The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
|The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: This book encompasses different countries and different continents around the beginning of the 20th century. The von Kessler's appear to live a charmed life - but something is missing so Erika goes to great lengths to try to make her life complete and meets love, lust and loss along the way.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: April 2011|
We first meet one of the central characters, the successful, young obstetrician Dr Ravell as he mingles with the great and the good Bostonians at a high-level social gathering. His reputation seems to precede him as one guest enthuses After nineteen years in a barren marriage ... thanks to you, they had twins. High praise indeed. And at this gathering he not only meets a future patient, Erika von Kessler, but he is also enraptured by her singing voice. He tries to explain all this but finds it difficult so ends up by saying It was not an earthly voice; it was a shimmering. I loved that line.
During the initial consultation between patient and doctor (The Doctor & The Diva and which gives this book its title) Ravell learns that while Erika wants to have a child, other things are also important to her - like furthering her singing career. And it's obvious that there's an attraction - a physical attraction between the two and you know what they say about doctor/patient relationships ... Ravell ascertains also that husband and wife enjoy a regular physical side to their marriage. So, what's the problem? Why can't Erika become pregnant?
And someone else who has a hearty sexual appetite is the doctor himself. Nothing wrong with that - except it's with his female patients. He's not particular fussy either - older women, younger women, women who are perhaps past their prime. But what does matter is that, if he's rumbled, there will be serious consequences for his career.
As the medical procedures to procure a pregnancy (by whatever means) for Erika steps up, Ravell discovers a disturbing medical fact. A very disturbing medical fact. He's not quite sure what to do about it or even who to share this information with amongst his colleagues. Eventually he decided on a course of action which sets the rest of the novel in place. No one will be the same again. The doctor, the diva, nor the diva's husband. Perhaps the subliminal message here is the trust that a patient places in her doctor. Erika trusts Ravell completely. But is her trust misplaced?
As the story develops we get to see the selfish side of Erika. It's not attractive at all. Beyond the first clutch of pages, I didn't really warm to her. As well as (sort of) wanting to be a mother, she knows that it will not be enough for her to look after a baby, then a toddler day after day after day .. Sounds as if she'll probably go mad. I suppose it's all about wanting her cake and eating it. Added to all of this is the fact that she firmly believes that her talent for singing is God-given. It would be a sin not to share it with others. Unfortunately, her husband's opinion differs. So therefore there's plenty of tension and friction throughout the book.
The readers travels to different parts of the world with Erika - the Caribbean, Italy as she chases her dream. So we get a flavour of the tropical landscape and also the culture of Italian cities. McDonnell's style flows across the page effortlessly to make for an entertaining read.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
For more travel across Europe try The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell at Amazon.com.
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