Summary and book reviews of Gemini by Carol Cassella

Gemini

By Carol Cassella

Gemini
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  • Hardcover: Mar 2014,
    352 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Book Summary

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.

Chapter One
Charlotte

It is natural law that all complex systems move from a state of order to disorder. Stars decay, mountains erode, ice melts. People get off no easier. We get old or injured and inevitably slide right back into the elements we were first made from. The organized masterpiece of conception, birth, and maturation is really only two steps forward before three steps back, at least in the physical world. Sometimes when Charlotte lost a patient she thought about that and found it comforting—a reminder that she hadn't failed in what was ultimately an unwinnable game. But if she thought about it too long, she had to wonder if her entire medical career was an interminable battle against the will of the universe.

She resisted sinking into such rhetoric the night Jane Doe was whisked across Puget Sound in a medevac helicopter to Beacon Hospital's intensive care unit, to Charlotte. It seemed they always came in the middle of the night, the ones from the more ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
When an unidentified Jane Doe, the victim of a hit-and-run, arrives in Dr. Charlotte Reese's intensive care unit, she brings with her mysteries—both medical and personal. As Charlotte cares for Jane, she becomes increasingly caught up in the questions of her patient's identity and what led to her accident. Why has no one stepped forward to claim Jane? What will happen if she doesn't wake up? When Charlotte's search for answers reveals links between Charlotte and her patient, the repercussions will forever change her life and her understanding of what love can make possible.

Questions for Discussion
    Why does Charlotte feel such a strong sense of responsibility for Jane Doe? How does she balance her protective ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

With expert foreshadowing so delicate that I missed it on the first read, Cassella draws me in with wicked plot twists until I can’t wait to find out how it all ends, but I don’t want it to end because her descriptions of things, emotions, feelings are so good that I want more.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

Full Review Members Only (1149 words).

Media Reviews
Bainbridge Review

It is a gripping fictional narrative that will spark conversations about the very real moral dilemmas we face in this age of medical miracles.

The Seattle Times

This is a riveting, suspenseful story, full of vivid characters and stirring reflections on medical and genetic issues…Cassella is a gifted writer, gorgeously animating her landscapes and the forces of nature, underlining her theme that even medicine cannot save her characters from mortality.

Booklist

A compelling look at the collision of a physician's professional and personal lives…A uniquely involving read.

Kirkus Reviews

Readers may well overlook Cassella's frequently interjected bromides about love ("Is it a room inside your soul that opens when your lover enters?") since this engaging medical mystery makes far more compelling points about economics and sociology."

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A book at turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, it invites us to accept, if nothing else, that the only way to live is to 'cling to every moment even as you [leap] into the next.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Informed by her work as a doctor, Casella's third medical novel... poses interesting medical questions and offers deepening mysteries to keep the reader turning the pages.

Author Blurb Maria Semple, New York Times bestselling author of Where'd You Go Bernadette?
Once again, Carol Cassella has written a novel full of gorgeously rendered characters, fascinating medical detail and tour de force plot twists.

Author Blurb Jonathan Evison, New York Times bestselling author of West of Here.
With big themes, an unforgettable setting, high stakes, mystery, suspense, heartbreak, human triumph, and rare insight, Gemini surprises and fascinates at every turn

Reader Reviews
Diane Dellicker

GOOD BOOK!
When I started reading Gemini, I was confused as to what the two women had in common. As I read and realized what it was, I was totally drawn into the book and didn't want to put it down. It was fun trying to figure out what was going to happen, ...   Read More

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