Holly Weiss's Reviews > The Doctor and the Diva

The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
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Sep 18, 2010

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Read in September, 2010

"I Swear I Will Win"

“Lo giurai, la vincero.” Mezzo soprano Erika von Kessler sings these words in an Italian opera aria while fulfilling her dream of a stage career toward the end of this book. It is 1903. Women had babies and raised families. Some women opted for careers in the arts. Erika wants both and will do what is necessary to “win”.

Ms. McDonnell’s debut novel stems from letters collected by her family about an ancestor pursuing an operatic career. Although the author writes passionately about a singer’s struggle to balance career and family, I found a steady downward spiral in the credibility of her three main characters. I was impressed with the author’s substantive knowledge of fertility practices at the time but grew weary of the salient detail of such and the endless parade of lovemaking scenes. I wanted to like this book because I am a singer, but I found the novel predictable and its characters left me cold.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
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