The Surgeon’s Wife


A New Orleans aristocrat and doctor, Clayton Otherson, is an aging national leader in the field of trauma surgery who begins to injure patients with his unacceptable technical and judgmental mistakes. Otherson’s younger partner, Mike Boudreaux, whom he trained and mentored, must discipline him. Otherson resents constrains and criticisms and denies his impairment. Boudreaux complicates his management by falling in love with Otherson’s beautiful wife, Catherine. Otherson’s wrath threatens violence as Boudreaux and Catherine shape their love struggling for respect in the contempt of New Orleans’ society. A short-list finalist in the 2010 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition.
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Human nature has always been fascinating to me. What makes people do the things that they do? This is the type of issue that William H. Coles explores in his book The Surgeon's Wife.
Clayton Otherson is a surgeon in New Orleans who mainly does bariatric surgery. He's been making a few mistakes lately, though, forcing Mike Boudreaux to act in his capacity as Chief of Service. Dr. Otherson is a very prominent surgeon who is a forerunner in obesity surgery; he also taught and mentored Dr. Boudreaux. That makes it hard for Mike to make any decisions that might jeopardize Dr. Otherson's career. Then there is Catherine, Clayton's wife. Catherine has always been a strong woman and very active in the community. Now, though, Clayton seems to be coming unglued, and Catherine is unhappy in her marriage. Will Mike make the hard decision that ends Clayton's career? How will Clayton react if the only thing he has ever known is taken away from him? Will Catherine stick it out in her marriage for better times? Or will she walk away?
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10 reviews for The Surgeon’s Wife

  1. Dianne Woodman

    The Surgeon’s Wife is split into three parts. Vivid illustrations on the book cover and also preceding the text for each part perfectly complement this engaging story. The book is told from multiple viewpoints which provides valuable insight into the feelings, perceptions, and motives of each of the pertinent characters in the story, and how they are affected by the circumstances in which they find themselves.

    Mike Boudreaux is the chief of surgery at a prominent hospital in New Orleans, and he is called upon to make tough decisions about his partner, Clayton Otherson, who is making life-threatening mistakes in surgery. Mike owes the success of his career to Clayton and wants to help his colleague and friend, a distinguished and influential bariatric surgeon, avoid suspension by the hospital operating room committee. Mike can impact decisions made by the committee since he is the chair, and Clayton believes that Mike should make any complaints about his competency as a surgeon go away. However, the safety of patients is Mike’s top priority. When the committee puts some restrictions in place that affect Clayton in his surgeries of obese patients, this action puts up barriers in Mike and Clayton’s friendship.

    As Clayton’s ability on whether or not he is a component surgeon continues to be scrutinized by his colleagues, it not only begins to take an emotional toll on his mental health but it also puts his marriage in jeopardy. Catherine, Clayton’s wife, finds herself attracted to Mike, and when family life becomes unbearable, she turns to him for help and support. Things become even more complicated when Mike and Catherine begin having an affair. Will this affair and Clayton’s struggling career destroy his marriage and friendship with Mike? Things come to a head in a final confrontation that will change the lives of everyone involved forever.

    William H. Coles does an excellent job of immersing readers into the fictional world of where the story takes place. The story brings out the contentious debates that can arise between hospital staff members as to whether economic interests are more important than patient care. An underlying theme of the story deals with the psychological and emotional effects on a martial relationship that is in a crisis mode along with the subsequent strain on the offspring caught in the middle. There is some profanity in the book, but it fits with the personalities of the characters.

  2. Jane Finch

    The Surgeon’s Wife by William H Coles delves into the life of elite and respected surgeons at a well-respected hospital in New Orleans. Mike Boudreaux is the chief of surgery and dedicated to his work, often to the detriment of his social life. Mike is put in a difficult position when another prominent surgeon, Clayton Otherson, comes under scrutiny for mistakes during surgery. Mike is conflicted by loyalty to Clayton and his desire to do what is right. He also harbours concerns about Clayton’s speciality of treating obese patients, when Mike feels other treatments and approaches are being ignored. Complications arise when Mike finds himself falling in love with Clayton’s neglected wife, Catherine.

    The author, William H Coles, would appear to have a clear knowledge and understanding of the procedures and internal conflicts of a high-end hospital, which makes the story authentic and gives it credibility. The story starts well with fast-paced and tense action, although it loses its impetus somewhat and continues at a more sedate pace. The author examines the issues behind the actions of the main protagonists well, and the characters are solidly developed and believable, in particular the attitudes of some of the surgeons who tend to have a superior and uncompromising view, not least of which is Clayton Otherson. The introduction of the romance with Clayton’s wife was an unexpected twist. The story holds interest, but could benefit from more intrigue and a few twists and turns to keep the reader alert. Otherwise, a pleasant read.

  3. Deborah Lloyd

    The charming city of New Orleans as well as a varied cast of interesting characters are the main components of this intriguing novel. Mike Boudreaux has been the Chief of Surgery for four years, and he is faced with the challenging task of dealing with his favored professor and mentor, Clayton Otherson. Dr. Otherson is performing many unnecessary and dangerous surgeries for obese people, and his declining abilities have resulted in physical damage in several cases. How the hospital staff should deal with this results in conflict. Mike’s relationship with Rosemary Dayside has ended, and a physical attraction to Clayton’s wife, Catherine, has blossomed. Clayton and Catherine’s daughter also become entangled in her parents’ troubled marriage, and in her mother’s new relationship. In The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles, the professional and personal lives of Mike and Clayton collide, and how it will end remains a mystery until the last chapter.

