From Publishers Weekly
After taking the pulse of nine centuries of medical practice in the first two volumes of his trilogy about the Cole family of physicians (The Physician, 1987; Shaman, 1992), Gordon, in concluding the series, re-examines the modern medical world that he diagnosed 26 years ago in The Death Committee. The protagonist here is R. J. Cole, a 40-ish family practitioner based in Boston, who segued from a promising law career into medicine, where she has been committed to women's rights. Now she is turned down for a top-level hospital post after her participation in an abortion clinic makes her controversial. When her stale marriage to a fellow physician also runs out of steam, Cole moves to the Berkshires, determined to succeed as a country doctor. There, she falls into a problematic romance with a Jewish real estate agent, a recovering alcoholic, former rabbi and single parent for whose 17-year-old daughter Cole secretly arranges an abortion. Gordon's greatest strength is his ability to seamlessly meld his characters' emotional dilemmas and medical crises to dramatic effect. Cole is an appealing figure, and Gordon takes pains with the other characters too, creating thoughtful and nicely nuanced portrayals, especially of Cole's rural neighbors and patients. As a compelling tale of a woman's life and a balanced look at the difficult moral issues driving contemporary medicine, this novel should earn for Gordon the wide readership he already enjoys in Europe. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In the last volume of a trilogy about a family of physicians, R. J. Cole, who got a law degree before turning to medicine, has been knocked out of consideration for an administrative position at Boston's Lemuel Grace Hospital. This failure has everything to do with the fact that as a lawyer-doctor she teaches a course in iatrogenic diseases and the fact that she performs abortions one afternoon every week at a family planning clinic. Add to her professional disappointment her divorce from her surgeon husband, and she has good reason for moving to Woodfield, in the Berkshires. Here she can satisfy her desire to practice family medicine, slowly come to love the countryside and its people, and meet ex-rabbi David Markus. Gordon doesn't need the crutches of gratuitous sex and violence to tell the delightful and moving story of R. J. and David's mutual attraction, their relations with David's daughter, and much more that may prove as worthwhile in rereading as in first reading. William Beatty