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Extended Audio Sample The Doctor and the Diva: A Novel Audiobook, by Adrienne McDonnell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (826 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adrienne McDonnell Narrator: Orlagh Cassidy Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2010 ISBN: 9781101154632
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A breathtaking novel of romantic obsession, longing, and one woman’s choice between motherhood and her operatic calling

It is 1903. Dr. Ravell is a young Harvard-educated obstetrician with a growing reputation for helping couples conceive. He has treated women from all walks of Boston society, but when Ravell meets Erika—an opera singer whose beauty is surpassed only by her spellbinding voice—he knows their doctor-patient relationship will be like none he has ever had.

After struggling for years to become pregnant, Erika believes there is no hope. Her mind is made up: she will leave her prominent Bostonian husband to pursue her career in Italy, a plan both unconventional and risky. But becoming Ravell’s patient will change her life in ways she never could have imagined.

Lush and stunningly realized, The Doctor and the Diva moves from snowy Boston to the jungles of Trinidad to the gilded balconies of Florence. This magnificent debut is a tale of passionate love affairs, dangerous decisions, and a woman’s irreconcilable desires as she is forced to choose between the child she has always longed for and the opera career she cannot live without. Inspired by the author’s family history, the novel is sensual, sexy, and heart-stopping in its bittersweet beauty.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Filled with frank sexuality and astonishing emotional intimacy, The Doctor and the Diva pulls you in and doesn't let go. This haunting and heartbreaking novel flows seamlessly from the medical consulting rooms of Boston to the opera stages of Italy and to the lush plantations of the Caribbean, sweeping you into a riveting story of complex individuals struggling with multi- layered passions and unflagging dreams. Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light and A Fierce Radiance
  • It's very refreshing to read a serious novel whose author had been anointed with the gift of genuine story-telling. Adrienne McDonnell's The Doctor and the Diva takes her readers into strange and forbidden places, exotic countries and, best of all, the territory of the heart at its most naked and terrifying. Anne Bernays, author of Trophy House
  • The Doctor and the Diva is an incredibly moving tale of passion, regret, and ultimate triumph. I loved it. Adrienne McDonnell has created some of the most memorable characters I've ever met. A superb achievement. Julie Garwood, bestselling author of Sizzle and Fire and Ice
  • Love, the longing for family, the demands of art-in Adrienne McDonnell's absorbing debut, the life of a tempestuous diva struggling to reconcile conflicting desires itself becomes a kind of opera. Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and The Air We Breathe
  • Great storytelling and a very modern heroine-who just happens to be living in an era when women didn't dare admit to wanting it all, much less expect to get it. The Doctor and the Diva has the makings of a big success. Gail Godwin, author of Unfinished Desires and A Mother and Two Daughters
  • The Doctor and the Diva is so beautifully written and lushly set it was impossible for me to put down, and the characters continue to haunt me long after I turned the last page. Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants and the forthcoming Ape House
  • I don't know when I have been so completely entranced and held spellbound by a novel. The Doctor and the Diva is a brilliant, beautifully written story about the passions-career, romance, parenthood-that both unite and destroy lives. McDonnell is a masterful storyteller and an astute historian. This is a major accomplishment and marks the debut of a tremendous talent. Jill McCorkle, author of Going Away Shoes
  • Some novels just naturally enslave you, and this is one of them.... serious and gripping... [a] brilliant debut novel... The Washington Post
  • ...sumptuous... [an] explosive tale... Read the book now, then place bets on when the movie version will come out. Redbook
  • ... [an] engrossing tale. Good Housekeeping
  • This amazing debut novel ... is, quite simply, one of the best novels I've read all year. an Editor's Choice selection, Historical Novels Review
  • Classic storytelling and modern sensibility don't always come in the same package. But readers luck out with The Doctor and the Diva. A book to treasure and recommend. Bookpage
  • Adrienne McDonnell has created a wonderful portrait of a talented and ambitious woman who also aspires to be a wife, a mother and a lover. From the moment we first meet Erika von Kessler, singing beside her uncle's grave, she casts a spell and one of the deep satisfactions of this richly imagined novel is that both her lover and her husband prove worthy of her. The Doctor and the Diva is an irresistible debut. Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
  • The Doctor and the Diva, based on old family letters, takes us on a fascinating journey into the hearts and minds of a woman and a man who commit the unthinkable. Brace yourself for the vortex of their deftly drawn lives. Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Day the Falls Stood Still

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 2/20/2014

    " This book is brilliantly written. The prose is fluid; the characters are believable and human. I felt like I traveled all over the world with these characters, and my heart fell up and down as theirs did. I'm sad it's over! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan Lane | 2/5/2014

    " Ehhh! Hard to stick with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eden | 2/3/2014

    " I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the multiple locales featured in the book. The historical representation of early obstetric beliefs and interventions was interesting and the characters were well-developed. At times it felt like the author tried to fit a little too much into a single novel, which is why I didn't give it four stars, but given that this was Adrienne McDonnell's first novel it was an excellent freshman effort. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marci | 2/3/2014

    " Did not finish. So slow and the storyline was not of my liking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teniya | 1/24/2014

