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The Doctor's Wife [Paperback]

Elizabeth Brundage
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 29 2005

“The memory starts here, in my apron pocket, with the gun.”
So begins The Doctor’s Wife, a stunning debut novel about four people and the cataclysmic intersection of their lives.  Michael is a rising OB/GYN at a prominent private practice in Albany, New York; he also moonlights at a local women’s health clinic.  But Annie, his wife, has become tired of her workaholic husband’s absences, and the soccer-mom lifestyle has worn thin. She begins a passionate love affair with bad-boy, fading celebrity painter Simon Haas—an affair that quickly goes awry when Simon’s wife Lydia, who is also the model upon whom he built his career, discovers the truth.  

Abortion, local evangelism, marital disenchantment, and the rifts of social class:  Brundage takes on the fault lines of our era with a deft hand.   

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Set against the backdrop of the battle for abortion rights, this timely but stilted debut thriller features a perfect yuppie couple. Michael Knowles is a successful OB-GYN and his wife, Annie, is a popular journalism professor; they have two precious kids and a big, airy home in upstate New York. But once Michael accepts a position at the only abortion clinic in town, the already heavy strain that his doctor's schedule puts on their marriage sends Annie into the arms of a colleague, notorious painter Simon Haas. Meanwhile, Michael receives increasingly hostile threats from creepy antiabortion activists, suggesting that one, or both, of the Knowles are targets of a vicious terror campaign. The painter's childlike young wife, Lydia, as a menacing, tormented Bible-thumper scarred by a harsh, loveless upbringing, is the enigma that fuels Brundage's examination of what happens when we are drawn to the very things that promise to destroy us. But the lessons here are heavy-handed and the characterizations mechanical. The bad guys wear mirrored sunglasses as they force Michael off the road; the good guys wear jackets emblazoned with angel's wings; and the dialogue is delivered in short sound bites scripted for a TV cliffhanger. The Knowles' storybook marriage takes a number of dark, twisted turns, but the lack of character nuance and depth blunt Brundage's stab at psychological suspense.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The prologue to this compelling novel consists of the murder confession of an obviously unhinged person. So, from the first sentence, readers are hooked--and stay hooked till the end. The plot centers on two marriages and the flaws within them that lead to disaster. Michael and Annie Knowles have a seemingly perfect marriage; Simon and Lydia Hass quite obviously do not. When Michael, an obstetrician, agrees to do abortions part-time at a free clinic in Albany, New York, he starts a chain of events that shatters both couples' lives. The complex, cleverly constructed narrative provides a slow unfolding of the intricate relationships among the characters. Third-person narration, rotating point of view, and skillful use of flashback gradually construct the anatomy of a catastrophe and provide suspense, momentum, and believable characters. This page-turner will appeal to a broad readership and will do well in public libraries with audiences as diverse as Ruth Rendell fans, lovers of Rosellen Brown's Before and After (1992), and those who could not put down Stephen King's Delores Claibourne (1992). Ellen Loughran
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Sometime after midnight Michael Knowles wakes to the sound of his beeper and picks up the phone. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and important! July 17 2004
This page turner is not only exciting and well constructed, it contains some of the most beautifully written passages and descriptions I have ever read. I could not put this book down. The plot and character development are incredibly detailed and interesting. But most importantly the book touches on the rights and freedom of women in this country and, in our current politial climate, Brundage, without preaching to us, makes an impressive attempt to show us how precarious these rights are and easily they can be taken away. Anyone who has a daughter, is a daugher or knows someone's daughter should read this book
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The cover is the best part of this "B" novel ** Sept. 25 2011
I consider myself an avid reader and often make my decisions about purchasing a book based on reader review ratings. Though I did not read the reviews but accepted the **** rating to recommend the purchase of this book. This was a big mistake.

I found the story line disjointed, rambling, and opaque in developing the main characters, none of whom seemed to have any depth. The affair between the doctor's wife, Annie and the painter, Simon, which took up most of the book, read like a formula romance novel. The overly descriptive text had me skipping pages.

The only interesting feature of the book for me was the brief spotlight it cast on the never ending moral issue of abortion. The nameless characters we meet in the clinic had their abrupt life stories left untold. They seemed to me to be more real than Dr. Michael, his wife Annie and her lover artist, Simon.

Although Simon's mentally ill wife Lydia, is certainly over the top, she was the glue that held this novel together. So much so that the title would have been more honest as The Artist's Wife. She is afterall on the cover page in her father's house where presumably the story begins.

