Saturday, 14 May 2011
The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
1903, Boston. Dr Ravell is a young obstetrician whose reputation for helping couples conceive has made him a rising star. He is flattered when a family of illustrious physicians turns to him to treat one of its own members. Erika von Kessler is a beautiful and ambitious opera singer who has struggled for years to become pregnant. As the young doctor's attraction to her increases, and his treatments prove ineffectual, Erika's despair worsens. And when Dr Ravell takes a great risk that may imperil his promising career, a secret he can share with no one, it is a decision that will change their dreams and destinies. What ensues is an unforgettable love story that sweeps across snowy Boston, a lush island of the Caribbean, to the graceful piazzas and opera stages of Italy.
This is a beautifully written book written about a couple desperate for a baby, who have visited many professionals who have no answers. When Dr Ravell finds out the delicate, personal reasons for their problems, he is left in a dilema and makes a decision which will stay with him for the rest of his life.
I enjoyed this book, it was historic fiction, set in Boston, Trinidad and Italy in the early 1900s. The author has taken inspiration for the story from a distant relative and I found it interesting to see how some of the modern techniques of today were being developed at the turn of the previous century. The comparison of life in Boston and Trinidad were evident to see and it was interesting to see how the characters adapted to life when their personal journeys took them there. When Erika made the difficult decision to move to Italy, leaving both her husband and son it was another change in lifestyle but one which Erika excelled at - I enjoyed reading about Erika's life here and her struggle to become a sucessful opera singer.
I enjoyed the book and liked the snippets of operatic arias that peppered the book - opera is something i have never been a fan of but to see the words on a page, translated from Italian to English made me realise that it is possible to tell a story, an emotional one, through song. I would not usually pick up a book such as this one off a shelf but I loved this book straight from the first page, I was drawn into their lives. A well written story, with characters I could see - the business man who wants a child and will pay for doctors, but not imagine the problem could be with him; the wife who wants a child but is tiring of seeing many doctors, has other pleasures in life which she wishes to explore and resides herself to never having that much wanted child and a young doctor, who wants to develop his career, but has a moral dilema to overcome.
The other thing that drew me to this book was the cover. I have seen the hardcover which I think was released in America but have to say, I much prefer this cover. It depicts the story perfectly and captures the four main parts of the story - Italy, Trinidad, the opera singer and the doctor.
I would recommend this book to someone who wants something different to read - but also to fans of historical fiction. It is a good read.
Thank you to the publishers, Sphere, for sending me this book to review.