The Doctor and the Diva: A Novel

The Doctor and the Diva: A Novel

3.2 28
by Adrienne McDonnell
     
 

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A breathtaking novel of romantic obsession, longing and one woman's choice between motherhood and her operatic calling

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

Overview

A breathtaking novel of romantic obsession, longing and one woman's choice between motherhood and her operatic calling

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.

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.

Lush and stunningly realized, The Doctor and the Diva moves from snowy Boston to the jungles of Trinidad to the gilded balconies of Florence. This magnificent debut is a tale of passionate love affairs, dangerous decisions, and a woman's irreconcilable desires as she is forced to choose between the child she has always longed for and the opera career she cannot live without. Inspired by the author's family history, the novel is sensual, sexy, and heart-stopping in its bittersweet beauty.

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Editorial Reviews

Carolyn See
Some novels just naturally enslave you, and this is one of them…The effectiveness of the narrative comes from the novelist's striking skill. From the very first pages, we are utterly engaged in what's going to happen to these three people—they become as close to us as family friends. Each has legitimate ambitions and dreams; each is capable of acting with astonishing selfishness and self-interest.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In her book-club friendly debut, McDonnell weaves the intriguing tale of an early 20th-century opera singer torn between her career and motherhood. Erika von Kessler, a mezzo-soprano of some regard, and her husband, Peter Myrick, have been trying without success to conceive a child for all six years of their marriage. They seek out the expertise of Dr. Ravell, a Boston obstetrician renowned for his fertility successes. Ravell, mesmerized by Erika’s beauty and talent, vows to do anything to help the couple realize their dream of children, even if it means deceiving them, which, of course, it does. Meanwhile, Erika isn’t so sure about her desire for motherhood and secretly makes plans to leave her husband and pursue fame in Italy. McDonnell bases the story on her family history and expertly incorporates surprising facts about the history of fertility research into a twisting tale of miscommunication, love, and unrealized dreams. (July)
From the Publisher
“Some novels just naturally enslave you, and this is one of them. . . . Serious and gripping . . . [a] brilliant debut novel.”
The Washington Post

“Desire has a dangerous side, a fact this sumptuous novel delights in . . . [An] explosive tale. Read the book now, then place bets on when the movie version will come out.”
Redbook

“The tugs of work and family propel this engrossing tale.”
Good Housekeeping (Book Pick)

“This amazing debut novel . . . is, quite simply, one of the best novels I’ve read all year.”
The Historical Novels Review (Editor’s Choice)

The Doctor and the Diva is so beautifully written and lushly set it was impossible for me to put down, and the characters continue to haunt me long after I turned the last page.”
Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House

“An incredibly moving tale of passion, regret, and ultimate triumph. I loved it. Adrienne McDonnell has created some of the most memorable characters I’ve ever met. A superb achievement.”
Julie Garwood, bestselling author of Hotshot

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101190272
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/22/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
439,516
File size:
703 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Lauren Belfer
Filled with frank sexuality and astonishing emotional intimacy, The Doctor And The Diva pulls you in and doesn't let go. This haunting and heartbreaking novel flows seamlessly from the medical consulting rooms of Boston to the opera stages of Italy and to the lush plantations of the Caribbean, sweeping you into a riveting story of complex individuals struggling with multi-layered passions and unflagging dreams. (Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light and A Fierce Radiance)
Margot Livesey
Adrienne McDonnell has created a wonderful portrait of a talented and ambitious woman who also aspires to be a wife, a mother and a lover. From the moment we first meet Erika von Kessler, singing beside her uncle's grave, she casts a spell and one of the deep satisfactions of this richly imagined novel is that both her lover and her husband prove worthy of her. The Doctor And The Diva is an irresistible debut. (Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street)
Julie Garwood
The Doctor And The Diva is an incredibly moving tale of passion, regret, and ultimate triumph. I loved it. Adrienne McDonnell has created some of the most memorable characters I've ever met. A superb achievement. (Julie Garwood, bestselling author of Sizzle and Fire and Ice)
Andrea Barrett
Love, the longing for family, the demands of art—in Adrienne McDonnell's absorbing debut, the life of a tempestuous diva struggling to reconcile conflicting desires itself becomes a kind of opera. (Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and The Air We Breathe)
From the Publisher
“Some novels just naturally enslave you, and this is one of them. . . . Serious and gripping . . . [a] brilliant debut novel.”
The Washington Post

