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The Doctor's Wife    by Elizabeth Brundage order for
Doctor's Wife
by Elizabeth Brundage
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

This is a powerful book. It's hard to believe that it's Elizabeth Brundage's first novel. The story line flows from one scene to the next. The characters are driven by real human emotions. You may not agree with their actions, but you can empathize.

Dr. Michael Knowles is an OB/GYN at a local hospital in upstate New York. He also volunteers at an abortion clinic. Between the two, his work leaves little time for family life. That makes for an unhappy wife. Annie Knowles finds a diversion of her own and the story takes off running. Simon Haas, an art professor at the college where Annie teaches writing classes, becomes her new interest, but his wife Lydia is not an everyday little housewife.

This is not just your typical love triangle or should I say quadrangle. Illicit love, with its stolen hours, is only one aspect. There's also kidnapping, a horrendous assault, death threats name it. It's in the pages. But the sex and violence are not gratuitous. They fit into the story line, masterfully woven into the plot.

The tale is compelling and beautifully written. The author delves deep into the souls of her finely wrought characters and brings them to life a life you would not want to live to fulfill each of their destinies. Her prose is not flowery but she manages to get her points across with the delicacy of an artist at her easel. The Doctor's Wife is a page turner par excellence - a book to read with care,and to recommend to your friends.

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