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The Doctor's Wife Paperback – November 29, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (November 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452286913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452286917
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

A suspense novel crossed with a literary exploration of infidelity and marital rancor, Elizabeth Brundage's ambitious debut, The Doctor's Wife, provides more than the usual kick of adrenalin for readers. In a small town in upstate New York, urban transplants Annie and Michael Knowles--he is a rising OB/GYN, and she is a once-trailblazing journalist who has settled into a teaching job--hope to escape the noise and bustle of the city. But both are drawn into danger: Annie begins an affair with an infamous (and married) painter, Simon Haas, and Michael is coaxed into helping an ex-lover at her family planning clinic. He performs abortions for poor women, and tries to ignore the cars that follow him home and the increasingly threatening phone calls. ometimes Brundage perfectly navigates the twisting, overlapping elements of her complicated story line, but other times gives us too much at a time. And one of her characters, Simon's disturbed wife Lydia Haas, is so fascinating that she puts the others in the shade. Nevertheless, this is a rich first novel and a promising beginning for its author. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Set against the backdrop of the battle for abortion rights, this timely but stilted debut thriller features a perfect yuppie couple. Michael Knowles is a successful OB-GYN and his wife, Annie, is a popular journalism professor; they have two precious kids and a big, airy home in upstate New York. But once Michael accepts a position at the only abortion clinic in town, the already heavy strain that his doctor's schedule puts on their marriage sends Annie into the arms of a colleague, notorious painter Simon Haas. Meanwhile, Michael receives increasingly hostile threats from creepy antiabortion activists, suggesting that one, or both, of the Knowles are targets of a vicious terror campaign. The painter's childlike young wife, Lydia, as a menacing, tormented Bible-thumper scarred by a harsh, loveless upbringing, is the enigma that fuels Brundage's examination of what happens when we are drawn to the very things that promise to destroy us. But the lessons here are heavy-handed and the characterizations mechanical. The bad guys wear mirrored sunglasses as they force Michael off the road; the good guys wear jackets emblazoned with angel's wings; and the dialogue is delivered in short sound bites scripted for a TV cliffhanger. The Knowles' storybook marriage takes a number of dark, twisted turns, but the lack of character nuance and depth blunt Brundage's stab at psychological suspense.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Story line is interesting...the characters are well developed.
By the end of the book, the character I hated the least, Simon, was the character that I think the author intended for the reader to despise the most.
Though I didn't hate it, I found it predictable, too long and the writing style at bit amateurish.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps I'm in danger of becoming one of those cynical single urbanites, but whenever I pick up a novel that starts out with a seemingly perfect couple and their seemingly perfect children, living in a seemingly perfect neighborhood, I want to rub my hands together with glee. You just KNOW it's all going downhill from there. But even this cynical urbanite was surprised by the depths to which Elizabeth Brundage will go with her characters. And THE DOCTOR'S WIFE is all the better for it. Note here: if your book club has gotten too genteel lately and is in need of a good cage-rattling, this is just the novel to do it.
THE DOCTOR'S WIFE is set in upstate New York --- civil, picturesque, well-mannered upstate New York --- and centers on Michael and Annie Knowles, the kind of couple that sits around listening to NPR's soothing, well-modulated liberal voices on Sunday mornings while doing the crossword in the Times; the smell of their toasted designer bagels mingling with the scent of their designer coffee, while their perfect children in Gap chic are playing nearby before rushing off to soccer and other mainstays of suburban life. Michael is a young, extremely busy and successful OB/GYN at a prominent hospital; Annie is a Miss Porter's School-educated college professor who teaches creative writing (naturally). But wait --- is that a rat we smell amidst the Starbucks?
Annie is growing bored being "the doctor's wife," particularly since the Good Doctor is never around. It appears that Doc's bell is being rung these days by Celina James, an old flame who appeals to much more than Michael's libido --- she has a good-sized socio-political agenda wrapped up in the shape of her Women's Health Clinic, the town's only provider of abortions.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A recently published review of this book calls it wooden.
I strongly take issue with the critic and wonder if in fact
he/she read it in its entirety, as it is anything but...
I consider myself a serious reader, preferring to read for
language rather than content. I found this book to be
extremely well crafted, tightly edited, with a strong involving
plot line, nuanced character development, and an imaginative structure
that is neither confusing nor obtuse.
The lovely, occasionally harsh, readily poignant use of language,
informs the complexities of the characters
making them not so dark as much as human,
drenching them in a full range of sincere humanity and all its
Whether on the beach this summer or sitting reflectively
with a pencil underscoring the delicious use of language,
I heartily recommend The Doctor's Wife.
This is an extremely impressive debut novel which
I intend to savor with a second read.
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55 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Judith C. Oswood on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a story about marital infidelity and mental psychosis. That sounds pretty heavy for a good book, but it works. The book centers around two married couples: Simon and Lydia Haas and Michael and Annie Knowles. Their lives intertwine in a shocking and fascinating way. The climax of the book was satisfying and exciting. I kind of stumbled upon this book at the library one day and thought I'd try it. I'm glad I did.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Doctor's Wife opens with a mystery and it is gripping. I wanted to know the conclusion, and what causes one to do a shocking act. So begins a book between primarily four people, and the relationships they share. Some have said it a dark book. Life is not always happy, there are ups and downs for any relationship.

I think this book makes us understand how the characters cope with intricate predicaments they face. The characters reach a juncture where the their values are tested. Some of these characters values or blurred or corrupted. No one can know what the outcome will be, and that made it difficult for me to put down. I do not condone what the characters do in the book. Sometimes right and wrong can be blurred. Reading this made me examine my own rush to judgement about certain events in the book; but also how I may react if in a similar situation.

This book is a riveting. The author is a good storyteller. If a book can be on your mind for a while, then that is remarkable. I read it 9 months ago. If you are looking for a tidy happy book, then this is not a book for you. If you want to read a relational mystery unfold that is controversial, insightful, and thought-provoking--then this is a book for you.

I give this book a 4.5. The only reason I dock the book is because I am a Christian and there was some content regarding Christianity that I felt may skew people from Christianity or religion--by continuing with stereotypes. I know this is a personal bias and I have the courage to admit it. I feel religion is taking a hit in the media and this can affect opinions. In essence, potentially corrupt opinions of Christianity and religion. However there is a small segment of nutty religious sects, and also nutty non-believers.

I do not think that was the author's intention to continue the stereotype. I do think the author accomplished what she desired--that is to think. I highly recommended this good, fictional book.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia L Boyce on August 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book...I stayed up all through the night to do so. I'm also in tears. This book is quite possibly the best book I've ever read. It's so powerful. The book touches on so many different high-impact topics, such as, infidelity, insanity,manipulation,right-to-life, pro choice. And deep love. The whole time I was reading this book, I kept thinking how real-to-life it played out. You could actually see the headlines in your mind from today's newspapers. I loved Annie. She was imperfect, and the author laid her out for the reader, warts and all. I'm so used to the heroine's in stories coming across as perfect, that it was nice to read about one who's just like the rest of us, more or less. Buy the book, you will not be sorry. Can't wait for her next book.
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