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Review: The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell (ARC)

>>Thursday, May 27, 2010

Title: The Doctor and the Diva
Author: Adrienne McDonnell
Pages: 417
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: B

Note: I received this book through the Early Reviewers Program on LibraryThing.

From Penguin: It is 1903. Dr. Ravell is a young Harvard-educated obstetrician with a growing reputation for helping couples conceive. He has treated women from all walks of Boston society, but when Ravell meets Erika-an opera singer whose beauty is surpassed only by her spellbinding voice-he knows their doctor-patient relationship will be like none he has ever had.

After struggling for years to become pregnant, Erika believes there is no hope. Her mind is made up: she will leave her prominent Bostonian husband to pursue her career in Italy, a plan both unconventional and risky. But becoming Ravell's patient will change her life in ways she never could have imagined.

Lush and stunningly realized, The Doctor and the Diva moves from snowy Boston to the jungles of Trinidad to the gilded balconies of Florence. This magnificent debut is a tale of passionate love affairs, dangerous decisions, and a woman's irreconcilable desires as she is forced to choose between the child she has always longed for and the opera career she cannot live without. Inspired by the author's family history, the novel is sensual, sexy, and heart-stopping in its bittersweet beauty.

I enjoyed this book. What stood out for me was the plot and the fact that it was based on the ancestor of the author and therefore somewhat of a true story. What I didn't expect but welcomes was how I found myself really interested in the aspects of obstetrics during that time.

What I found to be negative about the book is that the writing was sometimes disjointed; sentences didn’t flow as well as I would have liked into one another. But this is a minor thing and in general I thought the writing was generally good. The story and the tone of the novel really makes up for this.

In the end I enjoyed the settings, the time period and the unusual but captivating premise. I recommend it to anyone interested in the early 1900s, opera, medicine, and good characters. B

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