Winter Sisters
Tim Westover
QW Publishers 2020


Author Tim Westover weaves an illuminating tall tale about ancient vs. modern medicine in his novel, “Winter Sisters.” The story begins in the early 1800s with the arrival of Audrey Waycross fresh out of medical school.

The newly minted doctor awaits patients, but townspeople prefer medical treatment from the Winter sisters, rather than a doctor who believes in blood-letting for most ailments. “All a Hippocratic doctor needs is a lancer and a bone saw,” was the general opinion of the locals. 

Long before the town of Lawrenceville existed, three Winter sisters and their mother lived in the Appalachian Mountains, their medical cures legendary. People would trek through the forest to line up for medical care — until, that is, a rabid panther was sighted, making folks afraid to walk to Hope Hollow. One solution was to move into town closer to their patients, but the local pastor, Boatwright, fueled fears the sisters were witches and should not be allowed to practice medicine.

When Waycross finally receives a patient, he makes a tragic mistake which results in him having to amputate his patient’s arm. Meanwhile, he observes that when the sisters came into town shopping, people would line up for hours to receive medical attention. Determined to know why their treatment was preferred over his, Waycross makes a proposal: They could share a medical practice.

… enchanting story dwells into the wonders of nature, love and family …

He told the sisters he would protect them from Boatwright and his fear-mongering congregation while he learned their medicinal secrets. “To my thinking, the whole axis of the problem had turned. The Winters weren’t the ones who traded in superstition. Those were the pastor and his adepts,” thought Waycross. 

The enchanting story dwells into the wonders of nature, love and family, as the sisters and Waycross come face-to-face with the panther, and then, rabies. A cure did not exist, or did it? And there is a touch of humor when Waycross decides to share his “hygienic happiness” — ether, with the folks at the local tavern.