By Carol Cassella
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781416556145, 320pp.)
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
From national bestselling author Carol Cassella comes the story of one doctor’s struggle to hold her family together through a storm of broken trust and questioned ethics.
Claire is at the start of her medical career when she falls in love with Addison Boehning, a biochemist with blazing genius and big dreams. A complicated pregnancy deflects Claire’s professional path, and she is forced to drop out of her residency. Soon thereafter Addison invents a simple blood test for ovarian cancer, and his biotech start-up lands a fortune. Overnight the Boehnings are catapulted into a financial and social tier they had never anticipated or sought: they move into a gracious Seattle home and buy an old ranch in the high desert mountains of eastern Washington, and Claire drifts away from medicine to become a full-time wife and mother.
Then Addison gambles everything on a cutting-edge cancer drug, and when the studies go awry, their comfortable life is swept away. Claire and her daughter, Jory, move to a dilapidated ranch house in rural Hallum, where Claire has to find a job until Addison can salvage his discredited lab. Her only offer for employment comes from a struggling public health clinic, but Claire gets more than a second chance at medicine when she meets Miguela, a bright Nicaraguan immigrant and orphan of the contra war who has come to the United States on a secret quest to find the family she has lost. As their friendship develops, a new mystery unfolds that threatens to destroy Claire’s family and forces her to question what it truly means to heal.
Healer exposes the vulnerabilities of the American family, provoking questions of choice versus fate, desire versus need, and the duplicitous power of money.
Carol Cassella majored in English Literature at Duke University and is a graduate from Baylor College of Medicine. She currently practices anesthesiology in Seattle and is a freelance writer specializing in global public health advocacy for the developing world. She is the mother of four children, and is working on her third novel. Visit the author at www.carolcassella.com.
“It’s tough to follow a spectacular debut like Oxygen, Carol Cassella’s striking first novel, with an even stronger second novel, but she’s done it with Healer. There are no blatant good guys and bad guys in Healer, no simple blacks and whites. Cassella’s characters come in myriad shades of gray that make up the complex psyche of all human beings. And when money competes with good intentions, Cassella doesn’t shy away from negotiating the murky ethical areas where profit and altruism collide, weaving questions of immigration, health care, and the power of big pharma into a page turning drama. I highly recommend this compelling new book by this remarkable author.”
—Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain