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.”
“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.”
“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.”
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
“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.”
“It is a gripping fictional narrative that will spark conversations about the very real moral dilemmas we face in this age of medical miracles.”
“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.”
“Overall, Cassella has created a work of insightful characterizations, finely crafted language and socioeconomic contrasts that are detailed in almost Dickensian fashion.”
“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!”
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.
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