    One of the most fascinating aspects of this story is the hierarchy that exists in surgical departments in large teaching hospitals. Additionally, the societal structure within the wealthier classes of New Orleans is also revealed, within the context of a compelling story. Author William H. Coles has written an engaging novel, encompassing several main themes. Mr. Coles’ writing style is concise and easy to follow. The drawings that appear on the cover and at the beginning of each section are as intriguing as the plot. Not only do they capture the essence of the book, they also capture the essence of New Orleans. This novel is certainly an enjoyable read!

  4. Janelle Alex, Ph.D.

    A refreshing read, The Surgeon’s Wife takes readers on a fictional journey that will keep them intrigued from the beginning. William H. Coles’ dramatic tale is based around the lives of two prominent surgeons and one woman. The issues that arise in The Surgeon’s Wife start off with one of the main characters, Clayton Otherson, making a major mistake during surgery. His former student and the current chair of the OR committee, Mike Boudreaux, tries to protect his mentor, but ethically and professionally he knows he must protect the patients. Eventually, a love triangle comes into play and Mike and Catherine Otherson, Clayton’s wife, become lovers. With numerous challenges facing both the Othersons and Mike, The Surgeon’s Wife will keep readers on tenterhooks from start to finish.

    For the most part, William H. Coles’ story progresses at a cadence that feels smooth and interesting. The romantic relationship between Mike and Catherine jumps ahead pretty quickly – but not until nearly halfway through the book – and with little anticipation of it earlier in the plot. But, overall, The Surgeon’s Wife is so intriguing that this minor issue remains just that – a minor issue. Coles makes the story more realistic by allowing some patients to actually die even after having given readers a chance to like them. He also displays examples of doctors trying to stick together and protect one of their own, even at the risk of patients’ lives. Sexism is still yet another aspect fluidly blended into The Surgeon’s Wife, from how doctors’ wives are often treated to how female surgeons are treated. William H. Coles’ The Surgeon’s Wife is filled with an in-depth plot, powerful characters, and a lot of fascinating different topics that could be proposed for discussion via a book club or with friends. The Surgeon’s Wife is a great read and one I recommend.

  5. Viga Boland

    In William H. Coles’ novel, The Surgeon’s Wife, Catherine is the lovely but neglected and unappreciated wife of the lauded Dr. Otherson. When Dr. Otherson, a specialist in bariatric surgery, comes under fire for both his procedural competence, and his true motivation for performing surgery on patients only mildly obese, his world and his marriage to Catherine start to fall apart. Unfortunately for her, she finds solace and love in the arms of Michael, once Otherson’s student, but now his superior. What follows for Catherine and her daughter Melissa is heartache, chaos and, ultimately, violence, while Michael battles with his loyalty to his mentor, his duty to those patients who have put their trust in Otherson’s skills, and his love for Catherine.

    Just as he did in his more recent novel, McDowell, William H. Coles enjoys, as did Shakespeare, exploring and exploiting the concept of the “tragic flaw”, the one characteristic that causes a hero to come undone. And Coles does this so well. It’s fascinating to watch how Dr. Otherson, at the top of his field when the story opens, hits bottom by the time the story closes, thanks to his one, maybe even several, tragic flaws. One of the beauties of reading books or short stories by William H. Coles is his remarkable ability to reveal characters through dialogue. He relies very little on any other of the usual devices writers use. The result of his approach is a sense of fulfillment in readers: they feel this author knows they are intelligent enough to draw their own conclusions about the people in his story. Ultimately, this consistent and superb use of dialogue makes The Surgeon’s Wife a quick, engrossing and satisfying read. Enjoy.

  6. Ann Neville

    The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles follows Clayton Otherson, a senior surgeon, as he makes life-threatening mistakes during Bariatric surgery in a New Orleans’ hospital. Mike Boudreaux, the chief of surgery, must discipline Otherson, his partner, colleague, mentor and friend. Even though Mike knows he must take action, he feels conflicted because he owes his education and his career success to Otherson. But when a patient dies from post-operative complications, there is no option but suspension. Otherson turns angry and vindictive, especially when his wife, Catherine, turns to Mike for help and support. Otherson is consumed with revenge and threatens violence. The consequences of the psychological and emotional effects on Catherine and Otherson’s marriage, on their daughter, Mellissa, and on Mike are dramatic and disastrous.
    I found The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles an interesting and fascinating read on several levels. Coles skilfully articulates the moral dilemma faced by doctors regarding Bariatric surgery (gastric bypass surgery) and its consequences for patients. The issue of financial gain over patient safety is also well presented, along with the conflict between personal values and corporate economic survival. The psychological and emotional journeys of all the main characters, Otherson, his wife and daughter, and Mike, are intriguing and compelling, while the dramatic ending is completely shocking and, in one aspect, unexpected. Fortunately, the denouement offers an inkling of hope for the future. If a reader is looking for drama in a surgical setting, I recommend this well-written book, The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles.

