Two surgeons face the most harrowing ordeal of their lives, but it doesn’t happen in the operating room. In William Coles’ drama novel, “The Surgeon’s Wife,” readers will see another kind of life-threatening condition play out before their eyes when complications of the medical type become overshadowed by those of passion—when romance and madness form a cocktail as potent as anesthesia, and jealousy cuts deeper than any scalpel.
Media depicts surgeons as the rockstars of the medical field, experiencing “proper action” by getting their hands dirty in the O.R. than sitting behind desks checking lab results and writing prescriptions. But what isn’t depicted is the sheer pressure faced by these professionals stemming from that very image, which burdens them with the drive to excel in the face of the risks they must deal with, i.e., their patients’ lives and the ensuing malpractice suits when things go south. And beyond the confines of the hospital, they’re as unprepared for the frailties of the human heart as any person—med school doesn’t cover that.
So, for all their prowess in saving patients, what happens when they crack from the strain and end up being the ones in need of saving? Coles takes this premise up a notch, portraying the clash of two top surgeons when medical matters and romantic interests intersect. The protagonist, Mike Boudreaux, is a trauma surgeon Chief of Service who has to deal with an impaired colleague with a penchant for dangerous and unnecessary surgeries for the obese. Unfortunately, this rogue happens to be Mike’s former teacher and mentor. To make matters worse, Mike falls for the mentor’s young and beautiful socialite wife.
Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, the affair doesn’t stay secret for long and the ensuing scandal damages Mike’s career, diminishes his authority and impedes his ability to put his rogue mentor and rival in line. This also takes its toll on his lover, who is rejected by family and society alike as she moves in with Mike. Her rebellious daughter also disappears, and Mike is left trying to find the said daughter and repair the relationship between mother and child. His jealous mentor’s career hit a low point, and when a young patient dies, it was all a downward spiral, as he becomes unhinged, blames his wife and Mike, and plans a violent revenge.
Readers will see how this all comes to a head in Cole’s page-turner. “The Surgeon’s Wife” has it all—medical drama, sizzling romance, the intrigues of New Orleans high society, and a detailed view of how egos collide, psyches crack, and lives deteriorate. And it shows how people can struggle to recover from these lows and get back on their feet, or fail and flatline.
The parallel between the medical process and the characters’ passionate pursuits is a microcosm for life’s unpredictable vicissitudes. Cole embellishes for dramatic flourish yet keeps matters real enough, which is why the resulting narrative is engaging. After all, surgery is about repairing what’s broken, piecing together damaged parts or replacing them altogether. In “The Surgeon’s Wife” we see this happen on the operating table as well as in people’s relationships with each other. Cole shows how, when it gets nasty, all you’ve got left is a shot of epinephrine to the heart and a prayer.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" Good story with a surprising finish. This book discusses a surgeon who has lost his ability to perform surgeries safely. He has mentored the other surgeon who recognizes that this surgeon is impaired. Unfortunately he is loyal to his mentor and procrastinates taking the surgeon's operating privileges away until it is too late. This young surgeon than has an affair with the elder surgeons wife. The older surgeon losses his privileges to operate and has a mental breakdown. He stalks his wife and eventually becomes extremely bitter towards her. The ending is quite unexpected. I enjoyed the intrigue of this book as I read it. It also sadly shows how impaired surgeons may continue to operate because other surgeons cover for them.. I found that I was unable to put the book down and was sorry when I finished the book. I recommend this book as a good read."
― Barbara Serating, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
“Good depiction of medical doctor's egos and problems they produce for physicians.patients, impact families plus the lies that evolve. Good depiction of New Orleans culture of money, old families and money. Fast read."
― Helen of Troy, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
" The Surgeon's wife is a story written by William H. Coles. The story is very insightful to read. To begin with, I noticed that the author has used his experience in the medical or surgical field to invent this great book. I, therefore rate the book 4 out of 4 stars."
―Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
"The Surgeon's Wife by William H. Coles is a story about a surgeon in a hospital setting in New Orleans---Dr. Mike Bordreaux. Dr. Mike is a good doctor, but he has loyalties to his mentor and friend who is also a surgeon at the hospital. His mentor and friend starts making mistakes during his surgeries and Dr. Mike is expected to take action against him. Professional and personal ethics are themes of the book.This story is interesting and gives the reader a peek into a fictional hospital setting. The ending is unexpected and surprising! It is one of those books that you want to finish reading. Very enjoyable book.."
― Linda M, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
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William H. Coles is a literary fiction writer, winner of multiple awards including finalists in His publications include five novels, collections of short fiction and three books on the writing of fiction stories. The William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and others. To learn the art of writing fiction, he studied in more than 100 courses and workshops with more than seventy-five authors, editors, and teachers and created storyinliteraryfiction.com, a website with resources for fiction writers, illustrators, and avid fiction readers. He was an ophthalmic surgeon specializing in ocular injury repair and reconstruction, a professor and chairman at SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine, a Regent for The American College of Surgeons, president of the Association of University Professors in Ophthalmology. He is an active jazz piano player, former President of the Gibbes Art Museum in Charleston, SC, and has lectured internationally on mechanistic biologic ophthalmic research, ophthalmic surgery, jazz, and valuing antique Georgian and federal furniture and 18th and 19th-century paintings at Emory University. He won a Mayor's award for contributions to historic preservation in Charleston, SC. and the Conrad Berens Award for best film on a medical subject. He lives and writes in Salt Lake City, Utah.