Courting the Doctor’s Daughter


dr-daughterI’m delighted to be back as a guest at Petticoat and Pistols. I feel right at home with authors and readers who love history as much as I do. cover-adelaide


My visit coincides with the imminent release of my second book Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical on May 12. J The new book continues the stories of children who rode the orphan train into Noblesville, Indiana and turned lives upside down, as children are apt to do. My debut novel Courting Miss Adelaide introduced the heroine of the sequel, Mary Graves, the town doctor’s daughter, a widow with three sons—two from her marriage and one from the orphan train. A handsome stranger blows into town peddling his “elixir of health.” Mary is outraged by the claim’s Luke makes for his phony medicine. Or so she sees his tonic. Worse, she soon suspects Luke has an interest in her foster son, Ben. Then the real trouble begins. J


To write Courting Miss Adelaide, the first book set in Noblesville in 1897, I researched the town and the “orphan train.” I talked about this phenomenon in my September 2008 post at

To learn more about sending orphans from New York City to homes in the Midwest and beyond visit   


With Courting the Doctor’s Daughter I needed to research herbal remedies, looking for an ingredient with medicinal properties that fit the isears-cataloguemage I had of Luke’s medicine. In Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, I found what I sought—catnip. J Not only cats appreciate this herb. Uses for humans include: digestion and sleeping aids that also eases colds, colic, nervous headaches and fevers. Catnip was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1842-1882. In more recent times, Varro Tyler, Ph.D., author of The Honest Herbal found a bit of evidence that catnip may be a sedative. The Health Food Shoppe, a health food store near me carries catnip in capsule form. The manager said it’s used to calm fussy infants.


Has anyone used catnip for medicinal purposes? Or do you have an herbal home remedy you’ve found to be effective?


To write historical fiction, I keep several books close at hand. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary dates words and The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms dates phrases. The pitchfork-smTimetables of American History, Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s and American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs are invaluable.


One of my favorite research books is a replica of an 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalogue called Consumers Guide. The Chicago based company sent their catalogue postage free to millions of Americans. In this 770 page catalogue a variety of merchandise is interspersed with sales appeals, testimonials and illustrations of goods that I find fascinating. I can imagine the excitement these catalogues created when they arrived in homes. The replica catalogue was published in 1976 by Chelsea House Publishers and is a wealth of information for historical writers. I’ve used it to research cook stoves, clothing, hats, tools, watches, books, groceries, furniture, guns and farm, harness and saddles and kitchen equipment.


I’ve found a few of the family pieces we own that I treasure as well as some I’ve collected over the years. I say I treasure because my husband could care less. But we have an old fold-up fan, wooden pitchfork and a picture of my husband’s ancestor Daniel W. Squire wearing his Union Civil War uniform. We also have two of the letters he wrote while he was away. This line from his letter intrigues me: “We are within 32 miles of Rebel troops and know one cartridge in the camp and likely to bee marched into the brigade in this fix.” Though I can only assume Daniel fought in that war, he made it home unscathed, only to die from the effects of dysentery. soldier-picture


Do any of you own an antique you’d like to share with us today?


fanThe Drug Department of the Sears and Roebuck Catalogue lists a vast array of homeopathic medicines, remedies, bitters and tonics that include laudanum, paregoric and turpentine. Cures for worms, obesity, asthma, nerves, rheumatism are only a few of the medicines available through the mail in 1897.


A couple of my favorite cures in the Drug Department include:


Arsenic Complexion Wafers


“These wafers can be taken without any fear of harm resulting from their use. They are excellent medicine for giving to the complexion a clearness and brilliancy not obtainable by external applications, at the same time they improve the general health, causing the figure to grow plump and round.” letter


Undoubtedly a little arsenic is good for us. Anyone need additional help to grow plump and round? Price: $.40


The Princess Bust Developer and Bust Cream or Food


“If nature has not favored you, with that greatest charm, bosom, full and perfect, send for the Princess Bust Developer…”


janets_picture1The bust developer resembles a toilet plunger, only it’s made of nickel and aluminum and came in two sizes—four and five inches in diameter. It isn’t mailable on account of the weight. So perhaps lifting this object of torture added to those curves.


“The bust cream is a delightful cream preparation…and forms just the right food required for the starved skin and wasted tissues.” 


I keep picturing some farm wife saving her egg money to buy this combo for the price: $1.46.