  7. D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

    Set against the backdrop of New Orleans society and its medical community, The Surgeon’s Wife is the story of two physicians: one an aging aristocrat and surgeon, Clayton Otherson, who begins to injure patients as his skills and mental abilities decline; the other younger partner Mike Boudreaux, who is placed in the bad position of having to point out these errors and discipline his own mentor.One doesn’t expect romance to further complicate a professional relationship already standing on shaky ground; but when Mike falls in love with Clayton’s young, beautiful wife, the trouble between them threatens to spill over into the personal and professional lives of everyone involved.It’s difficult to imagine that a short novella could capture so many facets: New Orleans culture and society, the dilemmas faced by a compassionate younger doctor and his increasingly impaired mentor, and the underlying desire for love that creates ethical and moral conflicts; but The Surgeon’s Wife deftly weaves these disparate threads of interest into a story line that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.Readers with a special affection for romances which spring from unusual circumstances will relish the attention to detail exploring how a colleague’s wife becomes tempting: “She climbed up the stage stairs gracefully, with the controlled steps of an athlete, and walked to the podium. For the first time ever, he found her striking. She knew her worth as a woman. He’d not been around her enough over the years, when her role had been always as a hostess or as Clayton’s devoted companion, to see it before. But here, on this stage, presenting to this group of arrogant cynics, her confidence was obvious and appealing.”William H. Coles takes the time to explore and develop this process, and this care shows well in a production that moves beyond professional boundaries and how they are overstepped into the lives of two compassionate individuals who find in each other an unexpected connection.As events give rise to some unexpected scenarios, readers are in for a treat because what is anticipated to be a set course of love evolves into something quite different.While the story’s unexpected conclusion would seem to belay the evolutionary direction of the rest of the novella, the result is a satisfying turn of events that will keep readers guessing right up to the end in a story recommended for romance readers who want the added attraction of professional and ethical conundrums added to the mix.

  8. read 40 more reviews from Indie Book Reviews

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William H. Coles a literary drama with romantic and medical elements and one of the most original and most addicting novels (novellas) I’ve read in a long time! I was completely interested from the very beginning pages where Coles wastes no time thrusting us into the world of high-stakes world of surgery and introducing us to the main characters including Mike and Clayton whose tumultuous relationship will shape the events of this riveting book. Loved the author’s use of description of the medical ins- and outs and ‘behind the scenes’ action… the drama there provides a great, realistic backdrop for the personal/romantic dramas… perfect for this type of novel, and we really feel like we are there. The writing is clear and fast paced, solid literary prose that has powerful, solid word choices that truly bring this memorable story to life. A fast read with more than one shocking (and sad) twist. Highly recommend! (5 stars)

    – Another amazing read by William H. Coles! “The Surgeon’s Wife” is an excellent novella that captured my attention from the first and never once let it go. Each scene was authentic, impressively detailed, and well written.  The descriptions were very good and it’s obvious the author knows the medical field well (as is also indicated in his impressive bio!). The pacing was really quick, as was the dialogue. Most of the actual ‘action” happens in part 3, but there’s lots of character drama leading up to it. Definitely a mesmerizing story that kept me turning the pages quickly. I read it in one night and think this might actually be my favorite William Coles book so far (And I’ve read 4). It had great interweaving plotlines, from suicide to obese surgery to infidelity and romance… the editing was almost flawless and the story was a wild ride till the end… in a good way! Can’t wait to read more from him. Recommend for fans of literary drama. (5 stars)

    – Wow, I really loved this book. I thought it was just beautifully written and kept my attention the whole way through. There is some setting up the stage of action on the beginning, and we get to meet the main characters, and some supporting cast who come into the mix. I really like Catherine and Rosie and feel bad for them and their situations especially with Mike. Mike is dynamic and we relate to him, even though he is flawed, (as is Clayton.) He tries to do the right thing and I like that. The characters are all good, some more richly detailed than others, and there are some surprising turn of events I didn’t see coming. It is a quick read, one I finished in the course of an evening but there is a ton of story and emotion here. I was genuinely surprised at a few things that happened, and thought the tension and narrative was great. I will be looking forward to reading more books from William H. Coles soon. Happy he has so many! Recommend reading for fans of literary novellas with a darker, complex twist. (5 stars)

    – Warning – when starting “The Surgeon’s Wife” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off with an enticing, dramatic beginning that sets the groundwork for the tension with Dr. Mike Boudreaux and his ‘mentor’ Dr Clayton Otherson right off the bat and just keeps going until the shocking, climactic showdown at the end. The characters of Mike, Clay, Catherine, Rosie, Mellissa (and the others) were genuine and believable, and I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel the author managed to create where it felt intimate, like we are really there in their heads as this story unfolds, feeling the things they are feeling and seeing and experiencing. Like we are there in the OR or the Dr’s meetings. Loved the unpredictability, and the fact that this wasn’t just a cliché ‘love’ story. This went much deeper than that, and I was truly impressed with the author’s literary skills and medical knowledge.  Although it’s a fairly mild book in terms of content and language, it is probably most suitable for adults. Recommend. (5 stars)

    – First, I have to say that I don’t normally read books that are novellas or shorter books as I generally prefer to lose myself in longer, more epic novels. But I’ve read and enjoyed several other books by William H. Coles so I knew he could tell a good story and that I’d enjoy myself.  Well I was not in the least bit disappointed!  I loved that whole opening scene and it sets the mood perfectly. This has the elements of a ‘romantic’ story, but it is also a drama, and at times, a tragedy, combined with real – life medical situations and scenes. Very, very cool, and the writing is stellar. That ending is a killer too! Wish there was more to come, but I think that we are supposed to be left that way – it is more of an impact. Recommend for older teens and adults. (5 stars)

