The Doctor’s Wife by Elizabeth Brundage is is an intriguing story, though I felt brutalized by the reading of it.
It is a tangled web of emotions and relationships from which none of the characters will come out whole.
The author wants the reader to sympathize with women who feel they must resort to an abortion. She also wants us to hate pro-life characters whom she paints as murderous, insane, and sheepish religious zealots. There are no characters who make a rational argument that the life of an unborn child just might be of value. Thus, the world view presented is skewed.
The hero of the story is a hard working ob-gyn who volunteers as an abortionist in a town that believes abortion is wrong. The antagonist is a mentally ill woman who seems to have gone insane after having an abortion at age fourteen.
The plot thickens as the doctor’s blowsy and beleaguered wife falls into the arms of a talented, but rakish, artist, who became famous by painting heart-wrenching portraits of his wife in the nude. He isn’t what he first appears to be.
The story held my interest throughout, though I knew the ending had to be what it turned out to be. I was disappointed that the real villain isn’t even mentioned in the end and he is not brought to justice. The artist was the only character to gain my sympathies (other than the doctor’s children), but even he was flawed, made poor choices, and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Still, it was a good read.