A woman works diligently to obtain her husband’s release from prison.
In 1998, middle-aged divorcée Doretha “Doe” Vaughn looks for love online and finds it in charming Sam Cawley. When they meet, things click. But there’s a chink in this knight’s armor—Sam pays for dates with cash, has no relatives and makes a slip about prison food. Happily in love, Doe looks the other way, and Sam moves in with her. The two marry in June 2001 and, like any good wife, Doe adds Sam to her health insurance coverage—which eventually leads to his undoing. In May 2006, the truth comes out—Sam Cawley is William Wallace, a convicted felon who was serving time for a drug charge, and who now faces resentencing and charges of identity theft. After William is apprehended, Doe is advised to divorce but stands by her man. As a doctor, her compassion extends to all—“You take care of the victim as well as the perpetrator without prejudice.” Although the book is a novel, it reads more like a nonfiction primer for wives who find out that the old ball and chain has, well, escaped the old ball and chain. The author is also a character in the novel—an interviewer who plans to write a book (possibly this book) about Doe’s story, which is, nevertheless, written here in the first person from Doe’s viewpoint. This literary device serves no purpose beyond letting the reader know, in the preview of Volume 2 of the novel (titled The Doctor’s Fugitive), that Volume 1 (The Fugitive’s Doctor) has been on the New York Times Best Seller List for 27 weeks. In spite of confusing transitions from narrator to interviewer, the play by play of events—Doe’s work as an emergency room physician, her take on the criminal justice system and her fight to free William—is convincing, but the emotionality of the characters is not.
A compelling tale of the ultimate faithful wife, though the telling is hindered by an awkward structure and lacks emotional impact.