    – I’m a big romance reader, and I knew that this book had some but that it wasn’t the focus or a ‘traditional romance’. And that is all true… this is like an authentic ‘life story’ that includes the good, bad, and ugly… and of course that means some romantic entanglements as well! This was a terrific book and very impressive the way Coles combines so many great elements, from the New Orleans background (hence the cover), to the surgeries, to the marital and professional scandals, death and love… so much!! The title comes from the fact that one of the main characters is a surgeon, and his wife plays a prominent role in the drama involving his protegee and colleague. The story transitions well from various characters and is divided into 3 distinct parts. And it all comes together to make a surprising ending that literally made me gasp out loud. I didn’t put my Kindle down even one time while reading this book… a very good read that I’d recommend even to those who don’t normally read this sort of thing…try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! (4-5 stars)

    – This book by William H. Coles was so much more than just a simple medical/romance story to me. The writing is so good… powerful literary prose and great character conflict and development that I really wasn’t expecting. And I’m not easily impressed. I did feel that perhaps the beginning was a bit rushed and took too long to get to the real inciting incident (with Catherine and Mike) especially for such a short book. Seemed to be a bit too much “setting up” of all the various conflicts and it almost seemed like it lost focus (like with the prostitute girl- didn’t add to the plot much). The pacing was great, however, there were some times that it felt a bit too ‘telling’. Beautiful prose, yes, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing, and this was more toward the end – like the author just wanted to finish it up. Overall the plot had more depth and complexity than I anticipated, and the ending truly shocked me. Certainly worth a read, and I’m interested in reading more from William Coles in the near future. (4 stars)

    – I have to admit that I’m a bit mixed-feelings on this book, “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William H. Coles. On one hand it is brilliantly original and excellently written. But I felt it lacked a certain tension or ‘high stakes’… even though all the ingredients were there, I just couldn’t feel the emotional connection I wanted to. I was trying to make the connection, and for me when it happened it seemed almost too simple, or glossed over. Just felt like it needed more explanation or depth. Was a good story, but the ending was frustrating also. I like more of a concrete ending and want to know if they ended up together or not. But there were so many great parts and I didn’t want to stop reading it. So not perfect, but I can tell this author knows how to write, so I’m looking forward to reading more of his books soon. (3.5 stars)

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” packs a whole lotta drama for its shorter length, and is an intelligent, well-written story that certainly held on to my attention. I was almost disappointed when it was over, but the ending was like, “whoa” and I wish there was more! It didn’t end how I thought it would, but in a way it’s fitting how it all comes full circle in a way. I did very much enjoy the scenery and how the author writes and his detailed descriptions and dialogue of the characters that really gives great authenticity to the ‘medical drama’ angle. Was pretty cool to be part of it from the perspective of a doctor, and see what they go through. It wasn’t predictable, at all, and I appreciated the originality, especially for being in a genre where so many books seem the same. This one had a fresh, distinctive flavor to it. Recommend. (4 stars)

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William H Coles is a really good book. Very interesting…maybe too interesting, as at times I almost felt a little lost as to what exactly was going on. It was very complex and with interweaving plotlines with lots of twists and turns. All very good things for keeping me at the edge of my seat and totally in tuned to the book, but there were some places where I had to go back a re-read what had just happened because I felt confused. LOL but it might have been me. It was so good that I might have just been reading too fast! But it was unpredictable and different than anything else I’ve read in a long time, if ever. Yeah in a way it’s a romance story, and you might think those are a dime a dozen. But it is the unique medical background and complex subplots and flawed, interesting characters that make this a remarkable and original treat. I’ve read three other books by Coles as well and they have all been excellent. Recommend. (4-5 stars)

    – Flawless. I don’t give out effusive praise to just any book, and I usually try to point out the weaknesses as well as the strengths. As far as weaknesses goes, in my opinion the only one was that it was over too soon for my liking! I wish this book was about twice as long, but I know it wouldn’t have worked that way, and it didn’t need to be longer. For the strengths, well, the list is long. It’s smartly and beautifully-written, yet not overdone. I thoroughly enjoyed the accurate world-building (of the medical/doctor experience), and all the interesting characters who came into the mix. Some are more fully developed than others, but all had authentic personalities. That ending had my eyes popping open wide, ha! Great voice and I was impressed with the editing for the most part… if there are any mistakes they are very minor. Great job. (5 stars)

    – I’ve read a lot of literary drama, and I’ve read a lot of romance, and even medical-based novels (or books featuring doctors or hospitals, etc…). But I’m hard pressed to remember one that was not only crazy intense and gripping, but so well written, some parts almost make me feel like I’m right there in the story with Mike, Clayton and Catherine and everyone else. This is a dark, intelligent story that is both easy and entertaining to read, yet deeply intense at the same time. I thought the story to be extremely well-rounded with different topics, from drama in surgery, to marital affairs, to family strife and professional crisis, and the characters are nicely fleshed out (no cliché stock characters here!). Warning, this novel is dark and has its twisted moments. It can be downright shocking. But it is a powerful read, one with an excellent payoff at the end. I would certainly recommend “The Surgeon’s Wife” for fans of literary fiction. (5 stars)