My recommendation to anyone interested in this book is to head for the local library and save your money. A. MacLean
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps I'm in danger of becoming one of those cynical single urbanites, but whenever I pick up a novel that starts out with a seemingly perfect couple and their seemingly perfect children, living in a seemingly perfect neighborhood, I want to rub my hands together with glee. You just KNOW it's all going downhill from there. But even this cynical urbanite was surprised by the depths to which Elizabeth Brundage will go with her characters. And THE DOCTOR'S WIFE is all the better for it. Note here: if your book club has gotten too genteel lately and is in need of a good cage-rattling, this is just the novel to do it.
THE DOCTOR'S WIFE is set in upstate New York --- civil, picturesque, well-mannered upstate New York --- and centers on Michael and Annie Knowles, the kind of couple that sits around listening to NPR's soothing, well-modulated liberal voices on Sunday mornings while doing the crossword in the Times; the smell of their toasted designer bagels mingling with the scent of their designer coffee, while their perfect children in Gap chic are playing nearby before rushing off to soccer and other mainstays of suburban life. Michael is a young, extremely busy and successful OB/GYN at a prominent hospital; Annie is a Miss Porter's School-educated college professor who teaches creative writing (naturally). But wait --- is that a rat we smell amidst the Starbucks?
Annie is growing bored being "the doctor's wife," particularly since the Good Doctor is never around. It appears that Doc's bell is being rung these days by Celina James, an old flame who appeals to much more than Michael's libido --- she has a good-sized socio-political agenda wrapped up in the shape of her Women's Health Clinic, the town's only provider of abortions.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story! July 9 2004
This is a story about marital infidelity and mental psychosis. That sounds pretty heavy for a good book, but it works. The book centers around two married couples: Simon and Lydia Haas and Michael and Annie Knowles. Their lives intertwine in a shocking and fascinating way. The climax of the book was satisfying and exciting. I kind of stumbled upon this book at the library one day and thought I'd try it. I'm glad I did.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars page turner June 26 2004
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Sensitive Book to Savor June 30 2004
By A Customer
A recently published review of this book calls it wooden.
I strongly take issue with the critic and wonder if in fact
he/she read it in its entirety, as it is anything but...
I consider myself a serious reader, preferring to read for
language rather than content. I found this book to be
extremely well crafted, tightly edited, with a strong involving
plot line, nuanced character development, and an imaginative structure
that is neither confusing nor obtuse.
The lovely, occasionally harsh, readily poignant use of language,
informs the complexities of the characters
making them not so dark as much as human,
drenching them in a full range of sincere humanity and all its
Whether on the beach this summer or sitting reflectively
with a pencil underscoring the delicious use of language,
I heartily recommend The Doctor's Wife.
This is an extremely impressive debut novel which
I intend to savor with a second read.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor's Wife
If you love, suspense, mystery, and tretchery this is the book for you. It is a page turner all the way through. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Denise Senécal
4.0 out of 5 stars Scary thriller
This novel is a good read. It is a real mystery, and the story unfolds as it should. Gives the reader a real insight into the dangers faced by doctors who perform abortions.
Published 14 months ago by Dorothy Morgan Matula
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner
Loved every minute of this book. Not a difficult read, however this is a dark, suspenseful page turner. A wonderfully unexpected surprise.
Published 15 months ago by T. Blackwell
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Dark
This was an extremely dark read. I didn't enjoy it and about halfway through stopped reading. I had no desire to continue. It's a DNF for me. Read more
Published 17 months ago by A Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Doctor's wife
Good story line , enjoyed the book a little different. Passed it on to a friend. If you like light reading but still good plot this one will do.
Published 18 months ago by J. Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book!
THE DOCTORS WIFE. Enjoyed the read, kept me interested! Would recommend it to those enjoying fiction and an easy read!
Published 18 months ago by Ingrid Pokrass
5.0 out of 5 stars very good reading
excellent book for reading.......keeps ones attention all the time and makes you want to keep on reading after every
Published 20 months ago by paramedic
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, solid story
The plot of this story kept me reading. I can't say I loved the book but I did enjoy it, although I may have expected a bit more.
Published 20 months ago by N. Rea
5.0 out of 5 stars Twists and Turns
Really loved this book....but stay with it because it flips all over the place; past/present and back to past again. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Veronica Hylands
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, great condition.
This book was really good, some disturbing content, but it was really well written. The condition was excellent! Would recommend is to both guys and girls.
Published on April 4 2012 by barney
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