4 out of 4 stars
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By William H. Coles
McDowell by William H. Coles is a book that will grab you by the heartstrings and pull in every direction. Throughout the entire novel, the reader is faced with many difficult decisions in regards to how they should feel about Hiram McDowell.
The story begins with McDowell, a surgeon held in high regards, leaving his climbing partner on top of a mountain, causing his death. This scene foreshadows the character that McDowell has. He is sexist, self-centered, money-hungry, and easy to hate. McDowell will use anyone that will help him to reach his goals and he will not think twice about it. Throughout his life, McDowell had many accomplishments. He ran a medical foundation in Nepal, was the president of the International College of Surgeons, and was nominated to be the United States Secretary of Health. Although the main focus of the story is McDowell’s professional career, he does have a personal life that is intertwined into the novel. Being married (and divorced) three times, McDowell has a series of interesting characters that affect his life. From his marriages, he has three children, not including his stepchildren. Sophie, a photographer, seems to be his favorite, and is very well developed throughout the novel. Billie, a boy still in school, but wholly involved in music, seems to be his second favorite. His character is thoroughly developed throughout the novel and the reader is able to see the evolution of a boy to a man. And Anne, a stay at home mother of two, seems to be his least favorite. She has anxiety, worries about motherhood, and although she faces circumstances, she is also developed throughout the book. Although not the most involved father, McDowell attempts to support his children through monetary means.
The novel is separated into two parts. Throughout the first part of the book, all seems to be going well for Hiram McDowell. However, towards the end of the first part of the book, Hiram takes a fall from grace, and everything in his life becomes toxic. During the second part of the book, Hiram is faced with many hardships. He is forced to leave all he knows behind and attempt a second chance at a new, and very different, life.
As you read this book, you begin to develop several questions. Is it possible to be forgiven for terrible crimes? Is it possible for someone who has lived the majority of their life with no remorse to change? And finally, does Hiram McDowell really deserve everything he gets, or is he treated unjustly because of who he is?
This book was a different genre than I would normally read, however, I absolutely loved it. This book had me questioning how I felt the entire time I read it. The book had no qualities that I didn’t appreciate.
I would give this book a 4 out of 4 stars. It was a very enjoyable read. I thought that the book was cleverly written, edited professionally, and contained no mistakes. The story line grips you and doesn’t let go until the very end. This book will make you feel so many emotions. I did not rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars because I felt that the book held my attention well, entertained me, was an easy read, and made me think and question myself the entire time.
This book would appeal to anyone who enjoys mystery books or books that involve extreme character development through many means. This book is emotional, and at times graphic. It does contain some sexual content. It would not appeal to readers who are bothered by such things.
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