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William H. Coles is an intense and compelling page turner– 100%. It was different from what I normally read, but it sounded good and I liked the opening sample so I’d thought I’d give it a shot. Well it did not disappoint, and I got actual chills several times. I thought the writing was surprisingly strong, and the plot was evenly- paced with short chapters (scenes?) that kept me on my toes. I thought Mike and Clayton were great characters and things that happened were completely unpredictable yet totally realistic (not contrived). The descriptions and actions seemed so real, at times I almost forgot I was reading a novel. It was tough to read at some parts, only because the writing felt so real it was super unsettling. But I’m glad I read it and I can’t really think of other authors or books I would compare it to, just solid writing, great characters and a unique plot. I have another book by Coles on my Kindle and I really excited to read it now. (4-5 stars)

    – Amazing. Disturbing. Haunting. This is a book that I won’t easily or soon forget. It and the author William H. Coles has branded a part of my psyche with his dark and gripping and evocative tale unlike anything I’ve read. I admit I’m fond of reading about characters who are flawed or have issues, or are disturbed (they are just so interesting!) and once again Mr. Coles did a wonderful job of bringing the drama to some complex and engaging characters. I liked that it wasn’t like every other ‘medical/romance’ story out there, and at times had a more surreal, literary bent that goes deeper and explored more of the human psyche and condition. Almost philosophical at times, yet highly readable. Liked the journal entry where we see more of Clayton’s character and his feelings for Catherine – gave him more depth, I think. Some proofing errors but nothing too awful. I’d definitely be interested in reading more from this author to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve. Highly recommend. (4-5 stars)

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” is very different from the books I’ve been reading lately. This book will get inside your head and probably make you angry a few times, and maybe even sadden or horrify you with how dark people can be. There is no “being a bystander” in this novel…Coles pulls you into the intense, high-stakes world of medicine and surgery and romantic complications that rival only the professional ones and won’t let you escape.  This is a book that genuinely kept my interest, and after I put it down (once – to eat dinner) I was eager to resume where I’d left off. A must-read for fans of literary drama, with a romantic and medical element. Some minor language/violence – nothing gratuitous (4 stars)

    – Okay, wow, I loved this book! I was pulled in from the opening pages and couldn’t put it down until I’d reached the end! I loved that although this was a pretty common theme for a drama story (romantic infidelity, personal/professional conflict) it was so original in the setting and the characters, it was a real breath of fresh air! Also, I loved how many twists and turns there were, and that I wasn’t able to figure out how it was all going to work out until the end.  Mike is a flawed, yet sympathetic lead and even though I wasn’t a fan of Catherine (like Rosie better) I think Catherine’s storyline seemed straggly anticlimactic (no spoliers). Like what happens to her at the end is barely mentioned – strange. Anyways, it is written very well, both stylistically and in tone than other books, and with more accurate detailing and quick energy than I’ve read in this genre lately. Very impressive. Now I’m really a fan of William Coles’ books! (5 stars)

    – Excellent writing, intriguing plot, vivid details, and charmingly original characters. “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William H. Coles is an intoxicating, fast-paced literary delight that will suck you into the story before you know it! I’d planned on only reading a few chapters for the night, but ended up reading all of it…. and yeah, try sleeping after that! Haha.  It was very easy to fall into, and my curiosity was piqued right away with the drama (and strained relationship) with Mike and his mentor Clayton, and we can tell right away that he has a connection with Clayton’s wife, Catherine (ergo the book title). Mike is a likable protagonist (but we see other characters’ POVS and stories as well) and I appreciate the fact that his actions make sense, even if we don’t always agree…(I see this all too often where I’m shaking my head at the MC wondering what they are thinking and it seems contrived for the sake of drama) There was none of that here and it was intelligently constructed in a way that kept me intrigued. This book is on the shorter side, so it’s a pretty quick read, but certainly memorable and makes an impact. (4 stars)

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William Coles is equal parts beautiful and depressing.  Unnerving and comforting. Familiar, yet original. I liked how Mr. Coles was able to so vividly describe the characters and scenery (specifically in the medical world and the detailing on that)—- felt very authentic and this gave great credibility to the story as it all sounded and felt very natural. I felt like I was really inside the story, and it wasn’t boring at all, but most of the real crazy action happens in part 3, towards the end of the book. Great tension, and I was actually really happy with the ending as well. Could use a little better proofreading but nothing that ruined the overall experience for me at all.  I look forward to reading other books from Mr. Coles soon. (4 stars)

    – For me, “The Surgeon’s Wife” had many of the necessary ingredients to be a hit for me, but something left me feeling sort of flat about the whole thing. Almost like the most pivotal scenes were too rushed, and there were some scenes and characters (and some chit chat, filler dialogue) that added nothing.  Even the scene that was supposed to be dramatic with some ‘deaths’ left me feeling a bit detached and removed from the action. But as the storylines started to mesh together, I realized just how well-constructed this story was, and done in a way that puts a new spin on a traditional romance story. The characters were unique in their own right, and believable to a point. Overall I can say that I think it’s an interesting story, but the execution just didn’t resonate with me in a way that I’d hope for. (4 stars).

