Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell

In The Doctor and the Diva, Erika von Kessler, an opera singer and her husband, Peter, are struggling to have a baby. They consult Doctor Ravell, a Harvard-educated obstetrician, who is renowned for helping couples conceive. However, by this time, Erika is convinced that it's hopeless and she's desperate to go to Italy to pursue her operatic career. This story of love affairs, desires, and decisions, take the reader to various locals: Boston, South America, and Italy.

I loved this debut novel, which is based on a true story of the author's ancestor. It's so beautifully told with fantastic characters and wonderfully inviting locals. I loved that it was told from the various characters' viewpoints. The historical aspects were especially intriguing. McDonnell was able to convey details about the time period (early 1900s) that made me feel like I was actually there. The details and descriptions of Trinidad, Venezuela, and Italy were stunning.

The story itself was fascinating. I found it extremely interesting to read about fertility treatments at the time. I didn't realize that couples had options back then. I also loved reading about Erika's career and all of the details about the operas. I adore opera; too bad I can't listen and read at the same time because I have a number of CDs that would be perfect background music for this book.

I loved the characters, too. In some respect, I shouldn't have been able to relate to them. I don't have children and haven't had to make the agonizing decision between them and a career. But, somehow I did. I didn't always agree with their decisions, but I was able to understand why they made them. Thankfully, none of this stopped me from thoroughly enjoying this story.

One part I couldn't figure out was why Doctor Ravell failed to contact Erika for long periods of time, when he obviously had strong feelings for her.

Because of the subject matter, this book might not be for everyone.

Highly recommended.

For more information about this book, please visit Penguin's website.

For more information about the author, please visit Adrienne McDonnell's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Penguin for this review copy.

The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell, Viking (Penguin), ©2010. ISBN 9780670021888(Advance Uncorrected Proof), 422p.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of the story having a basis in fact (and learning about more about opera and medical practices of the era).


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