Thanks to my lovely friend Michelle for this book, The Doctor’s Wife by Elizabeth Brundage. It was a gift from her many moons ago, and I have finally read it! She gave it to me, ostensibly, because I will someday (hopefully) be a doctor’s wife myself (wink, wink Jonathan). Although this book does not make that prospect sound all that appealing.
So let’s see…
Michael Knowles is a young OB/GYN who has just moved from the city into small-town New York. He is married to Annie, a journalist who currently teaches at the local all-female university. Michael’s former med-school fling entices him into working at her abortion clinic in what little spare time he has. Annie approves at first; she has always been supportive of a woman’s right to choose. But Michael begins having cars follow him home, threatening phone calls, and threats against his family. And he is never home. So Annie begins a frenzied affair with another teacher at her school, infamous art-professor Simon Haas. Haas himself is married, to his “muse” Lydia, who is the focus of all his famous works, despite the fact that he fears and despises her. Lydia is a childish, Bible-thumping, disturbed woman who both hates and needs her unfaithful husband.
Lydia is the true pull of this story, every other character pales in comparison. She is so immature, so twisted, so wrong all the time! As she becomes more and more righteous, and more and more suspicious of her husband, you know that she is going to destroy someone’s life, if not everyone’s life, and oh my goodness this lady needs to take her meds!!!
While Lydia is such a great character, Annie falls a bit flat. You feel for her because her husband is super busy, but she goes about dealing with it in a completely wrong way. And then she just comes across as obnoxious.
The Doctor’s Wife is well-paced and suspenseful. However, the dialog was sometimes ridiculous. And I felt the book was preachy, specifically about abortion, despite the fact that I overall agreed with her point of view. Finally, she portrays her minor characters as either all bad or all good, and I often find the success of a novel is in those types of details. This is a decent psychological thriller, but I wish the characters, other than Lydia, were a little more rounded out.