The following review was written by Bobbi King:
The Quack’s Daughter
by Greta Nettleton
Published by the author at www.gretanettleton.com. 2012. 328 pages.
Nonfiction is the homely kid sister to fiction’s senior prom queen. Regarded as intelligent but dreary, nonfiction books have had an uphill road to notice and acclaim over the more audacious and best selling fictional genres.
And then there’s self-publishing. Vanity books, as they were called in the old days, were ordered in quantity by the author, at great expense, the books hopefully sold at the family reunion, and finally may have ended up being stored in the garage.
That was then, this is now.
Greta Nettleton has self-published a nonfiction novel that puts the stereotypes to rest. Her book will win you over for its excellence of writing, adherence to the facts while spinning a charming story, and passing us back in time where we all occasionally like to be. And this book will not end up in the garage.
Ms. Nettleton wrote a spirited, flowing account of her great-grandmother, Cora Keck. “Cora Keck was the daughter of Mrs. Dr. Rebecca J. Keck, the self-described Greatest Lady Physician of the West and proprietress of Mrs. Dr. Keck’s Palatial Infirmary for All Chronic Diseases (Established Permanently since 1865) at the corner of Sixth and Brady streets in Davenport, Iowa, and she was eloping with a man she had decided was the love of her life. This headstrong young adventurer was my great-grandmother, and the 63-year-old co-conspirator for whom she was waiting, John Cook, would eventually become my great-grandfather. The driving motive for the adventure was that Cora’s mother was against the match. Cora’s mother called all the shots for the Keck family. In her opinion, although rich and socially prominent, the man was just too old.”
I loved reading this family saga. It’s equal parts Mrs. Dr. Rebecca’s story and her daughter Cora’s story. Set in “the wickedest city in America,” Davenport, Iowa (Iowa? wicked?) Mrs. Dr. Rebecca Keck was a fearless purveyor of patent medicine. She was spurned and mocked by the local medical practitioners, but ordinary citizens flocked to her dispensary, housed in the basement of her mansion at 611 Brady Street, eventually making her a wealthy woman. In grand and flaunting style, Mrs. Dr. Rebecca enrolled her daughter Cora into prestigious Vassar, the first Ivy League women’s college, far east of Iowa in distance and culture, in Poughkeepsie, New York.
The heart of the book is about Cora’s years at Vassar. We read her journals, her letters, her thoughts, her observations, and her opinions. She’s rambunctiously independent, and she's having a great time. And I had a great time reading about her.
Summer vacation is just around the corner. Treat yourself to this great book, and you'll be in such a good mood at the airport, you'll hug the TSA guy.
The Quack’s Daughter is available directly from the author at http://www.gretanettleton.com as well as from RootsBooks.com and from Amazon. It is also available as a Kindle ebook.