Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Doctor and the Diva

Perks! I got one. A perk - a free book!! How awesome is that, since I love reading. With the request that I review it. How awesome is that, since I love sharing my opinion and will do so to the point of embarrassment.

The book is called, The Doctor and the Diva, by Adrienne McDonnell.

I must admit - once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. You just feel compelled to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next.

So here's the synopsis, without spoilers. (I hope.)

The setting is the early 1900s. A young couple in Boston is unable to conceive a child. They go from one doctor to another until finally ending up with Doctor Ravell, the Doctor in the title. He is young and single and medically adventurous. The woman, of course, is the Diva. Erika. A mezzo. With the most divine, rich voice the Doctor has ever heard. He is determined to help them get pregnant. Meanwhile, he not only slowly falls in love with the Diva, but he and the husband become best friends. Tricky, tricky, tricky situation here.

So without giving anything away... let's just say, the couple is having a very specific problem and the doctor takes it upon himself, so to speak, to help solve it. Conveniently, while hubby is away, she does become pregnant ... and from there the relationships twist and turn. And why oh why is the doctor so very interested in that pregnancy, to the point of tears? I won't mention here what happens with that pregnancy, as that would be a spoiler.

Meanwhile, the Diva is trying to advance her career. Pregnancy does throw a wrench into things of course. She eventually does get to pursue her career, setting us up for more twists and turns.

The twists and turns are not unrealistic, but they are surprising. We change from Erika to Dr. Ravell's point of view. She wants to be a mother, but she wants to be a famous opera singer. What to do? Abandon her family to pursue her career, or compromise her dream, "waste" her voice and settle down? We do spend some time in Italy with her where she is sort of tossed around until she can find her own place in the operatic scene there.

And the Doctor... how can he live with the choices he's made? He actually annoyed me a bit.

He has other problems in the form of older married patients he has had the poor judgment to get mixed up with. Once their hubbies find out, he has no choice but to leave... far, far away... to some tropical island where eventually Erika comes to visit and lo and behold, she gets pregnant again. Hm. Actually this time it's more conventional... but anyway, I won't tell you how it ends... Although I bet you can guess.

Favorite moment: When she talks with her sister (in-law?) about how all pregnant women and/or women who have just given birth fall in love with their obstetricians. Erika has an amusing thought at one point in the waiting room, as she looks around at the women there, that there should be an opera about women and their obstetricians.

Saddest moment: Warning: Children die in this book. It's sad.

Favorite twist: Well, that would be telling, but I will say that it takes place on the tropical plantation in the last half of the book.

Criticism: Well I loved the book, the first time, but when rereading it to write this review I was kind of impatient. I guess once you know the twists and turns the book takes, it's not as compelling as it originally was.

Fun fact: Based on a true story.

Could they make a move: Absolutely.

Do I recommend it: Yes! A fun, entertaining page-turner, great for unwinding after dinner, resting on the beach or forgetting yourself on a long plane ride. The author is very descriptive - I was drawn in to the settings. You can identify with some of the characters' struggles, even if you don't agree with the choices they ultimately make.

More info here, where you can purchase your very own copy. Go ahead, read it. Then there's the author's website, and here's a video about it:

And, as usual, if the blogger format cuts off the video window... you know what to do. Click it.

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