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For a chance to win a copy of Courting the Doctor’s Daughter leave a comment. In fact, if you missed the chance to read my debut, I’ll give away a copy of Courting Miss Adelaide too. Just specify which book you’d like to win.

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78 thoughts on “Courting the Doctor’s Daughter”

  1. Hi,

    We have an aloe plant and put that on sunburn.

    My husband eats garlic if he feels like he’s getting sick.

    My MIL drinks chamomile tea for an upset tummy.

  2. Hi Janet, Welcome back to Petticoats & Pistols! I loved Courting Miss Adelaide and am looking forward to the sequel.

    I have two old items, maybe antiques, that I treasure. The first is a set of blue glass chickens. They belonged to my grandmother and I’m sure there’s a story behind them, though I don’t know what it is. One of these days I’ll google “blue glass chickens” and see what comes up.

    The second treasure is a spindly black desk owned by my other grandmother. It’s got a lot of dings in the finish, but I still love it.

  3. Good morning, Janet, and welcome back.

    I have a lot of family treasures in my home, most of which have more sentimental than monetary value. I have a set of carved bone herons that my mom didn’t have a place fore, and I just moved in my great-grandmother’s small writing desk. It was a handmade wedding gift from a relative in 1905.

    Great post!

  4. Good morning Vickie. Thanks for the welcome! I hope you enjoy Courting the Doctor’s Daughter as much as you did my debut.

    Though I don’t know much about them, I’ve seen blue chickens in antique shops. They’re more valuble than the milk glass chickens I have. I believe mustard came in these.

    The desk sounds great. If only you could share pictures of your keepsakes.


  5. You have wonderful resources which open the window to the lives of folks in the 19th century. My parents, and grandparents had a wealth of items that lay untreasured in attics for years.

    At that time in my young life I had no interest in those things and such. Now I wish I had the smarts back then to claim those items of pictures, editions of Wallace’s Farmer, catalogs, and personal memorabilia.

    Thank you.


  6. Hi Tracy. Thanks for the welcome! I love herons in life and in art. Your collection of carved bone sounds delightful. Making a desk for a wedding present is a gift of love. What a treasure you have!


  7. Hi Mike. Good to see you! If only we had the foresight to know what we’d treasure when we’re older. I’m sentimental but I remind myself our children may not feel the same.


  8. Oh I have to start in the beginning. If I win I’d like Courting Miss Adelaide. Then I’ll go get the other one.

  9. I have a set of antique end tables that have an inlaid floral design and decorated wood that belonged to my grandparents. They’re very pretty–or at least one is. My oldest son took a permanent marker to the other one when he was three. Not good.

    I have Courting Miss Adelaide, and would love to win Courting the Doctor’s Daughter. I love reading those inspirational historicals.

  10. Hi Janet,
    We are actually growing catnip for our cats but I had not idea that it did anything for people. We found that teatree oil actually works on athlete’s foot. I would love to win Courting Miss Adelaide.

  11. Hello Janet,

    What an entertaining post. Loved the arsenic pills. The only home remedies that come to mind are the aloe for sunburn, and my grandmother would drink what she called a hot tottie if she was sick. The only antique I have is a vase. Thanks for all the information. Have a great day.

  12. Hi Vickie. Ouch! Seeing that damaged end table’s got to hurt, but at least you’re using them.
    Thanks for reading Courting Miss Adelaide!


  13. Hi Roberta. Glad you enjoyed the post! I could spend hours perusing that catalogue. I’m fascinated but also appalled at how difficult it was for women to care for a home and family back then.


  14. Hi, Janet! What a great post! I enjoyed reading it. Especially the Princess Bust Developer — LOL! I loved Courting Miss Adelaide and I’m looking forward to the sequel, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter.

  15. Hi Janet. When I was a child here in Appalachia, the women in my family went out hunting for catnip and brewed it into tea. They gave it to babies who were chronically fussy, but I always wanted some, too, when they made it. I can still remember what catnip tea tastes like. It wasn’t bad at all.

  16. Hi Janet…

    Have been following these offers all around town 🙂 hoping for a chance to win “Courting Miss Adelaide”–and enjoyed the post about home-remedies. Scary to think we used some of them when I was a child –and they worked!
    My mother didn’t have the benefit of the bust developer,:) and since they purchased bras later than their teen years, they bound them in the interim. Blessings, Pat I.

