Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gemini by Carol Cassella (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

About the book:
A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. What if you had the power to decide if she lives or dies? Dr. Charlotte Reese works in the intensive care unit of Seattle’s Beacon Hospital, tending to patients with the most life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Her job is to battle death—to monitor erratic heartbeats, worry over low oxygen levels, defend against infection and demise.

One night a Jane Doe is transferred to her care from a rural hospital on the Olympic Peninsula. This unidentified patient remains unconscious, the victim of a hit and run. As Charlotte and her team struggle to stabilize her, the police search for the driver who fled the scene.

Days pass, Jane’s condition worsens, and her identity remains a mystery. As Charlotte finds herself making increasingly complicated medical decisions that will tie her forever to Jane’s fate, her usual professional distance evaporates. She’s plagued by questions: Who is Jane Doe? Why will no one claim her? Who should decide her fate if she doesn’t regain consciousness—and when?

Perhaps most troubling, Charlotte wonders if a life locked in a coma is a life worth living.

Enlisting the help of her boyfriend, Eric, a science journalist, Charlotte impulsively sets out to uncover Jane Doe’s past. But the closer they get to the truth, the more their relationship is put to the test. It is only when they open their hearts to their own feelings toward each other—and toward life itself—that Charlotte and Eric will unlock Jane Doe’s shocking secret, and prepare themselves for a miracle.

Filled with intricate medical detail and set in the breathtaking Pacific Northwest, Gemini is a riveting and heartbreaking novel of moral com­plexity and emotional depth.
My thoughts:
My husband is a nurse practitioner in the emergency room so that was part of the reason that I was initially drawn to reading this novel. The bigger reason was that this just sounded like an interesting plot. The description above does not even begin to tough on the intricate story that Gemini is.  This book goes back and forth between time periods and the reader gets to know "Jane Doe" pretty intricately. We learn of her all the way back through her childhood days and for me, that kept me on edge through the entire book waiting to know what would become of her and if there would be anyone to claim her. I love how her backstory interweaved with Charlotte's present life, which makes complete sense to me because it feels almost like Charlotte begins to feel like "Jane Doe" is her family, or at least begins feeling very protective of her, contemplating what this unknown woman might want done in her situation. The parts I enjoyed the most were the bits set in the past. The characters were fun to get acquainted with and the author's great attention to detail make you feel like you are almost there with them.  I also felt the parts of the book when Charlotte is dealing with "Jane Doe's" medical condition are extremely interesting. You can tell that she is really knowledgeable, in the way that only someone who works in that specific field could be. I felt more than once that I could see this story becoming a movie someday.  Gemini is essential about love- young love, unrequited love, missed love and even love for someone that is barely known. Between all that love, there is a great interweaving of stories, filled with mysteries and interesting surprises throughout. Gemini would make a fantastic book club pick, I plan to suggest it to my own club. I read it in just a few short days because I absolutely couldn't put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in suspense novels or just great contemporary fiction.

About the author:
(From the author's website)-Carol Cassella, M.D. is a practicing physician and national bestselling author of two novels, Oxygen (2008) and Healer (2010), published by Simon & Schuster and translated into multiple foreign languages. Both novels were Indie Next Picks and finalists for the Washington State Book Award in fiction. She has been Writer in Residence at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington, and the recipient of a writing residency at Hedgebrook retreat.
Gemini will be available on March 4, 2014. You can pre-order it on


  1. Hi Cristi, Thanks so much for this great review. I'm so happy you enjoyed GEMINI. And if your book club does read it and would like a Skype visit, let me know. Thanks for connecting books and readers.

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! I will definitely be suggesting the book for next month's meeting. If it is the one drawn, I am sure all the ladies involved would love a Skype visit! Thank you! :)