Best Intentions by Erika Raskin: A Review

Marti is mother to three children and wife to a doctor but she is tired of being just the doctor's wife and often wishes she could use her social work training to help others.  A chance encounter leads to a job in the hospital where her husband works but Marti soon becomes too involved in the lives of her clients and is asked to be at the delivery of one of her client's babies.  When something goes wrong during the delivery, Marti finds herself accused of murder but there may be something more sinister going on at the hospital.

The beginning of the book was a bit slow but towards the middle of the book, it started to get really interesting.  The book touches on some really important issues.  In the hospital where Marti works, doctors are routinely asked to work so many hours that they are overtired and can't work.  While extending the hours of physicians is often necessary in order to meet the demands of patients and can contribute to more opportunities for learning for the resident doctors, doctors who are too tired to work can turn to drugs to stay awake or make poor decisions because they are tired.  This puts their lives and the lives of their patients in danger.  The story was really interesting and the ending was quite surprising. 

The character of Marti was a bit of a cliche.  She is the bleeding heart that wants to be seen as looking out for everyone but really takes a patronizing attitude with those she is tasked to help.  At one point, Marti is accused of being patronizing and thinking that she knows more than the rest of society and, I have to say, I have to agree with the assessment.  Knowing more than others and guiding their decision making may be required in the social work profession, at times, but Marti takes it to the extreme when she takes a too familiar role with her clients and makes decisions that they later regret.  She makes a habit of criticizing the very wealthy, connected group of which she is a part of.    That her connections and luck got her where she is, too, is an idea that is completely lost on her.  On top of this, several comments were made that seem to unfairly stereotype southern culture and many of those stereotypes are plainly untrue and offensive.  In addition, while Virginia is technically south of the Mason-Dixon line, Virginia is not quite as rooted in southern culture as the author makes it out to be.  I wish that a more accurate picture Richmond were represented and, it would have been nice to incorporate some of the landmarks.  While I am not from Richmond, I grew up in Northern Virginia and, therefore, have some concept of the area.  I have never heard of a "Rides and Park" and a more popular theme park in the area would probably be the nearby "King's Dominion".  This book references a rich, out of touch, culturally insensitive community in Richmond; a Virginia which I was never familiar with in my entire childhood and young adult life.  I am not suggesting that it doesn't exist but I am suggesting that the area may not have been as accurately described as resident would have liked it to be portrayed to the world.  A book that seems to be so obsessed with a group of people from a particular area could have referenced just a few landmarks, at least.

While I didn't think Marti's character was realistic enough and wish that Virginia was better and more respectfully represented in the book, I still did enjoy the story.  There were several parts that threw me for a loop and I had no idea that it was coming.  I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys women's fiction or someone who likes courtroom dramas that also have a family element.

My rating:
★★★★☆

Reviews of more books like this one:
You Were Here by Gian Sardar
Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

This book is expected to be released in August and can be pre-ordered from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in order to review it but that did not have an effect on my review of the book.  This is my honest opinion of this book.  I am a participant in the Amazon Affiliates program.  By clicking on the Amazon link and purchasing this product, I receive a small fee.  I am not associated with Goodreads or Barnes and Noble in any way and the links provided are available strictly for your convenience and not to imply a relationship of any kind.

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