Gemini by Carol Cassella
2014 Simon & Schuster
Finished on November 18, 2016
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
In Seattle, an unidentified and unconscious accident victim is admitted to Dr. Charlotte Reese's intensive care unit. As Jane Doe's condition worsens, Charlotte finds herself becoming increasingly consumed by her patient's plight, both medical and personal. Who is this woman? Why will no one claim her? Who should decide her fate if she doesn't regain consciousness--and when? Charlotte is forced to confront these issues head on--especially when her boyfriend, Eric, a science journalist, becomes involved. In their pursuit of the truth, in their quest for solutions, Charlotte and Eric find their relationship put to the test. It is only when they open their hearts to their own feelings toward each other--and toward life itself--that Charlotte and Eric will unlock Jane Doe's shocking secret.
Filled with intricate medical detail and set in the breathtaking Pacific Northwest, Gemini is a vivid novel of moral complexity and emotional depth from the bestselling author of Oxygen and Healer.
Gemini has some of my favorite elements that make for a great read: a detailed medical drama, a decent mystery, and a Pacific Northwest setting (Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and Port Townsend, in particular). What is it that we readers so love about a book that explores a familiar region, whether it's one we've visited or in which we've resided? The familiarity? The desire for some armchair travel? While I love discovering new locations in the books I read, it is those that are familiar that make me happiest.
If it was terrible weather for sailing, it was perfect for crossing the sound. The sun was still low on the eastern horizon and every riffle of water flashed a silver-blue mirror. The triangle of Mount Baker pierced the northern haze and the snowy dome of Mount Rainier shouldered the south, like two great pillars holding sea and sky apart for life to play out between them. It made Charlotte feel insignificant and grand all the same time, so impermanent in the vast landscape that it was blindingly obvious the only way to matter at all was to cling to every moment even as you leaped into the next.and
The docking announcement sounded overhead and they walked back to the car; the hold was chilly and dark and Charlotte turned the heated seat on until they were out on the road and back in the sun. They drove across Bainbridge Island and the small Agate Pass Bridge, which connected it to the peninsula, then half an hour later crossed the massive Hood Canal Bridge, hinged in the middle for the passage of nuclear submarines heading from the Bangor submarine base. The land in this corner of the country was splattered in channels and islands like a messy afterthought or creation. Charlotte had lived in the Northwest all her life and couldn't memorize the puzzle of earth and ocean, only the names of the few towns and beaches that attracted summer tourists and their money. She and Eric should have taken some weekends here, gone hiking or to one of the lodges on the coast. There just never seemed to be enough time. Here and there a finger of tribal land touched the highway, marked by fireworks stands and pickup trucks advertising fresh-caught salmon and fresh-dug clams. Deeper into the peninsula the air was ripe and the stench and dairy cows and horses where massive barns loomed over modest homes. Then the clutter of the town began, sparse at first-- a nest of abandoned cars, a small grocery , a bar, a hamburger stand.
I loved this novel just as much as Oxygen, which also grabbed me from the opening pages. I was able to figure out part of the mystery early on, but it wasn't until I almost finished that I learned the reason for Renee's hospitalization. It took me three weeks to read the book, but through no fault of the author. I was simply too distracted with the election and work to concentrate on much of anything. (Yes, this is a long overdue review!) I'm looking forward to reading Healer and anything else Cassella writes.
About the Author:
Carol Cassella, M.D., is a practicing anesthesiologist, novelist, and speaker. She majored in English literature at Duke University and attended Baylor College of Medicine. She is the bestselling author of the novels Oxygen and Healer. Carol lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with her husband and two sets of twins. Visit the author at CarolCassella.com.
Click here to read my review for Oxygen.