Gemini is a medical mystery, a love story, and an exploration of family in all of its myriad definitions. A gripping fictional narrative that will spark conversations about the very real moral dilemmas we face in this age of medical miracles.
An unidentified woman is hit by a car and abandoned along a rural highway in western Washington. She is life-flighted to a Seattle trauma center, where she’s admitted to the intensive care unit overseen by Dr. Charlotte Reese, who battles to keep her “Jane Doe” patient alive while a police investigation tries to discover who is responsible for this hit and run—a charge that could turn into murder if this gravely injured woman dies. Charlotte also senses a more covert battle brewing with the hospital’s legal department when they assign a professional guardian to stand in lieu of Jane’s unknown family and make critical decisions about her care. In frustration, Charlotte and her boyfriend Eric, a science journalist, begin their own efforts to find Jane’s family, veering across the professional boundary between physician and patient. As their lives become more entangled, the truths Charlotte learns will radically alter her own life more profoundly than they alter her patient’s.
Now available in paperback
Praise for Gemini, an Indie Next List for March, 2014 and Library Reads Top Ten list for March 2014
The Seattle Times “Cassella is a gifted writer, gorgeously animating her landscapes and the forces of nature, underlining her theme that even medicine cannot save her characters from mortality.”
The Boston Globe “A suspenseful narrative of emotional depth and moral complexity . . . Cassella has keen, beautifully rendered insights into genetics, neuroscience, and medical ethics . . . For all the characters in “Gemini,” life is about the resilience to continue picking up the pieces.
Publishers Weekly: “A book at turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, it invites us to accept, if nothing else, that the only way to live is to “cling to every moment even as you [leap] into the next.”
Library Journal, Starred Review:“[Gemini] poses interesting medical questions and offers deepening mysteries to keep the reader turning the pages.”
Booklist: “A compelling look at the collision of a physician’s professional and personal lives . . . a uniquely involving read.”
Kirkus: “This engaging medical mystery makes. . .compelling points about economics and sociology.”
Library Reads, A March Top Ten Reads Pick: “Book groups will devour this compulsively readable novel with thought-provoking themes. Perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult and Chris Bohjalian.”
Indie Next March Pick: “A medical mystery, a love story, and a novel of depth and complexity — Cassella manages all of this in Gemini.Full of suspense, heartbreak, insight, and a gripping, unexpected ending, Gemini is a pleasure to read.”
The Pilot[South Carolina]: March books, March 4, 2014 “You will love learning the story of these two women and how their lives intersect and what brought them to that point in their lives. I couldn't put this book down!”
Bookreporter.com: "Carol, a practicing physician (an anesthesiologist), takes on a complex medical issue weaving a strong story from it. I loved it."
Bellingham Herald, review: “Cassella has created a work of insightful characterizations, finely crafted language and socioeconomic contrasts that are detailed in almost Dickensian fashion.”
RT Book Reviews: “Cassella delivers a mind-bending, emotionally charged story featuring tough medical and end-of-life issues. The plot slowly builds as we learn the backstory of a critically injured patient and the dilemmas facing her doctor. Not your ordinary mystery, this is an unusual plot and a great, thought-provoking read.”
Daily Candy, Best Books of March 2014
Harper’s Bazaar Book Club Pick, April, 2014
Women’s Day Magazine Book Club Pick, April, 2014
Spartanburg 85-26 (Carolinas Entertainment) Book Pick, April, 2014
“Once again, Carol Cassella has written a novel full of gorgeously rendered characters, fascinating medical detail and tour de force plot twists. From its gripping first pages straight through to its stunning conclusion, Gemini is an unforgettable novel—a morality tale, a mystery, and a love story that will leave readers breathless.” —Maria Semple, New York Times bestselling author of Where’d You Go Bernadette?
“With big themes, an unforgettable setting, high stakes, mystery, suspense, heartbreak, human triumph, and rare insight, Gemini surprises and fascinates at every turn. Nobody writes about the miracle of the human organism like Carol Cassella. Gemini is a novel sure to keep readers flipping pages deep into the night.”—Jonathan Evison, New York Times bestselling author of West of Here
“Gemini is an engrossing, compelling page-turner of a novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. Carol Cassella's expertly crafted story about love, genetics, loss, and the search for identity will resonate deeply with readers.”― Kristin Hannah, # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Fly Away and Home Front
"Carol Cassella has written a wonderful novel. A deeply moving story about the heartbreaking pursuit of happiness by a courageous woman without means. Gemini is a page turner, I had a hard time putting down."― Jan-Philipp Sendker, international bestselling author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
"Carol Cassella's novel taps into the very core of every person's hopes and dreams...and their fears. Her beautifully crafted story explores the unbearable fragility of the human body, and ultimately celebrates the sturdiness of the human spirit. Gemini is a triumph of literary mastery and emotional resonance."― Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Apple Orchard
"A natural born story-teller, Cassella's vivid novel, beautifully set in the Pacific Northwest, creates a haunting backdrop for this spellbinding examination of how family, loss, genetics and ultimately the triumph of love can connect and confound us all."― Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of In an Instant andThose We Love Most
Book Blogs Reviews:
Serendipity “A real page turner . . .Five stars.”
Desktop Retreat “A mature and thoughtful read, highly recommended.”
Bibliophile The Sea “Carol Cassella's novels [are] riveting."
BrodartVibe “The twist near the end of this book left my mind reeling. I promise you won’t want to put it down.”
Word Joy “The suspense works, the setting is starkly beautiful, and the characters give the reader a lot to think about.”
Cristi's Reviews “Gemini would make a fantastic book club pick, …. I absolutely couldn't put it down."
PaperBreathers “Gemini is a fascinating and intriguing story that . . . explore[s] the complexities of platonic and romantic love. Cassella skillfully weaves two stories together to create a bittersweet and emotional read."
FollowTheClue “The profound storyline pulls no punches as the protagonist condemns society for the impact of poverty and the lack of education on health care decisions especially when these choices (or lack of) effect vulnerable dependents.”
Note from Carol
Gemini was inspired by my own work as a doctor, witnessing the endless difficult decisions we have to make now that medical science has changed the natural course of trauma and disease, and the sometimes painful hindsight we are left to cope with. But I was driven to write this book now, at this point in my life, because I’ve reached that age at which too many friends and family are being diagnosed with cancer or heart disease. Now it’s my turn to go down that decision tree on a personal level, and it’s a lot harder!
Gemini was also inspired by my life as a parent of two sets of twins, one fraternal and one identical. Although I understood the biology of this just fine, well before I got these four unexpected blessings, raising my family has offered plenty of surprises. As much as we understand about human biology, as integral as it is to our fate, there will always be far more that remains unknown. As a happy consequence, writing fiction about factual science can make for marvelous mysteries.