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The Doctor's Wife Paperback – November 29, 2005
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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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Top Customer Reviews
The four main characters in the story are complex and interesting people although I have to say the only one I genuinely liked and felt sympathy for was Michael, the doctor who was also an abortionist. Annie, his wife, started out sympathetic but I had a hard time caring about her once we find out how self-centered she is. She approves of her husband's choice to work in the clinic until the harassment begins but her way of dealing with it is to have an affair? That was certainly believable but I lost sympathy for her.
Simon, the artist and Annie's lover, is a self-centered jerk. He wasn't always. His rescue of Lydia, his much younger wife, was not entirely selfless but, none the less, I appreciated him for it. Lydia, his wife and the model for the paintings that made him famous, is a very, very damaged person. She's also completely nuts.
Elizabeth Brundage writes well and weaves a complex tale. More than anything I was impressed by the way she wrote about the issues surrounding a woman's right to choose. She did not take a position one way or the other but painted a picture that is all too believable -- a group of zealots who are willing to use violence and intimidation in the name of religion. Regardless of what your opinion about abortion is you need only read newspapers to know that Brundage's story is truthful and all too believable.
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