KINCAID by Henry Denker


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Crusader Nurse plays Lady Bountiful to the Appalachian poor in this latest Day-Glo medical minimus by book-a-year-man Denker. Kate Kincaid, newly burned by a battle to unseat a malpracticing doctor, leaves a Midwestern university hospital and travels to West Virginia. There she'll study and train for one year at Appalachian Mountain Hospital under the iron rule of heart-of-gold director Abbott, qualifying as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Midwife. Together with two peers, one a nun, Kate does her boot training, studying, and clinic working with the help of resident doc Ray Boyd--who just might, one thinks at this point, elbow out Kate's everloving lawyer-lover Howard Brewster. Meanwhile, Kate also learns how to handle the natives, a poor but proud lot, and "talk folks." Among the hill people: landlady Aunt Elvira Russell, a former nurse; an ancient, tobacco-chewing diabetic who ain't allowing she knows where her sugar's coming from; a rattlesnake-twirling preacher who gets bit; an elderly retired professor of regional anthropology; and child Eloise, only bright chick of a decent, hard-scrabble couple, who writes poetry. (Kate wins her battle to have Eloise educated at IQ level.) Then, after a stretch on the lonesome-trail-and-cabin route, Kate studies midwifery under Dr. Boyd: "for the next six months, you'll be concerned with only one thing. Life!" Predictably there are a number of birthings--one a cabin delivery of extreme difficulty. But Kate will next volunteer to take over an outpost clinic--where bits of diagnosing, jollying, treating, and virtuouso sleuthing ensue. (One man's infertility problem is caused by too-snug jockey shorts.) And finally there's a huge flood from a strip-mining mud slide. . . and guess who comes through as heroine to the whir of TV cameras? With pseudo-Foxfire natives and case after hurting, heaving case: Super Nurse wins all hearts--in a pop formula old as them that hills.
Pub Date: May 1st, 1984
ISBN: 0688023657
Page count: 322pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1984


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