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Gemini: A Novel Hardcover – March 4, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The third outing by the author of Oxygen (2008) and Healer (2010) is a compelling look at the collision of a physician’s professional and personal lives. Charlotte Reese takes an immediate interest in a seriously injured Jane Doe who shows up one night in the Seattle ICU where she works. The victim of an apparent hit-and-run, Jane Doe is in critical condition, and Charlotte must work hard to keep her alive even as she wonders if the damage to Jane’s brain will make her efforts futile. Cassella alternates between Charlotte’s story and that of Raney, whose childhood in the small Washington town of Quentin was shaped by her friendship with Bo, a thoughtful boy who worked his way into Raney’s life and eventually her heart despite the vast differences in their families’ social standings. A devastating medical condition ripped Bo from Raney’s arms. Readers will quickly perceive the connection between Raney and the Jane Doe in Charlotte’s ICU, but they’ll be surprised to discover that the women share another link. A uniquely involving read. --Kristine Huntley


“Once again, Carol Cassella has written a novel full of gorgeously rendered characters, fascinating medical detail and tour de force plot twists. From its gripping first pages straight through to its stunning conclusion, Gemini is an unforgettable novel—a morality tale, a mystery, and a love story that will leave readers breathless.” (Maria Semple, New York Times bestselling author of Where'd You Go Bernadette?)

“With big themes, an unforgettable setting, high stakes, mystery, suspense, heartbreak, human triumph, and rare insight, Gemini surprises and fascinates at every turn. Nobody writes about the miracle of the human organism like Carol Cassella. Gemini is a novel sure to keep readers flipping pages deep into the night.” (Jonathan Evison, New York Times bestselling author of West of Here)

"Carol Cassella has written a wonderful novel. A deeply moving story about the heartbreaking pursuit of happiness by a courageous woman without means. Gemini is a page turner, I had a hard time putting down." (Jan-Philipp Sendker, international bestselling author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats)

"GEMINI is an engrossing, compelling page-turner of a novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. Carol Cassella's expertly crafted story about love, genetics, loss, and the search for identity will resonate deeply with readers." (Kristin Hannah, # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Fly Away and Home Front)

"Carol Cassella's novel taps into the very core of every person's hopes and dreams...and their fears. Her beautifully crafted story explores the unbearable fragility of the human body, and ultimately celebrates the sturdiness of the human spirit. This book is a triumph of literary mastery and emotional resonance." (Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Apple Orchard)

"A natural born story-teller, Cassella's vivid novel, beautifully set in the Pacific Northwest, creates a haunting backdrop for this spellbinding examination of how family, loss, genetics and ultimately the triumph of love can connect and confound us all." (Lee Woodruff, # 1 New York Times bestselling author of In an Instant and Those We Love Most)

"A book at turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, it invites us to accept, if nothing else, that the only way to live is to 'cling to every moment even as you [leap] into the next.'" (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“A compelling look at the collision of a physician’s professional and personal lives…A uniquely involving read.” (Booklist)

“[GEMINI] poses interesting medical questions and offers deepening mysteries to keep the reader turning the pages.” (Library Journal, Starred Review)

“Whatever genre you want to assign it, the suspense works, the setting is starkly beautiful, and the characters give the reader a lot to think about.” (Word Joy)

“Cleverly but incrementally, Cassella—a practicing physician as well as an author—puts together the pieces of Jane Doe’s mystery even as she ponders, through Charlotte, the Big Questions.” (

“Cassella delivers a mind-bending, emotionally charged story featuring tough medical and end-of-life issues. The plot slowly builds as we learn the backstory of a critically injured patient and the dilemmas facing her doctor. Not your ordinary mystery, this is an unusual plot and a great, thought-provoking read.” (

“It is a gripping fictional narrative that will spark conversations about the very real moral dilemmas we face in this age of medical miracles.” (Bainbridge Review)

“This is a riveting, suspenseful story, full of vivid characters and stirring reflections on medical and genetic issues…Cassella is a gifted writer, gorgeously animating her landscapes and the forces of nature, underlining her theme that even medicine cannot save her characters from mortality.” (Seattle Times)

“Overall, Cassella has created a work of insightful characterizations, finely crafted language and socioeconomic contrasts that are detailed in almost Dickensian fashion.”
Bellingham Herald

“I think the alternating-points-of-view-chapters device has been overdone in some recent works of fiction, but Cassella gets it right. We read along, anticipating the solution of juicy mysteries and dilemmas, suspecting from the tone that not everyone can live happily ever after. I highly recommend it!” (

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451627939
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451627930
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Carol Cassella is a practicing physician and novelist. She was a closet writer for years before blending medicine and fiction in her first novel, OXYGEN, (Simon & Schuster, 2008), the story of an anesthesiologist tangled in the aftermath of an operating room catastrophe. Her second novel, HEALER, follows a doctor whose life is turned upside down when her husband's hot new cancer drug explodes amidst ethical controversy. GEMINI, published in 2014, blends mystery with a love story when a hit and run victim is life-flighted to a Seattle hospital's ICU. All three books were Indie Best Picks and together they have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Carol grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated from Duke University with a degree in English Literature. After working in publishing for several years, she decided to pursue her fascination with all the weird and wonderful ways humans behave and misbehave by studying medicine. She graduated from Baylor College of Medicine and is board certified in both internal medicine and anesthesiology. Prior to writing fiction, Carol wrote about global public health issues in the developing world for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has been a contributor to the Wall Street Journal as an Expert Panelist in Healthcare, and edits a literary section in Anesthesiology, the journal of the American Society of Anesthesiology. She is a founding member of Seattle7Writers, a non-profit supporting literacy and reading in the Pacific Northwest, and also serves on medical organizations working in Nicaragua and Bhutan.

