3 out of 4 stars
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The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles is set within the high society landscape of New Orleans. In the book, we are introduced to several intertwining stories. There is Michael Boudreaux, chief of surgery at one of New Orleans largest hospitals. His mentor, Clayton Otherson, is one of the most popular surgeons on his ward, and is slowly losing his touch but refuses to accept help or step down. Clayton accuses Michael of not standing up for him, but Michael can only ignore attempts by the board to discipline his mentor for so long. Clayton's wife, Catherine, is also dealing with her deteriorating marriage and the consequences of leaving a union that her entire family fortune depends on to be with the man she loves. Each choice they make erodes the ties they have with each other to a catastrophic end.
From the moment I started reading this book, it felt like an episode of any popular medical drama. There was something very thought-provoking about this story and the sequence of events within it. I found myself going back to points in the story just to absorb the author’s writing style which was at times very blunt and gritty. The descriptions dealt deep into the soul of the characters without being overly emotional, but at the same time never lost its shock value.
Almost halfway through the mood of the book changed. It went from feeling like a primetime medical drama to an exploration of the human condition, and what people can do when they are hurting and lose all sense of purpose in their life. I did not expect the story to go in that direction and here is where the grittiness really came in, but it still captured my attention. I honestly never really lost interest while reading it.
In all, I really liked the flow of the story and how the author took time to tell smaller stories that eventually crossed over with the main characters. Other than the few surgeons who were mentioned in passing, there were hardly any idle supporting characters. Every character had their own arc, their own purpose, their own story that went ill or good according to their choices. I was able to chew on each of them, their beliefs and attempts at living their own life without being overshadowed by another character’s story.
I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys dramatic, edgy novels with mild romance. I could see this book becoming a synopsis for a crime or medical drama or even a movie. It was straight forward enough, but still very engaging. There were a handful of spelling errors. So while I did like it, I would still give it 3 out of 4 stars. Even though honestly, without the errors, it could have easily gotten four.
The Surgeon's Wife
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