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Gemini: A Novel

Gemini: A Novel

3.9 10
by Carol Cassella

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A captivating medical mystery wrapped in a contemporary love story—from a practicing MD whose novels are “just what the doctor ordered” (People).

A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. What if you had the power to decide if she lives or dies?

Dr. Charlotte Reese works in the intensive care unit of Seattle’s Beacon


A captivating medical mystery wrapped in a contemporary love story—from a practicing MD whose novels are “just what the doctor ordered” (People).

A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. What if you had the power to decide if she lives or dies?

Dr. Charlotte Reese works in the intensive care unit of Seattle’s Beacon Hospital, tending to patients with the most life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Her job is to battle death—to monitor erratic heartbeats, worry over low oxygen levels, defend against infection and demise.

One night a Jane Doe is transferred to her care from a rural hospital on the Olympic Peninsula. This unidentified patient remains unconscious, the victim of a hit and run. As Charlotte and her team struggle to stabilize her, the police search for the driver who fled the scene.

Days pass, Jane’s condition worsens, and her identity remains a mystery. As Charlotte finds herself making increasingly complicated medical decisions that will tie her forever to Jane’s fate, her usual professional distance evaporates. She’s plagued by questions: Who is Jane Doe? Why will no one claim her? Who should decide her fate if she doesn’t regain consciousness—and when?

Perhaps most troubling, Charlotte wonders if a life locked in a coma is a life worth living.

Enlisting the help of her boyfriend, Eric, a science journalist, Charlotte impulsively sets out to uncover Jane Doe’s past. But the closer they get to the truth, the more their relationship is 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, and prepare themselves for a miracle.

Filled with intricate medical detail and set in the breathtaking Pacific Northwest, Gemini is a riveting and heartbreaking novel of moral com­plexity and emotional depth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Love must endure both distance and death in the third novel from the author of Oxygen and Healer. An intensive-care doctor in Seattle grappling with her stagnant relationship and ticking biological clock, Charlotte Reese becomes engrossed in the case of a Jane Doe delivered to her hospital comatose after a highway hit-and-run. After no one comes to the hospital looking for the new patient, Charlotte take a special interest in the case, and with the help of her boyfriend, Eric Bryson, begins to dig into Jane Doe’s past. What she comes up with forces her to confront decisions both professional and personal. In chapters that alternate with those telling Charlotte’s story, readers learn about Jane Doe, who is a tough-talking farm girl named Raney, and her first love. In Cassella’s medical-drama-meets-love-story, the inevitability of death is paramount: Charlotte sees her job as “an interminable battle against the will of the universe,” Raney’s eccentric survivalist grandfather builds a bunker to prepare for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), and time is shown as “a grinding mudslide, shoving everything and everyone onward.” A book at turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, it invites us to accept, if nothing else, that the only way to live is to “cling to every moment even as you into the next.” Agent: David Forrer and Kimberly Witherspoon, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
“A compelling look at the collision of a physician’s professional and personal lives…A uniquely involving read.”
Jonathan Evison
“With big themes, an unforgettable setting, high stakes, mystery, suspense, heartbreak, human triumph, and rare insight, Gemini surprises and fascinates at every turn. Nobody writes about the miracle of the human organism like Carol Cassella. Gemini is a novel sure to keep readers flipping pages deep into the night.”
Maria Semple
“Once again, Carol Cassella has written a novel full of gorgeously rendered characters, fascinating medical detail and tour de force plot twists. From its gripping first pages straight through to its stunning conclusion, Gemini is an unforgettable novel—a morality tale, a mystery, and a love story that will leave readers breathless.”
Jan-Philipp Sendker
"Carol Cassella has written a wonderful novel. A deeply moving story about the heartbreaking pursuit of happiness by a courageous woman without means. Gemini is a page turner, I had a hard time putting down."
Kristin Hannah
"GEMINI is an engrossing, compelling page-turner of a novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. Carol Cassella's expertly crafted story about love, genetics, loss, and the search for identity will resonate deeply with readers."
Susan Wiggs
"Carol Cassella's novel taps into the very core of every person's hopes and dreams...and their fears. Her beautifully crafted story explores the unbearable fragility of the human body, and ultimately celebrates the sturdiness of the human spirit. This book is a triumph of literary mastery and emotional resonance."
Lee Woodruff
"A natural born story-teller, Cassella's vivid novel, beautifully set in the Pacific Northwest, creates a haunting backdrop for this spellbinding examination of how family, loss, genetics and ultimately the triumph of love can connect and confound us all."
Word Joy
“Whatever genre you want to assign it, the suspense works, the setting is starkly beautiful, and the characters give the reader a lot to think about.”
“Cleverly but incrementally, Cassella—a practicing physician as well as an author—puts together the pieces of Jane Doe’s mystery even as she ponders, through Charlotte, the Big Questions.”
“Cassella delivers a mind-bending, emotionally charged story featuring tough medical and end-of-life issues. The plot slowly builds as we learn the backstory of a critically injured patient and the dilemmas facing her doctor. Not your ordinary mystery, this is an unusual plot and a great, thought-provoking read.”
Bainbridge Review
“It is a gripping fictional narrative that will spark conversations about the very real moral dilemmas we face in this age of medical miracles.”
Seattle Times
“This is a riveting, suspenseful story, full of vivid characters and stirring reflections on medical and genetic issues…Cassella is a gifted writer, gorgeously animating her landscapes and the forces of nature, underlining her theme that even medicine cannot save her characters from mortality.”
From the Publisher
“Overall, Cassella has created a work of insightful characterizations, finely crafted language and socioeconomic contrasts that are detailed in almost Dickensian fashion.”
Bellingham Herald
“I think the alternating-points-of-view-chapters device has been overdone in some recent works of fiction, but Cassella gets it right. We read along, anticipating the solution of juicy mysteries and dilemmas, suspecting from the tone that not everyone can live happily ever after. I highly recommend it!”
Kirkus Reviews
In a new mystery from Cassella (Healer, 2010, etc.), the lives of a doctor and her critically injured patient intertwine in unexpected ways. When the unconscious patient is brought into Dr. Charlotte's intensive care unit, very few facts are known. The apparent victim of a hit-and-run along a rural Washington road, "Jane Doe" lapsed into a coma after emergency surgery and was airlifted to Charlotte's hospital in Seattle. No family member has come forward to identify or make decisions for this Jane, and the police have no clues. Meanwhile, other characters take up the narrative in alternating chapters. Raney tells the story of her teenage friendship in the small town of Quentin, Wash., with Bo, a rich Seattleite whose parents have offloaded him with an aunt while they divorce. Eric, Dr. Charlotte's new boyfriend, has, after a long apprenticeship, become a recognized author of upmarket science books; he's currently contracted to write about in vitro fertilization. The stories of the three narrators intersect, as do the issues Cassella starkly delineates: the impact of poverty and class on health care choices, particularly when children are involved. Raney has a young son, Jake, who may or may not be Eric's child, and Jake too suffers from a congenital neurological condition, in his case, undiagnosed and untreated. Despite the potential ruination of her own future with Eric, Dr. Charlotte embarks on a determined quest to solve the puzzle of how this Jane Doe found herself in her present condition. Readers may well overlook Cassella's frequently interjected bromides about love ("Is it a room inside your soul that opens when your lover enters?") since this engaging medical mystery makes far more compelling points about economics and sociology.
Library Journal
★ 02/01/2014
Intensive care doctor Charlotte Reese is on duty in Seattle's Beacon Hospital when a hit-and-run victim, a middle-aged woman, is delivered by helicopter from Olympia Island. Charlotte expertly assesses the unconscious woman's injuries, which include a very broken body and high probability of brain damage. After stabilizing the patient, Charlotte attempts to address the multiple injuries in an effort to keep this Jane Doe alive until either she can speak for herself or some next of kin appears to identify her. Meanwhile, in Charlotte's personal life, her boyfriend Eric, a science reporter, clearly adores Charlotte but inexplicably appears unable to take their relationship forward to commitment and parenthood. Alternating chapters chronicle Charlotte's life and the story of a country girl named Raney, who falls in love with a city boy named Bo. The book prompts many questions: Who is Jane Doe? Why has no one come forward to identify her? How long can Charlotte keep this patient alive before an appointed guardian decides that it would be in the woman's best interests to let her die? How do the stories of Charlotte and Raney intersect? VERDICT Informed by her work as a doctor, Casella's third medical novel (after Oxygen and Healer) poses interesting medical questions and offers deepening mysteries to keep the reader turning the pages. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/13.]—Sheila M. Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.70(d)


