list. But it did! I hope you like meeting Jennie in All She Left Behind. A natural healer, Jennie longed to become an allopathic physician, one who used not just herbs and oils but surgery and the new science of pharmaceuticals to bring healing to the ill.


Available everywhere September 5, 2017.