Carol lives on Bainbridge Island, WA with her husband Steve and their two sets of twins. She enjoys hiking and cross country skiing in the North Cascades, and is currently working on her fourth novel.

Please visit Carol at her website:

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Carol Cassella's "Gemini" explores how our health, biological and genetic history, personalities, prosperity, and social standing all may contribute to our happiness or misery. Are we destined to be contented and well-adjusted or unhappy and dysfunctional? Most of us are somewhere in between, experiencing highs and lows at different stages of our lives. Dr. Charlotte Reese frequently ponders mortality and other weighty issues, since she deals with gravely ill patients in the Intensive Care Unit of Beacon Hospital. She sometimes wonders "if her entire medical career was an interminable battle against the will of the universe." Yet, she is an excellent doctor who fights for her patients, even when it appears unlikely that they will survive.

A case in point is Jane Doe, an unidentified female in her late thirties who is transported by helicopter to Charlotte's hospital from the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Jane, the victim of a hit-and-run driver, has multiple injuries. Her blood pressure is plummeting, her lungs are filling with fluid, and her kidneys are about to shut down. As time passes and Jane remains in a coma, no one comes forward to claim her as either as a relative or friend. Dr. Reese grows attached to this solitary patient with whom she has never exchanged a single word.

In addition to its fascinating depiction of the work of intensive care physicians, "Gemini" is a coming of age story about a young girl, Raney, who is being raised on a farm by her doting but no-nonsense grandfather. Grandpa Remington is a widower and survivalist who has built a well-equipped underground bunker, preparing for "the end of the world as we know it." Meanwhile, Raney strikes up a friendship with a visiting city boy, Bo, whose wealthy parents are divorcing.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Jo Morgan VINE VOICE on February 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed the first part of this book a lot, but the sudden switch in point of view from one set of characters to another seemed awkward. That was my sense of the entire book, really -- not bad, often well written, yet awkward overall. It didn't seem to hold together; rather, it seemed contrived. The author talks in her acknowledgements about how it took three years "to wrestle this book to a final draft" and I'm afraid that all that wrestling shows. I understand that an author may well wrestle and sweat for a long time to write a book -- but the final result is supposed to look effortless and flowing -- born, not manufactured.

Cassella is a good writer and I'm sure this won't be her last effort. I wish her good fortune and fair winds for the next.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By My 2 Cents VINE VOICE on January 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Charlotte Reese and ICU doctor at Seattle Beacon Hospital, so she is no stranger to dealing with individuals struggling to beat the grim reaper of death. Sometimes she must even make the critical difference in whether a patient lives or dies.

One night a Jane Doe is transferred to her unit from a rural hospital - the apparent victim of a hit and run. As Jane Doe's condition worsens, Charlotte finds herself with many unanswered questions about the victim and how to proceed with her care. There is no one there who knows the victim, and the police have no leads. Should extraordinary means be used for an unidentified comatose patient, and if so for how long?

Meanwhile, Charlotte's biological clock is ticking and her boyfriend Eric, a scientist is not anxious to take the next step because of a genetic risk he may pass on to his offspring.

The story is told in alternating storylines, one about Charlotte, her relationship with Eric and her patient Jane Doe, and another story from an earlier time beginning about two younger children named Raney and Bo, and later Raney, her husband Cleet and a son named Jake. The reader knows that somehow these two stories are related, but just how is a mystery for a while.

I enjoyed this story a lot. I loved the setting, the detail, the characters, and the all encompassing feel of spirit, mind and body this story conveyed. Read It!

Carol Cassella, is not only a terrific writer, she is a practicing anesthesiologist as well. What makes her novels so riveting is the fact that she infuses medical detail and in this case genetics into her stories in a way that the average reader can understand. Also, if you haven't read her previous novels, Oxygen and Healer, please do so, I think you'll be glad you did.

4.5/5 stars
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Utah Mom VINE VOICE on April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One night while Dr. Charlotte Reese is working in the intensive care unit, a Jane Doe is transferred to her unit. The victim of an apparent hit-and-run, Jane is unconscious and unidentified. As Charlotte works to get her patient medically stable, she can't help but feel a deeper connection with the woman. Charlotte is plagued by the ethical questions surrounding this deeply ill woman. Who will make the decisions of whether or not Jane lives or dies? Surely someone cares about this woman.

As Charlotte struggles for more time before confronting these questions, her life becomes more entangled with Jane's when Charlotte's boyfriend Eric identifies Jane from an unusual scar on her arm. Together, Charlotte and Eric find themselves on a mission to answer the questions and find solutions for Jane and for their own conflicted relationship.

I was drawn into Gemini by Carol Cassella from the first page. Her style and ability to describe situations, settings and characters so they become animate compelled me from page to page in this carefully plotted medical mystery. The medical details are intelligent, well-researched (Cassella is an anesthesiologist) and yet are clear enough for an untrained reader to understand and grasp. Cassella includes small particulars about her characters or shows them participating in moments of life that add to the reality of the situation without becoming mundane or tedious. The characters come alive within her words. Dr. Charlotte Reese, in particular, is a highly capable, brilliant physician who is also very vulnerable in her personal relationships. Her hopes and dreams for the future are in conflict with the love in her heart for another. As a reader it is easy to relate to and sympathize with Charlotte's appealing character.
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