    " I liked how this book traveled to 3 different countries and different life styles. You had the opera enthusiasts in Italy, (I'm a sucker for anything Italy related) the Doctors in Boston and the plantations of Trinidad.The 3 main characters were memorable and at times frustrating. I could never imagine leaving my child to peruse my unfulfilled dreams, especially after the lengths she went through to get pregnant in the first place! Again I find myself wishing I could give it another half star... 3 1/2 stars!! Another Costco choice I was happy with :) I love shopping for books at Costco. I also like the Costco book reviews in their magazine...hmm?? Is there a Costco book-club I can join? lol "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jodie Dickey | 1/20/2014

    " about opera singer who cant fall pregnant and the fertility doctor who falls in love with her. very overdramatic and i found the characters a bit annoying but wanted to see what happened in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Randi | 1/20/2014

    " It was a good vacation book. Not too deep, but interesting nonetheless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 1/19/2014

    " LOVED this book! I would give it 10 stars if I could. Beautifully written, multi-layered story. This is one of the best books I've read this year (right up there with The Kitchen House)! It just transported me back to another place in time. This book is why I love to read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 1/8/2014

    " Great characters, great storyline. Loved it "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 12/29/2013

    " Didn't really like this book. Thought it was slow and not much really happened. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 12/20/2013

    " Interesting romance. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 BecksBookPicks | 12/17/2013

    " This book starts off really good. I was really into it and thoughts this is going to be good! However, suddenly it went straight down hill. When it went down hill, it was hard to get through. I think this story could have been so much better then it was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethany | 12/4/2013

    " Trashy, somewhat painful, but also compelling and well-written. Isn't that the definition of good chick-lit? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krysia | 9/10/2013

    " The book opened well and it was interesting to learn that fertility treatments were somewhat available at the turn of the century. Ironically, the part of the book set in Italy did not work for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura Lee | 2/16/2013

    " Interesting first novel. Quick and interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karyn | 1/3/2013

    " I really liked this. 1900s, explores one obstetrician's experience with newer fertility treatments and his unorthodox / unethical approach to help one couple. The main female character has to choose between having a child/being a mother and attempting an operatic career in Italy. Very readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa Burnette | 12/25/2012

    " I enjoyed this very much, although I definitely couldn't identify with the main character who chose to leave behind her small son to pursue her career. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laurie | 10/26/2012

    " I read this in one sitting...easy-reading. It was ok. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy Friess | 3/8/2012

    " Good enough to finish, well written, and some interesting points to ponder but that's about it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy Zarifian | 9/5/2011

    " I really enjoyed reading this book. It showed the main character as an independent women in a time when they were expected to just stay at home and be mothers.Although predictable at times, there were also some unexpected moments in it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Juli-Ann | 8/27/2011

    " An entertaining read, particularly the scenes in Italy involving her singing. Lush, romantic settings and characters that you aren't sure whether to dislike or cheer on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ngchang | 7/6/2011

    " Good book. Historical story about infertility and travel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynn | 6/21/2011

    " Over-written and unbelievable story line. Disappointing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anna | 5/27/2011

    " There was nothing about this book to recommend it. In a word is was boring -- utterly boring. This book was so dull and poorly written I didn't even bother to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorraine | 4/13/2011

    " Fascinating subject--who would think that fertility procedures were going on more than a century ago. Great writer and great plot. The ethics of the main character is worth discussing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Juanita | 2/5/2011

    " LOVED IT! This was my first book purchase after the Twilight series including The Host. When I say first, it was the first book with the Twilight books that I have purchased in over 25 years. It was amazing and so well written and one of those books you just can't put down. I just loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 2/5/2011

    " Interesting about obgyn issues for this time period. Many of the women were quite racy and daring. Nothing new here but a decent read and I learned about italy and the opera. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debbie | 1/29/2011

    " Interesting story of an obstetrician in the early 1900s, who gets too attached to one of his patients, and how his actions affect the rest of their lives. Interesting premise that takes the story from Boston to Trinidad to Italy and back. Well written and engaging story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarahlweber | 1/26/2011

    " It was pretty good but at points it got wordy and seemed longer than necessary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vikki | 1/18/2011

    " I thought the main character, Erica, was too selfish for me to like. The book started off good, but I lost interest when she left for Italy and left her son behind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 M | 1/16/2011

    " Interesting tale of a couple and their doctor, and the issues of longing: for a child, for a career in music, for lost love. The descriptions of music and a trip to the tropics are particularly lush, and overall it is an enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 12/28/2010

    " Fascinating on several levels, but especially in regard to the medical field. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina | 12/19/2010

    " A great love story, and what people will do for those they love. Wonderfully written, descriptive without being overly done. Made my imagination run. "

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About the Narrator

Orlagh Cassidy is an audiobook narrator who has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration, as well as nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. She is a graduate of SUNY at Purchase and a recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Scholarship. She has been seen on and off Broadway and in films, including Definitely Maybe and Calling It Quits. Her television credits include roles in Law & Order and Sex and the City and as Doris Wolfe on Guiding Light. She has done voice work for commercials in which she is probably best known for her role as the mom in the “BFF Jill” spots for AT&T.