    – An interesting and unique twist on a typical ‘romance story’  THE SURGEON’S WIFE by William H. Coles grabbed me from the opening pages and held me hostage until the jaw-dropping ending! (What the heck?!)  I love it when a book can totally suck me in like that, and it was never predictable of boring. I won’t re-hash the plot, but this is definitely an intelligent complex, character-driven drama with many layers that will satisfy almost any reader looking for an incredibly well-written book that takes you on a mind-bending and heart wrenching journey. Great characters, narrative, and brisk dialogue. You can tell that the author is very astute when it comes to exploring the nuances of relationships with doctors and the stuff they deal with and how it affects their personal lives. How can it not? Can’t wait to get started on Mr. Coles’ next book. I’ve read several already and they have all been really good. (5 stars)

    – I really liked “The Surgeon’s Wife” by W.H. Coles, and read it from beginning to end in one night! It was well-written and easy to read. I liked the characters of Mike and Catherine (and Rosie and Clay even…) and was caught up in their bizarre drama. I’ve never read a book that was so medically-based as this one was and it added a great flavor. The narrative flowed well and it kept me guessing right up until the end. I’m happy that it wasn’t predictable and cliché like so many stories in this genre are these days. I was genuinely shocked by the ending and wished there was more! A must read for fans of the literary genre. (4 stars)

    – I found myself wavering around while reading “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William H. Coles. At first I was immediately grabbed into the story, and became immersed in the intense and dramatic world building and plot development. But there were times I felt the story wasn’t as focused as I’d like, with some conversations and scenes maybe weren’t necessary and perhaps could have been eliminated to tighten the storyline some. But at the same time, the pacing was fast (liked the shorter chapters) and there were some intricate plot twists and some definitely crazy developments toward the end. It felt fresh and unpredictable, always a nice experience. Good writing, but could use some light editing. (3-4 stars)

    – Another riveting character drama from William Coles that entertained and challenged my psyche! I was so pleased while reading this book how Coles took real chances with his characters and stepped outside the standard norms in creating his ‘villains’ and ‘victims’… they aren’t good or bad, they are real and human and flawed and very relatable. These characters are fleshed out and real (even for not being ‘real’). The unexpected twists and turns kept me on my toes and reading way later than I intended to during a work week. But who needs (or can) sleep when you’ve got a great story on your hands? Although it felt a bit abrupt, the ending was satisfying and surprising—A definite plus in my opinion. All in all a very good read that will appeal to fans of romance, drama, medical fiction, literary fiction. (5 stars)

    – Woah… what an insane book! Holy bananas!! Okay, I don’t even know where to begin because so much happens and I don’t want to give anything away… “The Surgeon’s Wife” by author William H. Coles is one of the most original and just flat out interesting literary novellas I’ve ever read. I liked it for so many different reasons, first the writing was outstanding – very confident and authentic (especially in terms of the medical background). The strong word choice and fluid prose makes it a very easy book to sink into. There are enough descriptions where you can picture everything perfectly, but not so much that it bogs down the pacing. I wish I knew what the characters looked like better though, because some of them I had hard time imagining them and I like to do that. I liked that there were things I haven’t seen in other books like this before and it just felt more “intelligent” than others I’ve read. Even though it’s not a ‘happy’ book, it is real and raw and speaks to the heart. I feel like this would actually make a cool movie. Highly recommend. (5 stars)

    – I was hooked from the first pages of “The Surgeon’s Wife” and my interest never faded for a moment! I loved the creative and strong characters and plots that continued to build and shock and surprise. Just when you think you know what’s happening, something comes along to throw a wrench in it. This is good because I HATE books that are super predictable. And this one isn’t at all. Although there are some familiar themes and tropes at play, the author brings a fresh voice and makes it all his own. I’ve read a ton of lit fiction over the years so I’m rarely surprised by anything anymore but I can say that this author managed to do it. I appreciated the brisk pace and the descriptive details that really brought the story to life. Will be interested in seeing other books by this author. Recommend for anyone (adults) who enjoy a well-written, character-driven novel with unexpected twists. (4-5 stars)

    – I really liked this book by William H. Coles, and honestly the more time that passes, the more I think I like it… I finished last week, but it is really sticking with me for some reason, and I think I’ll re-read it again soon. I like that it isn’t too long, but you sure experience a lot in this shorter book.  “The Surgeon’s Wife” stands out as having more “character” and “depth” than most novellas I’ve read. It was totally unpredictable and not at all contrived. The writing is very good and natural sounding…. I did notice some proofing errors, but nothing that diminished my enjoyment any. The ending had my jaw on the floor and I was hoping there is a sequel in the works… is there?? I hope so! (4 stars)

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” is the first book I’ve read from this prolific, award-winning author William Coles, but it certainly won’t be the last! (Actually I’ve already started on another of his!) I thought the storyline and the plot development to be very well done and thought out. I feel like this level of complexity with the various characters and overlapping plotlines/ personal drama could have easily ended up badly, but instead I darn near gobbled the whole book down in one evening. There were some minor editing and punctuation things, nothing too major, and I really liked the unexpected ending. Bittersweet and awesome. Recommend. (4-5 stars)

    – I just realized as I finished this book that this is literally the first story with a sort of ‘medical’ theme that I can remember reading. And I quite liked it! Overall the world(s) and storyline(s) the author created was brilliantly imagined and fully-developed, impressive for such a short book – he really delivers on the character drama and makes great use of his pages and doesn’t waste a one. I was caught up in the drama and the intrigue, and thought the characters were quite believable. I’m not usually a fan of books that shift character perspectives along the way (feels a little head-hopping to me) but once the story really gets going you see how well it all works together. Great characters, (but some were better than others) (4 stars)

