Rachel after a whirlwind romance with Jack is pregnant with his baby. The past year has been hard for Rachel after a long-term relationship break-up, her mother’s illness and death and a mysterious event in her medical career. Rachel no longer works as a doctor, but a secretary at a legal firm and is still very much processing everything that has happened to her. One night she sees the notification of an e-mail on Jack’s iPad and becomes suspicious about what he seems to be hiding about himself. Realising she has not met any of his friends, Rachel tries to dig deeper into his life but is this about her paranoia or is he really hiding something?
As much as parts of this book’s did exasperate me, I couldn’t stop reading it as what could have happened that could be so awful that an otherwise affable Jack has gone to such great lengths to hide? As it is narrated from Rachel’s point of view you, as a reader, are at the mercy of her judgment and to complicate matters Rachel is far from transparent herself, with issues relating to her personal and professional life, which become clearer later on in the book.
It would be easy to dismiss Rachel as whiney or paranoid but the reasons behind her insecurity and her beating herself up are caused by significant issues she has dealt with in a short period of time. Her pregnancy puts the pressure on her relationship with Jack to become all it can be before the baby arrives.
I loved the resulting gray areas that presented in the issues both Rachel and Jack faced and the moral of this story, for me, questioned the vilification of people for choices they made with good intentions, whether it’s right to condemn these characters entirely based on events of their past and their need to be accepted for who they are without judgment. Ultimately the book gave me a lot to think about and for that reason I highly recommend it.
The parts that irritated me were dwarfed by how much I enjoyed reading the moral dilemmas faced by Rachel and Jack and apart from saying the book was verging on being a bit too preachy about the medical profession, obviously written by someone who quite rightly has a great respect and admiration for someone close to them who is a doctor, I found Rachel’s past role as a new paediatric registrar odd. Her relationship with her consultant was odd.
Her singling out one patient as a paediatric registrar with most likely not a huge fraction of the knowledge or experience of paediatric oncology that the paediatric oncology consultant above her has (let alone other more experienced registrars in the department and all the support staff oncology units have thankfully) and going against departmental and GMC guidelines undermined the conscientious part of Rachel’s character that would have known that the diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent poor prognosis it may have can lead to catastrophic outcomes. I know this is fiction but to be realistic enough for me, this would have been, in my humble opinion, on the mind of an ethical doctor like Rachel in the way she is written: thorough and obsessive. As much as I liked this book the odd medicine did detract some of the enjoyment for me, but probably wouldn’t bother less obsessive medics and non-medics.
Overall one I definitely recommend.
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