4 out of 4 stars
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Human nature has always been fascinating to me. What makes people do the things that they do? This is the type of issue that William H. Coles explores in his book The Surgeon's Wife.
Clayton Otherson is a surgeon in New Orleans who mainly does bariatric surgery. He's been making a few mistakes lately, though, forcing Mike Boudreaux to act in his capacity as Chief of Service. Dr. Otherson is a very prominent surgeon who is a forerunner in obesity surgery; he also taught and mentored Dr. Boudreaux. That makes it hard for Mike to make any decisions that might jeopardize Dr. Otherson's career. Then there is Catherine, Clayton's wife. Catherine has always been a strong woman and very active in the community. Now, though, Clayton seems to be coming unglued, and Catherine is unhappy in her marriage. Will Mike make the hard decision that ends Clayton's career? How will Clayton react if the only thing he has ever known is taken away from him? Will Catherine stick it out in her marriage for better times? Or will she walk away?
Mr. Coles is well-known for his character development, and this story is no different. If I could say anything about his work, it would be that it is very character driven. He knows the human psyche well, and his writing reflects that. His characters made me want to keep reading the novel. I had to see what would happen to them; I had no choice in the matter. I felt the pain of their losses and the happiness of their joys.
The book is just under 200 pages and makes for a quick read. The book doesn't feel short, though, as the plot is fully developed. In spite of its short length, Mr. Coles manages to fully elaborate the story as well as the characters which is a feat in and of itself. With a novel this length, oftentimes the reader is left wanting more. That is not the case here, however.
Though this book is not full of action, it does have violence and turmoil. The themes are dark and confusing as is much of humanity. Yet, the author treats this darkness in a way that doesn't have you walking away depressed. (I find that this is often the case after I watch an episode of Law and Order: SVU.) I appreciate that, as so many times when discussing human nature, it's easy to feel hopeless. Mr. Coles, though, manages to find the pinpoints of light in the darkness and bring those to the forefront.
I very much enjoyed reading The Surgeon's Wife. I found only 2 errors in the whole book, leading me to believe that it was professionally edited. That coupled with the wonderful character development leaves me with no choice but to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I've always said that any genre of book can be enjoyable as long as there is good character development even if it isn't your preferred genre. William H. Coles proves that over and over in his works.
The Surgeon's Wife
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