    – William H. Coles demonstrates a strong and almost addicting narrative style and great attention to detail in “The Surgeon’s Wife” that kept me eagerly turning the pages of my Kindle late into the evening. The narrative prose is vivid, and the characters really move the story forward in a compelling and engaging manner and they were the type of characters with jobs and personal drama that I haven’t read before, so that was really interesting. While I do think some parts could have been pared down some, and there were some proofing errors I noticed, this did not negatively impact my liking the book, and I will happily read more from Mr. Coles as soon as I can. He has demonstrated a remarkable ability to not only write well but he can also craft the type of book that goes deeper than just the superficial and touches on real issues and peoples’ lives in a very believable way. (4 stars)

    – I confess to being a hardcore fantasy junkie, so getting me to read anything other than that is always somewhat of a challenge. But this summer I promised myself to branch outside my normal comfort zone and read new authors and genres. This author had been getting a lot of buzz lately and his books are well-received… and while I can’t exactly nail down the genre (other than it is literary fiction that features doctors and hospital drama and relationship drama) I was interested after the first couple of pages because of how the author pulls us right in and makes us part of the story off the bat. I thought “ooh this is exciting” so I kept reading. It did slow down a little after that, but that was just so we could get to really know the characters and their roles/relations and see their story unfold… and crash into each other. Before I realized it I was completely caught up in this riveting story. The author has genuine talent in creating believable scenes, which is crucial in trying to connect with the audience. There is a genuine authenticity to the characters, even when they seem far-fetched, and the story shows a lot of heart. I enjoyed it through to the conclusion and liked how it seemed to bring Mike back with (someone) but was kind of vague…   Glad I stepped out of my comfort zone here and I hope to read more of these types of stories from Mr. Coles in the future. (5 stars)

    – “The Surgeon’s Wife” is an amazing book! I loved the way this author writes, and the suspenseful plot kept me on my toes. I read it in one night and wish there was another book after this one–I know the author has written many others, but I’m curious what will become of Mike now. I feel so invested!! I liked how the chapters were short and the descriptions were clear. This book is written very literary-style, I could totally picture the scenery and characters perfectly. If I had one complaint it was at times I thought the narrative was too dense and dragged on and we needed higher stakes action more frequently…I would have liked more immediate danger – we certainly get it toward the end (a lot) but I would have liked more evenly paced. Nothing horrible, just my opinion. But I liked how this was a tragic romance with drama and intellect and successful people who lead dynamic professional lives. A cool combination that I haven’t run across too often. Oh, and I wish it were longer.   But on the whole a great book that I really liked and would recommend to others. (4-5 stars)

    – This was a great change of pace for me, as this was one compelling, dramatic tale that I couldn’t put down! I did have to have some patience in the beginning until I felt that I was more caught up in the thrust of the story, but I enjoyed the easy flow, and unique narrative structure and plot of “The Surgeon’s Wife”, and really liked the characters! Happy that they were not one-dimensional and stereotypical, but relatable and real even when they weren’t being very nice. Just real people making mistakes, acting inappropriately, having ‘bad’ urges and desires, making dangerous choices, etc…always makes the story better! Although it doesn’t exactly end on the happiest of note, (not sad or bad, just wasn’t what I was expecting) it works perfectly for the tone of the book and of Mike’s personal and romantic journey. So pleased to see how many other books William Coles has written. Ready to read more from him! Recommend to mature readers of literary novellas (4 stars)

    – This book was great, a real surprise for me, as I haven’t read anything from this author before, and there is no real description of what the story is about on the Amazon book page. So I went in pretty blind. What lovely prose and vivid atmosphere William Coles weaved into this action packed, character-driven novella! This is one of those books where a quick summary of the plot doesn’t do it justice at all… there is much more to this book that you really have to read in order to experience. It’s hard to describe though, and there are a few separate storylines that happen simultaneously, But the way it ties together with all the characters is very cool… totally makes it a more interesting, dynamic story. Was shocked and saddened at a few things (no spoilers) but the ending makes me hope for a happier future? (5 stars)

    – I read “The Surgeon’s Wife” in one sitting. It was THAT good! One thing I really love is when I stumble across an author or book that comes up with new and creative ways to improve upon existing themes. This is wonderful because there are certain tropes, like romance, love, hate, passion, good/evil, which will never go out of style. But sometimes you can feel like you are reading the same story over and over. Well this was not the case with “The Surgeon’s Wife”! I felt like I was reading a wholly original and creative almost “cautionary” tale, if you will. Great blend of personal and professional drama that is well-written and has great flow throughout. I wished it was longer, but I highly enjoyed this book and think other will too. Not graphic or gratuitous, but probably best suited for adults. (4-5 stars)

    – For me this book was just okay. I liked the overall premise and thought it had a lot of potential, but something just failed to grab me the way I thought it should. (Note, my sister read it right after me and loved it…so there you go.) I thought there was too much “telling” of events instead of “showing”, and was always kept at arm’s length from the action…like it was happening around me but not to me, if you know what I mean. Maybe it was because of the multiple pov’s and third-person omniscient narration, but I never quite knew what character I was “tuning into” (although Michael is definitely the lead), and that is something that is important for me to do, and I wasn’t a fan of the ending.  So much of this is probably just my personal preferences, as it was a decent story and as I mentioned my sister loved it, and I do give props for the excellent writing. It just wasn’t my cuppa. (3 stars)