Meet the Author

Carol Cassella, MD, 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 Gemini, Oxygen, and Healer, published by Simon & Schuster. Carol lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with her husband and two sets of twins. Visit the author at CarolCassella.com.

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Gemini: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Camille20 More than 1 year ago
Carol's done it again. Her third published novel, Gemini, is an extraordinarily well-written story that gripped me when I was reading it and when I wasn't. I found myself thinking about the characters and their lives when I was lying in bed at night. The story ends perfectly--but I could have happily read more! Camille
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found this to be a very powerful story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book and although you knew the outcome the ending came to soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting plot, intriguing characters, and a wonderfully paced wtiting style. After reading HEALER and OXYGEN, GEMINI is icing on the cake.!!! ------- Leonard
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! The story is interesting, page-turning, and intelligently written. The chapters that drive the character development fall into perfect synch with the plot and why the now is the way it is. (Hopefully that makes sense. You must read to see how it plays out). An excellent novel if you're looking for depth, suspense, and learning a more about the medical profession and how some doctors view their patients. I will definitely read more from this author!
bettysunflower More than 1 year ago
Charlotte Reese is a doctor in Seattle Washington. She is from a family of Doctors and most of the people she interacts with are doctors. However, her boyfriend is a writer. She has never really had much time for a personal life away from medicine, but Eric pursued her over a period of time and was always very patient and allowed her the freedom to be a good doctor. The down side is that he seems satisfied with their lives the way they are and doesn't push for marriage and children. He seems so content. Charlotte has a new patient, one who appears to have been hit by a car. She had been found on the side of the road in very bad condition. She was able to talk prior to her leg surgery. However something happened during the surgery and she was unresponsive after the surgery. As Charlotte fights to save her life it becomes more apparent that 'Jane Doe' won't make it and if she does will she still be herself. This is a very well written book with fascinating characters. The story line has detours and winds through the lives of several of the characters. There are some medical terms and conditions that play major roles, but are easy enough for a layman to understand and follow along. It really is a fascinating book and one that I am very glad to recommend. *I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ABookishGirlBlog More than 1 year ago
I liked this one! What stood out especially to me is how the author weaved together the lives of all the characters, let me elaborate a little more; beginning chapters of the book the characters stories seem separate, first you have the Charlotte and "Jane Doe" story and then you have Raney and Bo's story, which eventually merge into one story and then it all makes a little more sense.  Though a little gloomy sometimes because of the subject line I found that for the most part the story line flowed well. I just found it extremely intriguing all the way up to the ending. I just had to know what would become of Charlotte, Eric, Raney, and Jake! Like I said the subject is a little gloomy, books written about depressive topics can be a little harder for me to get through and so that does affect my rating so make sure if you are in the mood for a medical mystery that you let your own opinion be your guide.