The Doctor and The Diva by Adrienne McDonnell is one woman’s struggle to fit into the confines of her position and society vs her compulsion to be recognized for her gift.  As I am drawn to novels that take place in other times and spaces, this was plush with both.  It starts in Boston in 1903 and then moves to the Caribbean, South America and then to Florence where it ends in 1914. 

This is a snapshot in the lives three characters.  The first is Erika von Kessler a woman, wife and also possessing a beautiful operatic voice.  Her husband Peter von Kessler is a wealthy businessman with a great desire to produce an offspring. The third member of this triangle is Dr. Ravell who specializes in obstetrics and has had great success in impregnating women with infertility issues.   

This triangle of characters meets under the circumstances that Mr. and Mrs. Peter von Kessler are having trouble conceiving a baby.  From this point on their lives become intertwined with a strength of connection that cannot be broken even when the characters live on separate continents sometimes separated by many years absence. 

McDonnell does a beautiful job filling in the destinations and time gaps with stories that stand on their own and yet never loose site of each other.  She takes share care with the surroundings and the details and evokes emotion within these pages that is sometimes overwhelming.  

While the heart of the matter in the novel is not original on its face, the themes within resonate today.  I was further intrigued to learn the novel was inspired by the author’s family history.  Be sure to read both the A Further Historical Note and Acknowledgements sections at the back of they book, they should not be missed. 

Brava Adrienne McDonnell Brava you have a beautiful voice that should be heard.  Congratulations on the selection by the American Booksellers Association as an Indie Next Notable Book.  

I am so excited to be able to share a copy of  THE DOCTOR AND THE DIVA with one visitor.  To enter for a chance to win a copy of this book, courtesy of Penguin Books, share a favorite historical fiction novel in your comment. 

This giveaway is open to US and Canada and will be drawn randomly.  Contest ends at midnight Sunday, January 22nd CST.   


About poofbooks

With a wave of the wand and a good book in hand travel to places and spaces beyond your imagination. Because reading does not require you to leave the comfort of your own living room or the bunny slippers behind. So if a vacation is not in your plans for this year, take a bookation, you will love it.
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  1. Rachel says:

    One of my favorites is To The Hermitage by Malcolm Bradbury. It’s a fascinating book for eighteenth century history lovers, and Bradbury has one of the strongest, wittiest voices I’ve ever read!

  2. Shari Vasko says:

    Sounds like a great read!

  3. Mary Pat D. says:

    One of my favorite historical fiction novels (if it can be classified as historical fiction) is the Other Boleyn Sister). Thanks for being willing to sponsor this giveaway.

  4. mariamro says:

    I would love to read this. It sounds completely intriguing.

  5. Kim Stewart says:

    Sounds great – I am currently readying Voyager by Diana Gabaldon and love it as I have the previous books too – hopefuly I will have a chace to read this too.

  6. The Doctor and the Diva sounds great — I’ve added it to my reading list (as well as the other books mentioned here — I have read the Clan of the Cave Bear and loved it, but never read the rest of the series).

    I feel like I’m too new to the historical fiction genre to add anything serious, so I’ll add something fun: I’ve really enjoyed Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation romance series. I’ve listed to the first four of the series on audiobook (as well as the holiday-themed Mischief of the Mistletoe) and find them quite entertaining. The romance can be a little much at times, but I still think they’re fun overall.

  7. tinyturtle88 says:

    I love Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children Series. She conducted years of research in between each book and has such a way of creating the aesthetics for vision of terrain, language, behavior, and overall ambiance of a time so long ago. I am currently reading her latest which is called “Land of Painted Caves”, Book 6. I started reading them back as a teenager and recently caught up-so glad I did…

  8. This sounds awesome — I love historical fiction set in Boston, and the plight/challenge of women always interests me. Trying to pick a single favorite historical novel is literally painful! I love so many! Sandra Gulland’s trilogy of Josephine Bonaparte is a favorite — I teared up at the end, and felt like I was losing a friend! — and last year, Lynn Cullen’s Reign of Madness just captivated me. I can’t wait to see what other folks recommend!

    • poofbooks says:

      Oh did not mean to pick the best, I just love to find new treasures among the comments. I so know what you mean about loosing a friend, I feel this way so many times too. Thanks for sharing.

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