    – Okay thank you, this book totally rescued me from a reading slump! I swear the last 5 or 6 I’ve read I’ve put down and had no interest in in continuing past the half way point. This definitely wasn’t the situation here with “The Surgeon’s Wife” by William Coles! From the very first page the action flowed nonstop, with great character development and enough of a ‘hook’ (romantic, professional and personal with the characters) that made me feel like I wanted to know how it would all turn out. And in no way could I have predicted some things going down the way they did! Crazy! And sad and tragic at times. A fast read, (I think it is technically a novella) but with a fully developed and surprisingly complex plot. Not generic or cliché at all, even though there are plenty of “familiar elements” necessary for the genre. Solid editing and formatting. I was impressed with this author’s writing style and will look for more works from him in the future. Recommend. (5 stars)

    – I loved this book! I read in in one night and couldn’t get enough! I loved how the author William H. Coles writes, so accurately descriptive and with such passion (and it’s really dramatic at parts), so we want to read more in order to find out how the characters are connected and why it’s happening and what they will do when the S&%# hits the fan (figuratively speaking).  It was really creative and well-executed, and I loved the short, tight scenes. It made me just want to keep reading and reading, and I had to see how everything fell into place. Catherine – augh! She frustrated me for some reason. I was not disappointed by the bittersweet ending and would love to read more books from Coles in the future. (5 stars)

    – I’m a huge fan of lit fiction, so this is a genre I’m fairly familiar with. Although “The Surgeon’s Wife” lacks the luscious lyrical prose and character depth of others I’ve read, nonetheless, it was an engaging novel that held my interest and made me think. – certainly, introduced me to many new situations, and I liked seeing action unfold from the other side of the stethoscope (so to speak) I enjoyed the various POV’s Coles employs to show us the different motivations and ramifications of the unfolding course of action, and how the storylines weave together in a tension filled climactic, shocking ending. At times I thought the narrative could have used some trimming, and I would have like to see more dialogue with the characters to progress the plot, versus the narration pulling us forward (more toward the end). But overall was nicely done and I’d like to read more from Mr. Coles. (4 stars)

    – William Coles crafts an authentic, engrossing novel that was such an interesting blend of almost everything, from romance to danger to suspense, to complex medical happenings… it is really hard to just sum up or categorize it easily. That said, I did enjoy it very much once I was all the way done, but there were several parts where I wondered what was going on and did feel confused by things. I liked the characters, but couldn’t quite figure them out, which is perhaps the author’s intention. There were a few editing things, nothing too serious at all, and overall was an enjoyable, and very different, type of romance and drama story. (3.5 stars)

    – I loved “The Surgeon’s Wife”! I’ve read several books by William H Coles and liked or loved them, but I think that this one is my favorite so far. It just was so well-crafted and felt ‘smoother’ than some of his others. And I like that it actually felt unique and so many times the characters ended up surprising me with their actions. Coles isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and pace his characters in some tight situations, and sometimes with tragic results. I read so much lit fiction it all starts to seem sorta the same after a while. One thing I though was cool was how there were basically a few main storylines happening at the same time, but it is all connected. Not just a ‘romance’ or a ‘medical drama

  9. kandscreeley

    Review from
    Human nature has always been fascinating to me. What makes people do the things that they do? This is the type of issue that William H. Coles explores in his book The Surgeon’s Wife.
    Though this book is not full of action, it does have violence and turmoil. The themes are dark and confusing as is much of humanity. Yet, the author treats this darkness in a way that doesn’t have you walking away depressed. (I find that this is often the case after I watch an episode of Law and Order: SVU.) I appreciate that, as so many times when discussing human nature, it’s easy to feel hopeless. Mr. Coles, though, manages to find the pinpoints of light in the darkness and bring those to the forefront.
    I very much enjoyed reading The Surgeon’s Wife. I found only 2 errors in the whole book, leading me to believe that it was professionally edited. That coupled with the wonderful character development leaves me with no choice but to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I’ve always said that any genre of book can be enjoyable as long as there is good character development even if it isn’t your preferred genre. William H. Coles proves that over and over in his works.
    Read the entire review here…

  10. kislany for

    Review from
    The Surgeon’s Wife by William H. Coles is a dramatic tale of two surgeons caught up in a maelstrom of friendship, deceit and grave mistakes.
    I picked up this book because I love medical mysteries and thrillers. For a while, I even had flashbacks of reading one of Robin Cook’s older books involving malpractice, the death of patients, and a deadly mystery surrounding the hospital. Yet, The Surgeon’s Wife is more a dark drama involving a decaying friendship and a romantic triangle, with some well-fleshed out characters that we learn to care about quite early in the book. Mike is an honest guy who wants to do right by everybody. But he can’t make everyone happy; someone’s got to lose. Catherine is a complex character who is enjoying the upper lifestyle her husband’s wealth and status offer her. Still, Catherine is not merely a spoiled trophy wife; she has a mind of her own and her own accomplishments as well. Those, however, are buried under a veil of sexism by her husband’s peers. Even though she has done much for the establishment, Catherine will always remain the “Surgeon’s Wife” for everyone else.
    Read the entire review here…

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