My sister Adrienne McDonnell has written a novel called The Doctor and the Diva which will be released in the next few weeks (July 22). She teaches Creative Writing at UC Berkeley and knows her craft. Surprisingly this is her first published novel. Apparently someone believes in her novel as it garnered a significant advance - roughly 100 times my book.

The following review was passed on to me and I will pass it on verbatim. Feel free to pass this on to your friends.

This review was written for "LibraryThing Early Reviewers, ( a literary book group!). The unidentified member confided:

"I was lucky enough to receive "The Doctor and The Diva" via the "Early Reviewers" program. It's an extraordinary book! If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. It's THAT good. Stunning to realize it's a debut novel, which, sadly, means there won't be another new novel from Adrienne McDonnell for a while.

"Back to D&D, though (as I've affectionately started to call it): While taking place in 1905-1914, its storyline is one that could easily revolve around women today thinking about, or actually balancing, careers with motherhood …and Erika's struggles to decide her future at each crossroads in her life certainly rang true and authentic to me (being a similar age, in a similar situation, with similar thoughts and feelings). This is a serious, mature read for mature adults, no doubt about it.

"Yet, it is not a cliche novel in any way - in fact, McDonnell has penned a novel that is rich in settings, characters, and stories that guarantee its uniqueness, perhaps therefore allowing the normal human-ness of the characters to shine through. Each character, however minor (especially Quentin - wow, that kid is a gem!!), comes alive in his or her own time (immediately prior to WW1) and place (Boston, Trinidad, Florence - this is one atmospherically lush read!!!). The character and story development never feels rushed or short-changed. I never got the feeling that there was a story or piece being missed, either - one that would have made this book any better. It was just perfect the way it was. Heart wrenching on so many levels, heartwarming on others, and the novel goes back and forth between these emotions effortlessly.

"In the end, the story feels, for lack of a better word, solid -extraordinarily solid - in its construction. The characters of Ravell, Erika, and Peter are written with such depth and perspective that I could really understand why they made the decisions they did (especially Ravell's decisions while Erika was his patient..one major one, in particular) and not judge them, but just be interested in them, and fascinated/awed by them. It's ultimately a story about fallible human beings trying to be true to themselves, and as fair as they can to those around them.

"Loved loved loved the ending!! (though it came way too soon - this novel is 432 pages (verrrry sumptuous to hold!), I read it in 2 sittings - couldn't put it down!)

"One quip - the title of this novel does not do this novel justice..it's about so much more than the doctor and the diva."  | May 14, 2010 |


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