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Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy, #3)
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Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy #3)

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  2,759 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews
A spirited and gifted physician forgoes a stellar career at a prestigious hospital for a small town private practice, and finds even greater challenges than those of the big city. Now she faces her hardest test as a doctor and a woman: whether to keep the medical secret of a girl who has desperately turned to her for help, or to betray that trust to keep the love of the ma ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Signet (first published 1995)
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Phenomena by Susan TarrThe Physician by Noah GordonThe Alienist by Caleb CarrDoctors in Hell by Janet E. MorrisOutlander by Diana Gabaldon
Best Historical Medical Fiction
42nd out of 68 books — 101 voters
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Ruby Brooch by Katherine Lowry LoganThe House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Best Family Sagas
345th out of 355 books — 439 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Miquel Reina
Sep 19, 2016 Miquel Reina rated it really liked it
Matters of Choice is the third book of Noah Gordon's successful trilogy. This part takes a jump of several centuries, focusing on the life of one of the descendants of the protagonist of the first novel. Like the first part, the medicine will be the thread of the plot, but this time, the main character is a female that will have to confront gender bias in a difficult time to be a woman doctor. For me, this book is even better than the first, especially for the realistic atmosphere of the time an ...more
Nov 14, 2012 Laura rated it did not like it
I read this book because I so very much enjoyed the first two books in the series. I agree wholeheartedly with the other critical reviews of this book. I would not recommend it. I do plan to read other well-reviewed Noah Gordon books like The Last Jew. I don't know what happened with this book, but it was, indeed, as though it was written by someone other than the same author of The Physician and Shaman.

Skip it and read one of his good books instead.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy #3), Noah Gordon
May 31, 2015 Chi-Chi rated it it was ok
This book was such a disappointment. I really enjoyed the first two books in the The Cole Family Series and was eager to read this one. But, boy. I felt that Gordon't handling of the protagonist R.J. was so incredibly clumsy. It's as if the task of voicing a female character overwhelmed him. There were little things that just felt so off, little comments that didn't need to be included but sounded like a man's stereotypical idea of what a woman would think and want. I remember R.J. having a cup ...more
Oct 01, 2009 Reinhold rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Politisches Pamphlet als Groschenroman

Dieses Buch ist das schlimmste was man der Medicus-Reihe antun konnte, hätte Gordon sich doch bloß entschlossen nach der Schamane aufzuhören. Nachdem ich die beiden ersten Teile der Trilogie gelesen hatte, war es nur selbstverständlich, dass ich auch den dritten und letzten Teil lesen würde. Zwar gab es Hinweise, dass dieser letzte Teil nicht so gut wäre wie die ersten beiden, aber dass er derartig übel wäre, hätte ich nicht erwartet. Teilweise mag das daran
Mar 24, 2016 Elena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Nada destacable a reseñar... bastante estándar. Poco peso de toda la historia de la saga familiar detrás. Algunos giros argumentales interesantes, eso sí.

En general me ha gustado más que "Chamán", que se me hizo muy largo, pero no tanto como "El médico", para mí el mejor de la trilogía.

Al menos ya puedo decir que me he leído los tres :)
Aug 12, 2012 Cindy rated it really liked it
Once again, Noah Gordon wraps a sense of modern reality in the story of the Coles. For me, personally, this wasn't the brightest of the trilogy, but that is most likely due to the fact that it is set in 'today's world. My knowledge is deeper about the issues, so R.J's experiences were not unexpected as it relates to the practice of medicine. I still thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Aug 07, 2010 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
This is a strong, dramatic story about a woman doctor making tough moral decisions. It has good medical descriptions, and hits home with small-town life and living green! Good ethical questions and soul-searching!
Jan 26, 2009 Shamsh rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. It touches some subjects which I consider very important and it is as well-written as the 2 first books of the saga.
Oct 07, 2014 Remo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novela, medicina, 1995
Ansiado tercer volumen de la trilogía de "El médico". Tal y como le ocurre a "Chamán", la segunda parte, no tiene nada que hacer frente al primero. Se convierte además en un libro denuncia contra la situación de la medicina pública en los EE.UU. Hay libros mejores, pero este se deja leer y es entretenido. Rob J no me gusta nada como protagonista. Es una mentirosa. Es falsa. La verdad es que el autor podría haberse esforzado un poco más con el personaje protagonista del cierre de una (pretendida) ...more
Dec 10, 2014 Zoe rated it it was ok
Not nearly as good as the first two in the series, the book suffered from a setting contemporary to its writing and all the problems of a man writing a female main character. I understand that a woman as a doctor shows progression of the profession through time, but the intimate thoughts and personal story fell into cliché far too often. It really disappoints me because I think "Physician" is probably in my top 20 books I've ever read, and "Shaman" manages the unusual viewpoint of a deaf narrato ...more
Gina Basham
Nov 09, 2014 Gina Basham rated it really liked it
Loved all three books. The Physician my favorite.

