4 out of 4 stars
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To be completely honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy reading something like The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles. From the beginning, I thought the plot of this story would be excruciatingly boring to me, since I have no real interest in surgeons, let alone any problems they might have with their wives. However, this book turned out to be far more interesting than the description and cover would seem to imply.
Put simply, this novel tells the story of the devastating fall from grace of a prominent New Orleans surgeon, Clayton Otherson. The story is told from the third person point of view, but focuses predominantly on the experiences of Otherson’s friend and partner, Michael Boudreaux. As Otherson gets older, Michael is forced to watch as he begins to make more mistakes and take more unnecessary risks; Otherson even continues to perform bariatric surgeries on obese patients despite his higher-than-average mortality rate. As a result, Michael, an important member of the hospital’s OR committee, has no choice but to confront his mentor’s increasingly risky and potentially deadly behavior. Around the same time that Otherson’s license is finally suspended, he becomes more mentally unstable, which puts a strain on his already loveless marriage. Fearing his fits of rage, his wife and daughter flee to the safest place they can think of: Michael’s house. At this point, Otherson begins to spiral, hell-bent on getting revenge on everyone who he believes “ruined his life.”
There were a lot of things that I really liked about Coles’ writing style. Although this novel was a lot shorter than one might have expected, its language was succinct instead of entirely lacking. The author provides the reader with the details needed to further the plot and no more, ensuring that the novel has little to no unnecessary scenes. Also, the characters were excellently written. Even minor characters were interesting and detailed, providing really engaging and useful dialogue. The plot was great, moving at a pace that was neither too slow nor too fast. Furthermore, despite my initial doubts, the style and tone of the narration ensured that the subject matter became extremely interesting to me over the course of the story. In fact, I read this book in one sitting because of my level of interest rather than its short length.
Aside from a few minor spacing issues, my only real complaint about this story was that there was not enough of it. The plot points of this novel were very well-written and largely well-connected, but the narrative might benefit from the addition of more scenes in order to provide more context for the events toward the end of the novel, such as Otherson’s overall mental deterioration. However, the details the readers were provided were eloquent and generally more than sufficient toward getting the main point across, so I did not take the story’s length into account when deciding my ranking.
While this book might not be meant for lovers of action, adventure, and fantasy, there are still a lot of people who would enjoy reading this story. I would highly recommend The Surgeon’s Wife to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction and romance, particularly those who have an interest in high society or the medical profession.
I decided to rank this book a 4 out of 4. As a whole, this story had an excellent plotline, great characters, compelling dialogue, and interesting subject matter. Of course, there were a few minor issues, but they did not draw away from the story in any way.
The Surgeon's Wife
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