The Courtship of Two Doctors

Latest ★★★★★ Review

A wonderful life story

Martha has written a wonderful life story, a match made in heaven. … I will never forget the beautiful smile her mother had all the time.They were so precious together, and inseparable. If only more couples would take after the Drs. Holoubek.
~ barnesandnoble.com  July 24, 2014
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The Watermark Review

Foremost a long-distance love story …
[Vol. 36, No. 4, Fall 2013, pages 31-32]
The book contains interesting first-hand tidbits of the lives of medical students and interns in the 1930s. The letters chronicle the couple’s senior year and internship clinical rotations and notable medical cases at their respective medical centers. The two doctors also agonize over where to do their residencies and what to specialize in their careers moving forward. In the 1930s, women often did not pursue careers once they were married. Throughout the letters, Alice expresses her determination to marry and have a career in medicine. Finally, the letters show the risks involved in practicing medicine in the period prior to antibiotics.
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Prick of the Spindle Review

Communication in its most romantic form …
[Vol. 7.1, Spring 2013]

Instant messaging has largely rendered letters a thing of the past. The youngest of us can’t fathom the allure of snail mail—how we looked forward to the hand-addressed envelopes and the days-old messages inside them. If a letter contained bad news, the agony for the receiver was intensified by wondering what had happened in the days that had elapsed while the envelope was in transit. And glad news seemed more lasting than the flashpoint pleasure of today’s texts and e-mails.

It’s all there in The Courtship of Two Doctors, recreating communication in its most romantic form, and along the way, providing a wealth of verifiable, historical footnotes.

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Library Journal

“Charming book … readers will fall under the spell”
[October 15, 2012]
Former Shreveport Times columnist Fitzgerald, daughter of the late doctors Alice and Joe Holoubek, collects a series of letters that detail her parents’ courtship, from their first meeting at a Mayo Clinic fellowship in 1937 to their marriage two years later. These two young people awaken to their strong feelings for each other despite distance, busy internships, uncertain futures, and the illnesses that befell both. As biographer Joan Reardon (As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto) recently showed, collections of personal correspondence can provide a fascinating slice of life and the interplay of unique personalities. The Holoubeks’ letters show them to have been enormously likable, and the book shines with their modesty, consideration for each other, and concerns for humanity.

VERDICT:  This charming book is replete with enough medical references to interest any student of medical history. Other readers will fall under the spell of the music, automobiles, and social mores of the 1930s. For everyone.

Omaha Literature/examiner.com

“Great new book of letters … belongs on best-seller lists”
[October 14, 2012]
Perhaps like a romance novel, the great new book of letters, “The Courtship of Two Doctors: A 1930s Love Story of Letters, Hope & Healing,” proceeds from shyness to professions of love. Mainly, though, it shows how two medical students met, learned their profession and became doctors, and described their work to each other while falling in love through their letters.

With these letters in the late 1930’s, these two young people — one of them a small-town man in Omaha — wrote themselves into a lasting marriage.

Edited by their daughter, the former journalist Martha Holoubek Fitzgerald, and with a prologue written recently by her father, the letters have details such as the physician-to-be “Dr. Joe” working in Omaha at University Hospital and on house calls. The University then allowed its med students extensive in-the-field service experience, while Dr. Joe’s wife-to-be in New Orleans was more confined to campus until her junior and senior years.

Both were effective writers in that time when people often hand-wrote letters. This well-done book should be on best-seller lists.

Ms. Fitzgerald’s preface, much shorter than her father’s prologue, is especially well written. She will be appearing this week at the Bookworm bookstore Wednesday evening and at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Thursday.

Midwest Book Review

[October 2012]
In times of turmoil, we find comfort in those closest to us. “The Courtship of Two Doctors: a 1930s Love Story of Letters, Hope, & Healing” is a memoir and biography from Martha Holoubek Fitzgerald, as she writes of the bond between two medical students writing with World War II in the distance. Alice Baker and Joe Holoubek grew together for their correspondence, and their daughter compiles their unique tale. “The Courtship of Two Doctors” is a fine pick for those who enjoy a bit of true life romance and a delve into a different sort of history.

ForeWord Reviews

[August 7, 2012]
The story of how “Dr.” Alice” and “Dr. Joe” created their futures together and became honored and respected physicians is often poignant and dramatic, reflecting an era before antibiotics, when serious illnesses like tuberculosis were rampant and health-care professionals were often exposed to infection and disease. … A former columnist and associate editorial page editor for the Shreveport Times, Fitzgerald has shaped a well-written, interesting book about two remarkable physicians and loving parents.
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Five-star Reviews at Amazon

Beautiful love story

This beautiful love story told in letters made me want to go back and read the love letters my husband and I wrote each other during our courtship. I enjoyed reading about the things medical interns did for entertainment.
~Lillie, Amazon.com  July 7, 2014

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Enchanting! Spellbinding!
What beautiful letters went back and forth between these two – devoted to the medical profession and to one another.  … This is a must-read for all romantics – men and women  – or any reader. I couldn’t put it down!
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A perfect mix of history,drama, love story and inspiration!
This is a delightful book to be savored and shared; I wanted my book club to read it after reading only the first 30 pages. Martha Holoubek Fitzgerald has the knack of combining what must have been a daunting volume of material with a love story that is captivating and heartwarming. I was also impressed by the insights into medical history that this book allows. Like most Americans today it is hard to imagine life pre-antibiotics and how much the advances in medicine are taken for granted. I highly recommend this book on many levels.
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A Time For Love!
I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying reading the book. I can escape 30 minutes each day to a world where there’s love, values, caring about our world, and even a little humor. I don’t think I can ever put this book down….it’s my touch back to a time I wish still existed and maybe hope that we ourselves can recreate. … it was with sadness I finished the book. I think it’s the first time I’ve read a book that I honestly didn’t want it to end.

Touching, inspiring love story
In today’s fast-paced world where we focus as much and sometimes more on what we individually want, it is refreshing to recall that in a different time the consideration of one person for another was the guiding force of polite society. … Not only is this inspiring story of vital interest to every person in or contemplating a lifetime commitment, I’m sure this book will become an essential guide amongst marriage counselors and ministers as they seek to demonstrate both unselfishness and godliness are the foundations for a loving, lasting relationship.
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Unique and heart-warming love story
I have just finished “The Courtship of Two Doctors” with tears in my eyes. The book is an inspiration.
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A wonderful love story
Their love for each other and their faith in the Lord sustained them through many trials, tribulations and hardships. I learned so much about them; but more, about the medical profession in general. Being in the medical field, myself, it was very interesting to see just how far medicine has come since 1937….treatments, drugs, and attitudes. Drs. Joe & Alice were certainly pioneers.
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Letters to Luke

Five-star Reviews at Amazon

  • The greatest love story ever. Just told in a different way. I could sometimes feel like I was there. Brought a few tears.
  • This is one of the best books I have read. It gave great insight into the era and the way the world was at that time. It was a not-able-to- put-down read. I am expecting to read it again soon to glean more info. Thanks for a great read.

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Medical Journal Review

A remarkably good book on several levels and a fitting tribute to a great physician, husband, and writer.

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Catholic Exchange Review

The author’s writing style is personal and conversational, as direct and engaging as anyone writing to a friend … a dramatic and uplifting novel that readers will cherish for decades to come.

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Catholic Exchange Q & A

Beautifully written and revealing on many levels.

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