Top positive review
on July 21, 2001
Couldn't put this book down. Ian has to be one of my all-time favorite romantic characters: Tortured, flawed, alternatingly obsessive and despairing/hopeful and ardent - the only aspect of his character which I found disappointing was that he was likened to a blond Adonis (he should have been as dark and mysterious, like his tortured soul!)
Ian, a once successful doctor, developed a sort of "sixth sense" after an accident, which caused him to experience often upsetting visual images when touching his patients. Unable to cope with this so-called "gift," coupled with the fact that he is labeled a "mad doctor" and shunned by the community, he shuts himself away in Lethe, a sort of mini-mental institution, his mother being among the residents. Here Ian closes himself off physically and emotionally...until the day Selena, a "Jane Doe" nearly dead from an unsuccessful suicide attempt, is brought to his door. Selena first revives Ian's passion for medicine, then his ability to feel and to love.
I was disappointed that Ian never got any words/images when touching Selena which would have revealed something of her past life - didn't feel it was satisfactorily explained as to why he didn't. I also would have liked to have seen some sort of happiness or peace for Johann in the end.
Though peripheral characters sometimes clutter a story, I found the residents of Lethe intriguing.
The whole Shaker Bretheren bit with Elliot was rather anticlimatic - and I felt that Ian and Selena fell into bed with one another a little too easily. Overall, though, I found myself struggling to put the book down.