Each week I am on the hunt for good books to recommend. It’s not always easy, and there are plenty of books that don’t make the cut.
These days, though, I seem to have hit a string of good books. Not so long ago I reviewed Carol Cassella’s debut novel, Oxygen, and I was so intrigued that I couldn’t wait to read her follow-up, Healer.
This book begins with our heroine, Claire Boehning, living in reduced circumstances. Her husband is a mover and shaker in the biotech field, but problems with a drug he was developing have halted his ability to gather funds, run tests, and get the drug to market. He has bet their life savings and lost. They’ve had to sell their home and have set up in a run-down property once intended to be razed for a second home. He is traveling, continuing to seek investors, leaving her home with a sullen teenager.
A trained doctor who didn’t follow through on board certification and who never worked once her daughter was born (her complicated pregnancy adds dimension to this relationship and explains some of its complexities), she visits clinic after clinic to look for a job and provide income that she desperately needs. No one wants to take a chance on her. Finally she ends up at a clinic that runs on a shoestring, treating poor individuals, most of them migrant workers. The salary is low, but it allows her to keep her family fed.
As the book progresses, her life continues to unravel as she tries to hold home and family together. The marriage is strained. Questions about medical ethics unfold. Healer touches deeply on the ins and outs of a marriage that had lost its way, and the journey back to what really matters.
Cassella, a doctor herself, did substantial research on the biotech industry for this book, and it shows. She takes a complex topic and breaks it into bites that a reader can understand, without bogging down the narrative.
The great thing about good books is that I hate putting them down. Carol Cassella has done it again!
What good books are you reading?