It is hard to classify Carol Cassella’s third novel, Gemini. It is a mystery, a love story, and a human drama centered around a severely injured “Jane Doe” in a Seattle hospital ICU. Strongly influenced by the setting in Seattle and the isolated villages of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, it is a compelling look at the collision of a physician’s personal and professional life.
Charlotte Reese is a young doctor who is on duty when the unconscious and unidentified mystery patient is transferred to the hospital from a smaller facility on the Peninsula. The search is on for her identity and the mystery grows deeper as no one claims her and no one seems to even be looking for the missing woman, who was probably the victim of a hit and run driver.
As the patient’s condition worsens, Charlotte is forced to make difficult decisions regarding her care, and she struggles to maintain her professional distance. If “Jane” doesn’t awaken from her coma, is hers a life worth fighting to preserve? Why is it that no one is looking for her?
Charlotte gets more deeply involved in trying to discover the mystery woman’s identity as the police investigation seems to be at a dead end, and she enlists the help of her boyfriend, Eric, a science journalist.
The reader is drawn in by the complicated relationship between Charlotte and Eric, the medical detail and moral complexities regarding life and death, the mystery of the patient’s identity, and the search for her story, which led up to the present situation.
Chapters alternate between Charlotte’s life and work and the story of Raney, a young girl growing up in a village on the peninsula, who we come to learn is the person lying in the hospital.
As details begin to emerge about who Jane Doe might be, everything becomes even more complicated. Eventually, the author reveals more connections between the two women’s lives and the reader is continually surprised by twists in the plot.
It’s a well written, interesting story with enough detail and mystery to make it hard to put down. One of my favorite reads in recent months, I am happy to recommend Gemini. Cassella’s earlier novels are Oxygen and Healer. Besides being a writer and speaker, she is a practicing anesthesiologist and mother to two sets of twins! She lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Kathleen Pohlig is owner of Cherry Street Books in Alexandria.
The Compound Effect
by Darren Hardy
After reading many non-fiction books that are directly applicable to improving my work and personal life, I finally came across one that had many great ideas, most of which are simple to incorporate into my life.
The first step is taking personal responsibility, making good choices and working diligently toward whatever we have on our goal list. Hardy states, “We all come into this world the same: naked, scared, and ignorant. After that grand entrance, the life we end up with is simply an accumulation of all our choices we make.”
Hardy’s book gives practical suggestions for becoming the best we can be and tips for improving relationships in our lives.
I’m completely convinced that this book will have a positive impact on your life. It’s a quick read loaded with practical tips that will encourage you to get started in following the path toward a more satisfying existence.
Del Mari Runck of Alexandria is the president/CEO of Neighborhood National Bank. Reading has been a lifelong passion.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
…is a sweeping piece of Biblical fiction told in the voice of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. The red tent is where women gathered during birthing, menses and illness.
The book gives voice to the sorority of women who are Jacob’s wives – Rachel, Leah, Zilpah and Bilhah. We learn of birthing miracles, slaves, artisans, household gods, and sisterhood secrets. Dinah delves into her own saga of betrayals, grief and a call to midwifery.
“…my mother and aunties spun a sticky web of loyalties and grudges,” Diamant writes as Dinah. “They traded secrets like bracelets, and these were handed down to me…. They told me things I was too young to hear…and made me swear to remember.”
I’m certainly not a Biblical scholar, but I enjoyed getting the voice of the feminine…the ficitonalized Biblical slant as told by God’s daughters instead of sons.
I would recommend this to any reader who is open to simply “considering.”
Ann Hermes of Alexandria is a “life-long learner and questioner.”
The Yard by Alex Grecian
In 1890 London, Jack the Ripper has finally stopped killing. Walter Day is a new detective with the Scotland Yard Murder Squad and is alienated for his status. But when men on the Murder Squad become targets of a new killer, they must put aside prejudice to catch him before they are picked off one by one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The author really did his research to make it feel authentic. It bleeds the nitty-gritty of the Victorian London scene. Glimpses into the killer’s head amp up suspense, and as I invested in each detective’s story, I held my breath as they unknowingly walked side-by-side with mortal danger.
I was also completely satisfied with the ending. All plot points, though not tied neatly with a bow, were brought to a fulfilling close. A great read!
Jessica Sly is a resident of Alexandria, going on two years, and works in the Echo Press editorial department.