The Physician - book one. Amazing story line with characters to love and hate. The main character was so realistic and likable. The descriptions of the times and places were very detailed and it was easy to put yourself there. I loved the progression of the story. Very well written. I would highly recommend.

Shaman - book two. Again, excellent story line. I did enjoy book one more than the second. Very well written. Exciting characters. Interesting
Oct 06, 2012 Sheri rated it really liked it
I liked this book very much. It is the story of RJ Cole, doctor. This is the last book of a trilogy about the Drs. Cole. The first two were about lands far away and long ago. The other docs were men and RJ is a woman. She has inherited "the Gift" that some of her ancestors had, in that she can feel the imminent death of a person simply by holding their hands and sensing the outcome of their health.
There is alot going on in this book. Three women have been friends for many years and we follow t
Oct 04, 2015 Magui rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, and it was a very fast read. He first two in the trilogy appealled to me a bit more because they transported me to a different time, and therefore, to a world full of surprising facts and interesting twists and turns. This book, being set in modern times, was less surprising and more predictable. I still enjoyed it very much.
Kathrin Seehafer
Ich habe so ein Buch noch nie mit so einer ungeahnten Geschwindigkeit gelesen.Obwohl ich das Buch << Der Schamane >> noch nicht gelesen habe,bin ich noch immer beeindruckt vom Ende der Trilogie.(In einigen Passagen des Buches habe ich Facetten meiner eigenen Persönlichkeit erkannt,aber das nur am Rande.)Als Deutsche, mit ostdeutschen Wurzeln,war es für mich ein erschreckender Einblick in das amerikanische Gesundheitswesen.R.J.Cole , die Heldin des Buches und ihre Menschlichkeit im Um ...more
Sep 12, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2014 Bookwurms rated it it was amazing
Shelves: most-favorites
I've never given a 5 star to a book and I've read many books! I absolutely loved this story. To go from the other two wonderful books in the genre of historical fiction to writing in the "NOW" era so proficiently is a wonder to me. Especially writing about a woman from a male author's point of view I was very impressed! I was so fascinated by the character I wanted to be there with her, fishing in the river and building that bridge!! I've been somewhat of a tomboy all my life and I could so iden ...more
Doutor Branco
Mar 20, 2016 Doutor Branco rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lidos-em-2016
Loved it!
H. P. Reed
Apr 13, 2016 H. P. Reed rated it liked it
The least enjoyable of the Cole family trilogy, Matters of Choice doesn't have the power to absorb and educate the reader as the other two books so deftly did. Yet, there are many good things about the book, not the least of which is Noah Gordon's well reasoned apologia, through his protagonist, for first trimester abortion. Never an easy subject, abortion is given two sides: the first an old fashioned restatement of the woman's right to control her own body, the second a heart-rending scene whe ...more
Aug 30, 2014 Charles rated it liked it
This 3rd book in the Cole trilogy, continues with the contemporary descendant of the family, RJ Cole(the R stands for Roberta) who is the 1st female Cole doctor endowed with the "gift" of detecting prognosis by the holding of hands. She gives up a on bad marriage to a surgeon, a house in an expensive area, and a city practice, to set up a general practice in a rural setting in her country home in the Berkshires in Western Massachussets. The novel deals with many quandaries of modern medical prac ...more
Jun 12, 2013 Beth rated it it was ok
Worth reading if you have started the series. But, it does not live up to my expectations after the first two books. For those reviewers who found the book liberally biased and the main character to be far too liberal, I wonder at their finding it so or not expecting it to be so. After all, the first two books featured main characters who were quite liberal when viewed from the point of time the books were set.
Lenny Husen
Jan 27, 2008 Lenny Husen rated it it was ok
What a disappointment! A terrible ending to a trilogy (the first two books were wonderful). I know he was trying to make a statement about abortion and Pro-Choice (and I am Pro-Choice) but this book makes a strong statement against abortion. I don't think that was his intention, but in any case, I disliked this book. Too bad, because the HeartRocks were cute.
Jul 31, 2015 REGINA V. KOWAL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story telling at it's best.

