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Many thanks to author Carol Cassella for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review. At the bottom of the page there will be a link to a Q&A I did with the author–enjoy!
An unidentified woman is hit by a car and abandoned along a rural highway in western Washington. She is life-flighted to a Seattle trauma center, where she’s admitted to the intensive care unit overseen by Dr. Charlotte Reese, who battles to keep her “Jane Doe” patient alive while a police investigation tries to discover who is responsible for this hit and run—a charge that could turn into murder if this gravely injured woman dies. Charlotte also senses a more covert battle brewing with the hospital’s legal department when they assign a professional guardian to stand in lieu of Jane’s unknown family and make critical decisions about her care. In frustration, Charlotte and her boyfriend Eric, a science journalist, begin their own efforts to find Jane’s family, veering across the professional boundary between physician and patient. As their lives become more entangled, the truths Charlotte learns will radically alter her own life more profoundly than they alter her patient’s.
This book made my heart ache with sorrow and joy so much, that I had to put it down at times to let my feelings ebb away, in order to absorb what was happening next. Cassella strikes a chord as she writes about young love, loss, and coming to terms that your life could be so much more, but isn’t. The separate plot of Raney and Bo, who meet as children and move in and out of each other’s lives, is told as flashbacks, interspersed with the present tale of the nurse Charlotte as she navigates her relationship with Eric while she is trying to find out the identity of Jane Doe. Eric has a health issue that prevents him from being able to commit fully to Charlotte, and she is becoming discouraged. As she learns more about Jane and who she is, she becomes forced to make decisions that will affect the rest of her life, while putting Eric at a crossroads he never wanted to reach. Cassella’s writing allowed me to empathize with Charlotte, and captured the stress and wariness of both partners as they face things that could tear them apart.
However, the story of Raney, a young artist from the poor side of Quentin, Washington, and Bo, who spends a few summers in Quentin with his aunt, is where the story really shines. They grow older and develop feelings for each other that never really fade away, no matter how many times life causes them to part. Each emotion is told with heartbreaking texture, first from Raney’s perspective, then from Bo’s. Life gets in their way, as Raney must care for her ailing grandfather while Bo, from a well to do family, attends college and travels the world.
Each of the four characters must make sacrifices and learn how to make the best out of every situation. Raney, by far, is the one that shines brightly throughout, as a girl who guards her heart and nurtures her feelings for Bo over the years. I was overcome with emotion time and time again, turning pages as quickly as I could to see what would happen to Raney next. I was affected by her story so much I still think about her to this day and feel as if I could cry. Not many fictional characters get under my skin, but Raney did.
Cassella is adroit at mixing medical situations with real life problems, and the story comes to a resolution that is plausible and bittersweet. If you can get to the last page and not be affected, perhaps you had better check to see if your heart still beats within you. These characters will stay with you for a long time. GEMINI is a must read. You can pick up your copy [easyazon_link asin=”1451627939″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”gimmethatbook-20″ add_to_cart=”yes” cloaking=”default” localization=”yes” popups=”yes”]here[/easyazon_link].
Click here to be taken to the page with the EXCLUSIVE interview I did with Carol!