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Matters of Choice

(Cole Family Trilogy #3)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  5,387 ratings  ·  291 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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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  5,387 ratings  ·  291 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Matters of Choice (Cole Family Trilogy #3), Noah Gordon

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 man who has filled her life with unexpected joy....

Cole family trilogy:
Nov 14, 2012 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.
May 10, 2015 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
Miquel Reina
Oct 07, 2015 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
Dec 05, 2014 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
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
This was totally different than Noah Gordon's first two in the series. That, I'm afraid, made it hard to get into, as I loved the history in the two earlier books. I also felt that this book focused too much on politics of the day, abortion clinics, health care problems in modern times. I suppose it was just too real to life for me to really enjoy it. Thus, the 3 stars. And I almost didn't finish it, so I guess I liked it enough to find out what happened. ...more
Aug 12, 2012 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. ...more
Jun 17, 2013 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. ...more
Aug 07, 2010 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 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 06, 2012 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
Mar 10, 2014 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
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2013 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
Aug 29, 2007 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. ...more
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.
Jul 19, 2015 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.
Sep 29, 2015 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.
Feb 03, 2013 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.
Nov 11, 2013 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. ...more
Arlene Richards
Dec 31, 2013 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.
Mar 10, 2010 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.
Given that I just finished Shaman (the third in this trilogy), I thought I’d go ahead and polish off the series while the story was fresh in my mind. Each of the three books in The Cole Trilogy (The Physician, Shaman, and Matters of Choice) can be read as stand alone novels, but reading them in order provides additional context and back story which adds to the flavor and general appeal of the story as a whole.

Of the three, I think this book (Matters of Choice) is probably my least favorite. I s
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2018
To end the trilogy, Gordon offers us a current story, whose protagonist is a woman who faces the problems of today's society, Dr Roberta J. Cole, who after suffering a series of traumatic personal experiences makes the decision to completely change her lifestyle and become a rural doctor.
An entertaining story with a bittersweet ending (such a coward, David).
Para poner fin a la trilogía, Gordon, nos ofrece una historia actual, cuya protagonista es una mujer que se e
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Definitely not as interesting or engaging as the first two. The author is not adept at managing female characters, and the societal issues that are so quaint when hundreds of years old simply become preachy when they're current.
Not terrible at all, but definitely not in the same league as The Physician or Shaman.
Tanya Allen
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
After the first two in the series, this was a huge disappointment. This book is set in modern day, and lost all of the power of the previous two, which were historical fiction. Not to mention that this is the only book in the series with a female protagonist - and instead of gracing her with the import of the lead characters, this book almost read more like a romance novel! All martial spats and traumatic new loves. If I didn't know otherwise, I would never have believed It was the same author. ...more
Aug 22, 2014 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
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
“I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard” (Col. Slide’s speech in ‘Scent of a Woman’). Matters of choice, in general. But there are also matters of a rather specific choice, and there are armies out there, “Pro-life” armies, to take it away from us (yes, from all of us, my ladies, because often it is a matter of our joint choice, not only our partners’). Now, in the last bo ...more
H. P. Reed
Apr 09, 2016 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
Gina Basham
Nov 09, 2014 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
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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.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads databas

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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