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Healer

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Overview

From national bestselling author Carol Cassella comes the story of one doctor’s struggle to hold her family together through a storm of broken trust and questioned ethics.

Claire is at the start of her medical career when she falls in love with Addison Boehning, a biochemist with blazing genius and big dreams. A complicated pregnancy deflects Claire’s professional path, and she is forced to drop out of her residency. Soon thereafter Addison invents a simple blood test for ...

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Healer: A Novel

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Overview

From national bestselling author Carol Cassella comes the story of one doctor’s struggle to hold her family together through a storm of broken trust and questioned ethics.

Claire is at the start of her medical career when she falls in love with Addison Boehning, a biochemist with blazing genius and big dreams. A complicated pregnancy deflects Claire’s professional path, and she is forced to drop out of her residency. Soon thereafter Addison invents a simple blood test for ovarian cancer, and his biotech start-up lands a fortune. Overnight the Boehnings are catapulted into a financial and social tier they had never anticipated or sought: they move into a gracious Seattle home and buy an old ranch in the high desert mountains of eastern Washington, and Claire drifts away from medicine to become a full-time wife and mother.

Then Addison gambles everything on a cutting-edge cancer drug, and when the studies go awry, their comfortable life is swept away. Claire and her daughter, Jory, move to a dilapidated ranch house in rural Hallum, where Claire has to find a job until Addison can salvage his discredited lab. Her only offer for employment comes from a struggling public health clinic, but Claire gets more than a second chance at medicine when she meets Miguela, a bright Nicaraguan immigrant and orphan of the contra war who has come to the United States on a secret quest to find the family she has lost. As their friendship develops, a new mystery unfolds that threatens to destroy Claire’s family and forces her to question what it truly means to heal.

Healer
exposes the vulnerabilities of the American family, provoking questions of choice versus fate, desire versus need, and the duplicitous power of money.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It’s tough to follow a spectacular debut like Oxygen, Carol Cassella’s striking first novel, with an even stronger second novel, but she’s done it with Healer. There are no blatant good guys and bad guys in Healer, no simple blacks and whites. Cassella’s characters come in myriad shades of gray that make up the complex psyche of all human beings. And when money competes with good intentions, Cassella doesn’t shy away from negotiating the murky ethical areas where profit and altruism collide, weaving questions of immigration, health care, and the power of big pharma into a page turning drama. I highly recommend this compelling new book by this remarkable author.”
—Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
Publishers Weekly
Claire Boehning faces a bleak future when her privileged life ends abruptly in Cassella's second novel (after Oxygen). Addison, her biochemist husband, created a lucrative drug that secured the family's fortunes, but when tests on a new drug go awry and Addison's backing disappears, he loses everything. After the couple is forced to move from Seattle with daughter Jory, 14, to live in a rural, ramshackle house originally bought as a fixer-upper project when money was not an issue, Addison travels in search of new investors. Claire, meanwhile, searches for a position as a doctor, a profession she left after Jory's birth. But with her lack of experience and board certification, she finds few opportunities until she lands a job at a nonprofit clinic that serves poor, uninsured migrant workers. There Claire meets Miguela Ruiz, a Nicaraguan native with a mysterious background, and as the Boehnings struggle to reclaim some piece of their past life, Ruiz affects them in unexpected ways. Cassella (a real-life doctor) takes a hard look at a faulty health-care system to illustrate the power of money and class in this timely and multifaceted novel. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews

Her marriage tested by financial ruin, Claire returns to work and struggles with her family, in a downbeat domestic story drained by its preoccupied heroine.

Anesthesiologist Cassella's second novel (Oxygen, 2008), again with a medical theme, traces a wife and mother's efforts to hold on to her core attachments while her material world collapses. Claire Boehning's clever biopharm-researcher husband Addison made a fortune in cancer diagnosis but has secretly lost it again trying to float an anti-cancer drug. When the truth emerges, Claire must abandon her enviable Seattle house and lifestyle and relocate, with her spoiled, sulky teenage daughter Jory, to their second home in the country. Fourteen years ago Claire was a doctor, although she never achieved board certification because of Jory's premature birth. Now she's hired by Dan Zelaya, who runs a clinic treating poor locals and immigrant workers from nearby fruit farms. Grappling with fear, newfound poverty and anger at home, Claire is pulled into the lives of her patients, which are full of greater grief and difficulty. Worthy though Cassella's themes may be, Claire is often gloomy company. Plot developments are few and generally clearly signposted, although the big question, concerning Claire's marriage, does hold interest to the final page.

This tale of middle-class hardship touches buttons yet rarely plumbs real emotional depths.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416556145
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 417,147
  • Product dimensions: 8.16 (w) x 5.54 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Wiley Cassella

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Wow! How appropiate for the current times!

    Wow! This book just jumped right into the messed up world of Claire and her family. This book is definitely a current book showing how people who had it all basically lost it all and all of the trials and heartaches that go along with losing everything. How relationships are changed and how new ones begin. I couldn't put the book down. I already have friends that I am recommending this book to.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2014

    I have read all three of her books. So when are they going to ma

    I have read all three of her books. So when are they going to make a movie from these. They are all great with mystery, surprise, relationships, love. Just can't put them down. Keep writing and we'll keep reading!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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