4 out of 4 stars
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This is a review of the novel The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles. In this work, the protagonist is a surgeon named Mike Boudreaux who is trying to maintain his professionalism in the midst of fighting for his friend, co-worker and mentor to keep his job. At the same time, he struggles unsuccessfully to avoid forbidden love which yields painful consequences.
I rate this novel 4 out of 4. This novel is one of the best I have read in a long time, although it is not without flaws. What I enjoyed the most while reading The Surgeon’s Wife was Coles’ style of writing. The author was not very wordy and was able to describe scenes effectively without saying too much. I enjoyed this because it allowed my imagination to fill in details and make informed guesses as I read. However, although this was the norm throughout the book, when Coles decided to describe certain scenes in fine detail, the descriptions and portrayals were masterful and immersive. Another aspect of the novel that I enjoyed was its pool of characters. The main character was relatable and, although much of his turmoil involved medically-related issues, his problems and decisions seemed like ones that anyone might face as one moves through life. The way characters entered the story was also captivating and character development was excellent.
Another positive feature of The Surgeon’s Wife was its interesting plot developments, none of which seemed like afterthoughts. In fact, in retrospect, they all helped the reader to understand the reasons behind the story's eventual outcome. Finally, I appreciated the author’s depiction of a love story because the relationship that developed between two of the main characters was not the usual ‘love at first sight’; their love blossomed organically and was both practical and believable. It also was not sexually explicit.
There were a few things that I viewed as flaws or potential flaws in the book. The novel’s first chapter had large amounts of medical jargon and procedures. I actually enjoyed that chapter very much but I see potential for others to get confused or disinterested. The plot also develops slowly which I, again, did not have a problem with but I believe it can be a deal-breaker for some. What I viewed as a flaw was the lack of detail in the romantic meetings of the two main characters. Readers must wait many chapters to see the love story finally bloom so it was unfair for the characters’ repeated rendezvous to be just bare bones. I did not wish the scenes to be sexually explicit but I expected and desired more details. I also took issue with the writer’s terseness when he let weeks or months pass in the span of a few sentences. This made the narrative disjointed since I repeatedly had to reread lines to understand the context and timeline being depicted.
With all things considered, I would recommend The Surgeon’s Wife to almost everyone. There were at least seventeen F-words in the novel so I would not recommend it to children, but to every adult out there: Please read this book.
The Surgeon's Wife
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