Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Pamela Dorman Books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.
The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell, is exactly my kind of book: historical fiction with a solid foundation in a true story about family members with a generous mix of women's rights, medical issues, and difficult personal decisions. This is a story I want to read.
Here's the publisher's summary:
It is 1903. Dr. Ravell is a young Harvard-educated obstetrician with a growing reputation for helping couples conceive. He has treated women from all walks of Boston society, but when Ravell meets Erika--an opera singer whose beauty is surpassed only by her spellbinding voice--he knows their doctor-patient relationship will be like none he has ever had.As I said, this novel appealed to me on a variety of levels from straight historical fiction to an examination of the age-old women's dilemma of how to balance a career with motherhood. But it may have been the opening line of the Washington Post's review that sealed the deal for me: "Some novels just naturally enslave you, and this is one of them."
After struggling for years to become pregnant, Erika believes there is no hope. Her mind is made up: she will leave her prominent Bostonian husband to pursue her career in Italy, a plan both unconventional and risky. But becoming Ravell's patient will change her life in ways she never could have imagined.
One aspect of The Doctor and the Diva I find very interesting is that it seems to bring out strong emotions in women readers. For example, Julie from Booking Mama was put off by the characters and their choices; however, she said: "I was extremely impressed with Ms. McDonnell's writing style, and it's hard to believe that [this] is her debut novel. I thought the historical aspects of this novel seemed to be very authentic."
On the other side, "grow and change and their lives become much more than they had been. The three [main characters] are also somewhat diminished by their experiences as well, which is a point I feel was handled beautifully."
In this short video, McDonnell discusses the basis of her novel, some of her research, and the behavior of her characters. There are no spoilers.
This book was featured as part of my Imprint Fridays feature and my Spotlight on Pamela Dorman Books. For more information about the imprint, please read Pamela Dorman's introductory letter, posted here on December 3, 2010.