  17. Hi Janet,

    Great post, I think I would have enjoyed your research on the home remedies. Your book sounds like a great read. The only home remedies I can think of right now is honey and wiskey for a caugh or rock candy and wiskey for a caugh. Also cat-nip tea for a baby with the collic. I really enjoyed your post.

  18. What a great post Janet. I enjoyed reading it. I knew about using catnip for cats, but didn’t know humans could use it too. I learned some new stuff today. “Courting the Doctor’s Daughter” and “Courting Miss Adelaide” both sound like really good books. I will have to get “Courting Miss Adelaide” since I haven’t read it yet.

  19. Hi Margie, I loved the bust developer too. Figured it would’ve been a taboo subject so women probably had to hide it under the bed. 🙂

    Thanks for your kind words about Courting Miss Adelaide! Hope you enjoy Courting the Doctor’s Daughter.


  20. Devon, I’m so tickled that you actually tasted catnip and enjoyed it! I didn’t realize catnip grew wild. Guess all herbs do. Thanks for the info.


  21. Hi Pat, thanks for following me around on the Internet. Hang in. I’m sure at some point you’ll come up a winner.

    I had no idea teenage girls were bound. Interesting.


  22. Great post! Always love to read your interviews! Please put me in the drawing for a copy of Courting the Doctor’s Daughter! Loved Miss Adelaide can’t wait to read the newest!

  23. Hi Quilt lady, I love quilts. Are you a quilter?

    Honey is great for a cough. My grandfather was not a drinker but he always kept whiskey on hands for illness.


  24. Janet — Oops, posted this to the wrong post. Trying again. I love hearing about your research and family “artifacts.” I LOVED “Courting Miss Adelaide” and can hardly wait to start “Courting the Doctor’s Daughter.” One of my great-greats was what was known as an “eclectic physican” in the 1800’s. Actually went to a “college” of some variety — so I’m hoping he was more than a “snake oil salesman.”

  25. Great post, Janet. I have a rough hewn little desk that my grandmother (yes, grandmother) made. When she got bored, she moved the walls in her house. No kidding. I have her spindle sewing machine, and my grandfather’s 22 bolt action rifle. We have my husband’s great-aunt’s trunk that has a late 1800’s hymnal, and a homemade bonnet that we think belonged to her mother-in-law. Lots of other items, but those are off the top of my head.

    Don’t put me in the drawing. I already have Courting Miss Adelaide, and Courting the Doctor’s Daughter.

    Loving the book, Janet!

  26. Hi Janet

    Living in Indian Territory, I’ve encountered a number of herbal remedies, but the most intriguing is a supersition from my Indian friends. There are certain people of Native American persuasion who can make your warts go away. Yep. If you had a wart, you could go see Johnny Lee, give him a penny, and your wart would disappear. My dad and cousin promise it works, though I’ve never tried it myself. However, another remedy that I have tried is putting a sliced onion or potato on a wasp sting to draw the poison.

    LOVE the photo of your husband’s civil war relative. My great-grandfather Lorenzo Porter fought in the war, too, but would have been across the battle lines on the Confederate side.

  27. Hi Janet, I never read any of your books and I will get this one it sounds great, Thanks for being here today

  28. Hi Janet, what a fantastic blog! Thank you. I can’t wait to read your books. I am more and more interested in inspirationals.

    I love lavender, grow it, and use the scent to relax me. I am a high-stress person.

    I have a few treasures. My Ingraham mantle clock was a wedding gift to my grandparents in 1917.

    My great-great grandfather marched with general Sherman. Fortunately he didn’t burn Atlanta as he was discharged with dysentery just before. I found his papers recently.

    Thanks for blogging with us at Wildflower Junction today.

  29. Congrats on the release of your second book! 😀
    Antiques… my mother has a few,… they will eventually be passed down to me.
    Arsenic Complexion Wafers they actually sold stuff like that… WOW!
    I would love a chance to win Courting the Doctor’s Daughter. 😀

  30. Glynna, I find the term “eclectic” physician interesting. Do you have a definition of what it meant? If he went to college, I’m sure your great-great knew the latest techniques and treatments, though depending on when he practiced, he could’ve been bleeding patients.


  31. Pam, you’ve got enough antiques to open a shop.:-)Your grandmother deserves a book. Seriously.

    So glad you’re loving Courting the Doctor’s Daughter!


