This is Barb Lewis and I'm reporting on "A Circle of Wives" by Alice LaPlante.
I picked this fiction book to review because as I was reading it I thought "I know this story!" Truth is stranger than fiction is a saying we all know and it certainly relates here.
I'll start with a bit of my story and how it applies to this book. My daughter had a heart/lung transplant in CA by a prominent, very well respected lung expert for children. He was a big teddy bear of a man, much loved and admired by many. His name was Dr. Lewiston, from Palo Alto.
The main character in this book, Dr. John Taylor, was a prominent,rather large, much loved. very respected reconstructive surgeon for children, from Palo Alto.
From the beginning, we learn that Dr. Taylor is dead from an apparent heart attack. Dr. Lewiston was also found dead of a heart attack.
After Dr. Taylor's death, it is discovered that he was married to 3 wives, living in 3 different cities and having 3 homes. And this is exactly what happened with my daughter's doctor.
I was back in Winlock when I received the call that Dr. Lewiston had died. He was just 52. We had gotten to know him so well over the many months Shannon was hospitalized. I remember being surprised that he took the time to send Shannon a birthday card, knowing how busy his schedule was. They shared the same birthday and he signed it "From one famous American to another!"
It was shocking to find out, at the time of the call, about his 3 wives. We all tried to figure out how he juggled 3 wives, 3 homes, and all the work he did with children far and wide. I would sometimes run into him at the hospital, in the middle of the night, saying "Don't you ever go home?'
This book describes his wives the way it came out at the time, in all the many magazines, newspapers, and a tv movie, about their different personalities, and how they ultimately found out about each other.
So much I recognized except the part, early on in the book, where we find that what appeared to be a heart attack was murder.
I tried to reach the author but as of this writing I have not heard back. It says that Alice LaPlante teaches creative writing at Stanford University, Palo Alto, which is a short walk from the Stanford University Medical Center. While Shannon was hospitalized at the Center for so long, I would walk over to the school campus to relax
and enjoy the beauty of it. This book brought back so many memories, where Dr. Lewiston offered the children and their parents so much hope. He saw a lot of death and I later wondered if that was part of why he did what he did. Many of the reviews for this book state this story is so far fetched. How could anyone not know what their spouse was doing? Just google Dr. Norman Lewiston and you shall see.