Carol Cassella is a practicing anesthesiologist in Seattle; this is her first novel. She chose to write it in first person, and the main character is indeed a female anesthesiologist, practicing in Seattle. Of course, the hospital and the doctor’s high rise are both fictional, but she has done a splendid job of providing plenty of local color to delight us natives, and showcase the region for everyone else.
The story is pretty formulaic: experienced anesthesiologist loses patient (a child, no less) with a few unexplained medical details, goes through severe emotional and professional remorse, and ends up discovering a completely unexpected explanation at the end. In keeping with the formula, the characters are pretty basic and believable, and most of the lawyers are pretty slimy.
The main point that retained my interest was the completeness of the medical details. Even though this is by no means a thriller, the author does educate the reader about the relevant details of her chosen medical specialty, which I found absolutely fascinating. The sections dealing with the main character’s guilt and personal issues were tedious for me, but once the focus switched back to the medicine, I was re-hooked.
This is not a challenging read at all; it is perfect for a day or two of lightweight escape. It is not a romance, but it certainly fits my personal definition of “chick lit.”
Rated: Moderate. There are two occasions of strong language in the latter third of the text, and a surprisingly high number (38) of inappropriate uses for various terms related to Deity, especially considering total page count. Another 20 mildly profane terms are scattered throughout the book. The sections dealing with sexual matters are very short and non-graphic.