On a personal note, The Surgeon’s Wife is the third book I am reading from William H. Coles within a week, and after I complete each book, I feel like reading more from him. His stories are told in a voice that is confident, clear, and authoritative, and he knows how to explore the deep layers of human emotion. The Surgeon’s Wife, with Coles’ unique signature, features themes of romance, passion, and betrayal and features characters with a solid medical background.
Clayton Otherson is a senior surgeon who has earned the respect of the industry over the years, a man distinguished by his skills. But he makes a life-threatening error in surgery, one that damages the reputation of one of the best hospitals in New Orleans. Now, Mike Boudreaux, the man mentored by Otherson and also his friend, must discipline him. While Mike wants to reduce sanctions and make things easier for Otherson, the committee imposes restrictions. Otherson doesn’t take it well and nurtures thoughts of vengeance. But the experience affects him very negatively to the point that his marriage starts suffering. Catherine, his wife, turns to his best friend and what follows is a romantic relationship between Mike and Catherine. Can Otherson handle it and for how long can they keep the relationship secret?
I loved the conflict and how a major disagreement between two close friends eventually leads to the greatest betrayal. This novel explores how stress and the poor manner of handling a crisis can escalate to very serious and more complex issues. When readers get to know Otherson, they won’t immediately like him. He is a man who doesn’t want to admit his errors or to face a problem. But as the narrative moves forward, they begin to gain sympathy for him and wonder why he must go through the pain he is experiencing. The conflict reaches a point of climax when his wife finally chooses his friend, the very person he had hoped can help in his situation. The narrative is skillfully done and the author explores the consequences of illicit relationships, the dangers of quick and emotional decisions, with Catherine losing respect from her peers and family. William H. Coles keeps one reading until the very last page.