  32. Good afternoon, Linda! I’ll have to remember the potato slice for easing a wasp sting. The wart remedy is a great value. What can you get done for a penny these days? 🙂

    Do you have a picture of your great-grandfather in his uniform?


  33. Tanya, I’ve heard putting dried lavender under our pillow will help us relax, but I’ve gotten sensitive to scents. Which is really a bummer.

    How cool that you have your grandparent’s mantle clock.

    Did your great-great-grandfather die from dysentery? So many soldiers did.



  34. I would love to win a copy of Courting Miss Adelaide, As I told you the other day on your blog I really enjoyed Courting the Doctors Daughter. I am just sorry I missed the first one. This blog was great though.

  35. I’m a little broken out, think I’ll drink some arsenic!

    And the plunger…hmmm…


    Great post, Janet! Very interesting.

  36. What an informative post, Janet. I’m drooling over the Sears catalog. Will have to see about getting one for my research.

    I loved Courting Miss Adelaide and am looking forward to reading Courting the Doctor’s Daughter.

    (Please don’t enter me in the contest, since I have your first book and the second is due to arrive any day from eHarlequin.)

  37. Hi Janet – What interesing remedies!! Other than using aloe for burns the only other home remedy I can think of right now is using meat tenderizer for bee stings. We do not have many special antiques although I do have a beautiful music cabinet that was my greatgrandmothers. Your books sounds great — I really like stories from the orphan trains!

  38. LOL Missy! That’s a hoot. Not sure we could get the arsonic wafers these days, but where there’s a will there’s a way. 😉


  39. Thanks Keli! I’m not sure if you can still get a replica of the catalogue. You might call the publisher if you’re interested.


  40. Hi Martha, is a music cabinet a place to store sheet music? Sounds lovely. I tossed an old can of meat tenderizer not long ago. Who knew I could’ve put it in the medicine cabinet.


  41. Oh Janet, what a hoot!! I’d like to place an order for the obesity pill — which hopefully has the opposite effect on the figure as arsenic apparently had, LOL!!

    I love the amount of research you incorporate in your books. You can tell, too. The setting and references in both books are flawless.

    Hmmm, could be prior lifetime thing…???

    Here’s to you, Janet, and writing books for a long, long time : )


  42. Enjoyed reading the comments.
    I have a lot of antiques from my grandparents and great-grandfather, such as a 1902 Floral calendar, a clock from the railroad station in the small town I came from in Colorado, and a lot of Indian arrowheads and baskets that my great-grandfather got from the Indians that used to hang around the Old Bent’s Fort.
    The books sound good and I am always looking for different authors to read.

  43. Audra, What a lovely thing to say about the research in my books. Thanks! As to writing books for a long, long time–from your lips to God’s ear.


  44. Hi Joye, Your heirlooms are very special. I love Native American baskets, but can’t imagine using arrowheads to hunt with. I have what looks like the bowl of a pipe in the shape of a human face. It was dug up on a farm.

    Thanks for your interest in my books!


  45. Hi, Janet. Sorry to be such a slacker about checking in today. I’m just home from a day full of activities.
    Looks like you’ve been having plenty of fun here without me.

    I just finished Courting the Doctor’s Daughter and I loved it.
    the catnip was inspired. I loved the medical info in the book.

  46. Hi, Janet!

    How interesting! It seems that you learn a ton from the research you do for your books–I love when authors weave that knowledge right in, and I can enjoy soaking it in with the story. (I was never terribly good about learning history in school, but it’s so much more fun to enjoy it as part of someone’s life story rather than as facts in a textbook.) We don’t have any antiques of our own, but my husband’s parents still have a hand-stitched pair of tiny shoes that belonged to his great grandmother, who actually had bound feet. And sign me up for the bust aids–hee!

  47. We have a house full of antiques. Before we got married, we started buying furniture at auctions. It was the cheapest way to get really nice things. For $85 we got an carved oak bed and matching dresser with mirror. My husband’s mom had gotten a round oak table for $5 years earlier. We have many nice pieces from her. My most special piece is a cradle from my fraternal grandparents. My grandson is the 6th generation to use it. On our first move in the military our stuff had been crated and put into storage. When they unpacked the first crate, a piece of the cradles base was in it. The truck had hit an overpass and our things had been damaged. Of course the rest of the cradle was in the last crate. Luckily the damage wasn’t too bad and my husband was able to repair it. I collect old books (new books too) and they are wonderful. My first one was an 1860″s book on how to be a housewife and mother (my how times have changed!). I have one written in England about 1911 for those people heading to India to work with the trading companies. Some day I’ll actually have time to sit down and read more of them.
    Hope everyone has a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  48. I’m not much for antiques. I love them but it’s just not the way I roll…y’know?