Noah Gordon is a marvellous storyteller. Although I found book 3 of the trilogy tiresome at times and contained unnecessary fluff. Aside from that the story of the Cole family kept me wanting more. The story covered a hundred years of medicine. It's a joyride for anyone who has an interest in medicine.
Jacque Cullers
I enjoyed this book, but it is not quite what u was expecting, since the first two books in the series were historical fiction and this was contemporary. The topic was a difficult one to tackle. I applaud Noah Gordon for doing so, but can see how he might alienate some of his readership with the views expressed.
Jun 17, 2013 Sara rated it did not like it
While I appreciate the author's efforts in bringing his saga about generations of Cole family physicians into the 20th century, this book sure seemed like a novel in search of a plot. The ending just sort of ran out of steam as though Gordon got really, really tired of RJ & everyone else. I know I did.
Nov 17, 2013 K rated it liked it
After the rich, historic settings of the first two books in the Coles Trilogy (The Physician and Shaman), Matters of Choice felt like a bit of a letdown. It's not a bad novel, nor poorly written. It just doesn't feel like the same quality of literary fiction after reading the other two books.
Arlene Richards
Mar 04, 2014 Arlene Richards rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Cole, this time is female and the time period covered is recent. After the rich and absorbing historical content of the first two books in the trilogy, I was disappointed in this one. It is a good book, well written but lacks the depth and the passion that I had come to expect.
Feb 03, 2013 Dawn rated it liked it
Not as good as the first two books in this trilogy, but still a decent read. Perhaps the fact that it takes place in the present day might account for my not enjoying it as much, since reading about times past adds to my enjoyment. At any rate, I will read more Noah Gordon for sure.
Jan 27, 2015 Helen rated it it was ok
I liked this least of the 3 novels telling the history of the cole family physicians. here the protagonist, a female physician, struggles with the ethical issues surrounding abortion as well as the personal ones. it's much less absorbing for me than the prior 2 books - this operates on a more reduced scale - much less dealing with the broad sweep of history. perhaps if i weren't knowledgeable about the social context and costs surrounding abortion i would have found it more absorbing. praise to ...more
Mar 10, 2010 Melissa rated it it was ok
Not in the same class as the others of this trilogy. More of a chick lit book. This book would probably not be enjoyed by anyone who has objections to abortion.
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Noah Gordon is an American novelist. Some of the topics covered within his novels include medical history and medical ethics. More recently he has begun to focus more on themes relating to the Inquisition, and Jewish cultural history. His novel Shaman won the first James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1993.

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More about Noah Gordon...

Other Books in the Series

Cole Family Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Physician (Cole Family Trilogy, #1)
  • Shaman (Cole Family Trilogy, #2)

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“The close-up, reassuring, warm touch of the physician, the comfort and concern, the long, leisurely discussions … are disappearing from the practice of medicine, and this may turn out to be too great a loss. … If I were a medical student or an intern, just getting ready to begin, I would be more worried about this aspect of my future than anything else. I would be apprehensive that my real job, caring for sick people, might soon be taken away, leaving me with the quite different occupation of looking after machines. I would be trying to figure out ways to keep this from happening. —Lewis Thomas, M.D. The Youngest Science: Notes of a Medicine Watcher” 0 likes
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