“Desire has a dangerous side, a fact this sumptuous novel delights in . . . [An] explosive tale. Read the book now, then place bets on when the movie version will come out.”
Redbook

“The tugs of work and family propel this engrossing tale.”
Good Housekeeping (Book Pick)

“This amazing debut novel . . . is, quite simply, one of the best novels I’ve read all year.”
The Historical Novels Review (Editor’s Choice)

The Doctor and the Diva is so beautifully written and lushly set it was impossible for me to put down, and the characters continue to haunt me long after I turned the last page.”
Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House

“An incredibly moving tale of passion, regret, and ultimate triumph. I loved it. Adrienne McDonnell has created some of the most memorable characters I’ve ever met. A superb achievement.”
Julie Garwood, bestselling author of Hotshot

Cathy Marie Buchanan
The Doctor And The Diva, based on old family letters, takes us on a fascinating journey into the hearts and minds of a woman and a man who commit the unthinkable. Brace yourself for the vortex of their deftly drawn lives. (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Day the Falls Stood Still)
Gail Godwin
Great storytelling and a very modern heroine—who just happens to be living in an era when women didn't dare admit to wanting it all, much less expect to get it. The Doctor And The Diva has the makings of a big success. (Gail Godwin, author of Unfinished Desires and A Mother and Two Daughters)
Anne Bernays
It's very refreshing to read a serious novel whose author had been anointed with the gift of genuine story-telling. Adrienne McDonnell's The Doctor And The Diva takes her readers into strange and forbidden places, exotic countries and, best of all, the territory of the heart at its most naked and terrifying. (Anne Bernays, author of Trophy House)
Jill McCorkle
I don't know when I have been so completely entranced and held spellbound by a novel. The Doctor And The Diva is a brilliant, beautifully written story about the passions—career, romance, parenthood—that both unite and destroy lives. McDonnell is a masterful storyteller and an astute historian. This is a major accomplishment and marks the debut of a tremendous talent. (Jill McCorkle, author of Going Away Shoes)
Sara Gruen
The Doctor And The Diva is so beautifully written and lushly set it was impossible for me to put down, and the characters continue to haunt me long after I turned the last page(Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants and the forthcoming Ape House)

Meet the Author

Adrienne McDonnell has taught literature and fiction writing at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives near San Francisco in a house overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

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The Doctor and the Diva 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great read - such an amazing story. It is so well written. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!!
StacieRosePittard More than 1 year ago
I expected a little more than I got from this book. Overall the story was decent if you're looking for a good drama. The love triangles and turn of events were extremely unique, though I felt the story get a little slow in some areas. I was looking forward to learning more about the history of obstetrics. The original description of the novel made it seem like that would be the main focus of the story. Instead there was only a little bit of obstetric history, and a great deal more about the "diva's" story (which was less interesting in my opinion). Regardless of whether or not you finish the book once you start, my advice is to at least read the historical note in the back. Those last couple of pages were the most interesting, even if they were not part of the story. Overall, I'm not sorry I read the book. I did enjoy the time I spent with it, even if it wasn't what I expected.
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Redmary More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story, but didn't like the ending. I am glad I read it, but the end fizzled for me. Check it out, maybe it was just me!
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Margaret Jessop More than 1 year ago
Such a beautiful book. Just sucks you in.
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BJJNY More than 1 year ago
The author has done extensive research on the places, era and characters in this fascinating tale of her first husband's ancestors. The doctor is renowned for his successful fertility treatments. Determined that they will have a family, the diva's husband seeks the doctors help when it becomes evident that there is a problem.Unforeseen events unfold as a result.Shocking decisions are made. The reader is taken on an emotional and an actual journey as the characters pursue their desires from Boston to Trinidad, Florence and Egypt. This is an engrossing read. Highly recommended for book clubs.
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NYLiz More than 1 year ago
This book was a great read! From the very beginning, it pulled you in with a mouth dropping scandal that I shouted out loud as I read it, "OH MY GOD". The Doctor & the Diva is everything it promises to be, and when you learn of the research that went into it, it pulls you in even more. The two things that would have made me give a better rating: -Spicier love scenes. I felt this was a romantic tale, and I wanted to be drawn in more to the fantasy aspect of it. -At times I felt there were filler scenes that were not necessary, and it dragged on a little. Over all, it was a great debut book!
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