    But I do have a doll that my grandmother gave me that was given to HER as a birthday gift in 1911. It’s called a Mary Alice Doll and that’s my name, Mary Alice.

    I’ve hunted around some for it but can find no evidence of what it’s worth or even that it ever existed. oops…ghost doll.

    It’s little, about six inches tall. China head, arms and legs, knitted outfit–like a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit, and in it’s original box. So very precious.

  49. Hi Mary, Glad you’ve had a fun day! We had a garage sale but closed at noon. Not many customers. The big day was yesterday. Celebrated Mother’s Day with our kids and grandkids this afternoon and evening.


  50. Hi Fedora, I love history but I’m not much on memorizing dates–a big part of high school History class.

    I wonder how many dissatisfied customers returned the bust developers. 🙂


  51. Hi Patricia,

    The nice thing about antiques is they’re actually made of wood. Not particle board or plastic. Owning them is recycling at its best.

    I love thinking about all those little babies sleeping in your family cradle. We have a child’s chair that’s held five generations of our little one’s behinds. 🙂

    Your books will be fun reading. If you ever find time.


  52. I love the colors on both books and the cover art is excellent.
    I’d love to win Courting Miss Adelaide.

  53. Mary, Your doll seems to be dressed as a boy. So Mary Alice must be the brand name, not the doll’s name. Still, I have to ask–were you named after your grandmother’s doll?


  54. This book sounds so interesting. I always find that the topic of herbal medicine and old time elixer’s very interesting. I loved the first book and can’t wait to get my hand on the sequel. Please enter me to win Courting the Doctor’s Daughter.


  55. Hi RobinL, Thanks! I love the covers too. Courting Miss Adelaide’s cover was created by the publisher’s Art Department. Courting the Doctor’s Daughter was created by James Griffin, an artist. Both were done digitally. But years ago, James painted covers. I’ll be at “Running with Quills” Monday with James talking about how covers are created. If you’re interested, stop by for a chance to win a copy of Courting the Doctor’s Daughter.


  56. No, but she gave it to me because that was my name.

    I was named Alice after a very sweet elderly great-aunt Alice Roth and after I was born and they told Aunt Alice they’d named me Mary Alice Smith (my maiden name), she said, “My name is Mary Alice Smith Roth but I’ve always gone by Alice.” (And of course she’d been married for decades, though we knew her maiden name.)

    No one realized that. So I was reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeealy named after her.

  57. Hi Janet, I know I am late but I wanted to answer your question. Yes I do make quilts. My sister and I went shopping Friday for the fabric to make my best friends daughter a quilt for her wedding. I would love to win either of your books because they sound fabulous!

  58. My mom always put garlic oil in my ear fo earaches. Worked wonders. I’ve read Courting Miss Adelaide and highly recommend it!

  59. I’m impressed, Quilt Lady. What a lovely wedding gift and heirloom you’re making! I tried quilting a pillow top once and bled on the fabric. Do you quilt by hand? Piece by hand? My mother made over 20 quilts. She called one of them a bride’s quilt–all white and in one piece with a quilted design.


  60. Hi Ley, did your mom press the garlic cloves to get the oil? I might try that. Garlic has great healing properties.

    Thanks for recommending Courting Miss Adelaide. I feel very blessed that the book is a Best First Book finalist in three contests.


  61. Hi Janet, I am not much on the hand work, hate it. I piece by machine and my sister has a quilting machine set up in her house that we do the quilting on. She quilts for people. I have quilted by hand, a baby quilt or two. I just don’t like quilting on my hands. Machines are so much faster in our modern world today. I think the machine quilting last longer and holds up better in the laundry. I have two quilts I use on my bed and have used them for several years now!

  62. The great thing about machine quilting is you don’t bleed on the fabric. 🙂 At least I hope not. Up until your post, I didn’t realize quilting machines could be bought for personal use. That’s such a time saver and practical too.


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