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Of Flesh and Blood

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A hundred years ago, Dr. Evan McGrath realized his dream of establishing a hospital in the Pacific Northwest, a hospital that would never turn away a patient in need. But the personal cost was steep: Evan lost the love of his life while making a powerful enemy of the hospital's financier, Marshall Alfredson. Today, the Alfredson Medical Center is internationally renowned fo A hundred years ago, Dr. Evan McGrath realized his dream of establishing a hospital in the Pacific Northwest, a hospital that would never turn away a patient in need. But the personal cost was steep: Evan lost the love of his life while making a powerful enemy of the hospital's financier, Marshall Alfredson. Today, the Alfredson Medical Center is internationally renowned for its care. The two founding families remain faithful to Evan's vision, but their history is clouded by forbidden love, conflict, and betrayal. Crisis is besieging the Alfredson. A decision by Dr. Tyler McGrath, a child cancer specialist, leaves a young patient's family shattered. Dr. Jill Laidlaw, Tyler's wife, is a researcher poised to offer fresh hope to multiple sclerosis victims—including a former presidential frontrunner—until rumors of research fraud endanger her career. And in the face of temptation and career demands, Tyler and Jill are drifting apart. Devastating family secrets, doomed relationships, and present-day medical disasters threaten not only the Alfredsons and McGraths but the legendary hospital itself.

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A hundred years ago, Dr. Evan McGrath realized his dream of establishing a hospital in the Pacific Northwest, a hospital that would never turn away a patient in need. But the personal cost was steep: Evan lost the love of his life while making a powerful enemy of the hospital's financier, Marshall Alfredson. Today, the Alfredson Medical Center is internationally renowned fo A hundred years ago, Dr. Evan McGrath realized his dream of establishing a hospital in the Pacific Northwest, a hospital that would never turn away a patient in need. But the personal cost was steep: Evan lost the love of his life while making a powerful enemy of the hospital's financier, Marshall Alfredson. Today, the Alfredson Medical Center is internationally renowned for its care. The two founding families remain faithful to Evan's vision, but their history is clouded by forbidden love, conflict, and betrayal. Crisis is besieging the Alfredson. A decision by Dr. Tyler McGrath, a child cancer specialist, leaves a young patient's family shattered. Dr. Jill Laidlaw, Tyler's wife, is a researcher poised to offer fresh hope to multiple sclerosis victims—including a former presidential frontrunner—until rumors of research fraud endanger her career. And in the face of temptation and career demands, Tyler and Jill are drifting apart. Devastating family secrets, doomed relationships, and present-day medical disasters threaten not only the Alfredsons and McGraths but the legendary hospital itself.

30 review for Of Flesh and Blood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Remember those old insider’s industry novels such as Hotel, Airport, Strong Medicine by Arthur Hailey and other medical sagas written by authors long gone? I used to love those kinds of books and have missed them so I am glad Daniel Kalla took a departure from his popular medical thrillers that dealt with superbugs, pandemics, medical terrorism, and plagues to write this novel. This is a multi-generational novel set in a large medical complex and teaching hospital outside of Seattle. The story p Remember those old insider’s industry novels such as Hotel, Airport, Strong Medicine by Arthur Hailey and other medical sagas written by authors long gone? I used to love those kinds of books and have missed them so I am glad Daniel Kalla took a departure from his popular medical thrillers that dealt with superbugs, pandemics, medical terrorism, and plagues to write this novel. This is a multi-generational novel set in a large medical complex and teaching hospital outside of Seattle. The story pits two families against each other over the fate of the hospital and exposes their secrets while at the same time the complex is battling a nasty virus which is striking the patients.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    Meh. I'm not sure how to review this one. It's the present day life of 2 families who together built a hospital 100 years ago. The present day segments are full of everyday worries and conflicts that could be easily resolved without drama and very often are. Drama is a key to family sagas and medical stories; making this book rather lackluster. Even the elder Dr. McGrath's story (which I have a much too close understanding of) is flat and unrealistically resolved. The history segments are normal Meh. I'm not sure how to review this one. It's the present day life of 2 families who together built a hospital 100 years ago. The present day segments are full of everyday worries and conflicts that could be easily resolved without drama and very often are. Drama is a key to family sagas and medical stories; making this book rather lackluster. Even the elder Dr. McGrath's story (which I have a much too close understanding of) is flat and unrealistically resolved. The history segments are normal family history. There's no excitement or real tension to pull the story along. All in all, a light, beachy, travel type of book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Frances Rosenberg

    TOO MUCH STORY!!! Trash! Like a Soap Opera! Medical descriptions of interest to some but most considered them unwanted information! These are the highlights from our review of the April book selection “Of Flesh and Blood” by Vancouver Emergency Room Physician, Dr. Daniel Kalla. The lack of character development was considered problematic and many considered the story difficult to maneuver. The Holocaust information was considered gratuitous but relevant with respect to Erin’s post traumatic dist TOO MUCH STORY!!! Trash! Like a Soap Opera! Medical descriptions of interest to some but most considered them unwanted information! These are the highlights from our review of the April book selection “Of Flesh and Blood” by Vancouver Emergency Room Physician, Dr. Daniel Kalla. The lack of character development was considered problematic and many considered the story difficult to maneuver. The Holocaust information was considered gratuitous but relevant with respect to Erin’s post traumatic distress syndrome (PTSD). There were a couple of members who felt that the medical details might equip them to perform an emergency appendectomy under primitive conditions. For most members, the book lacked literary excitement, humor or any incitement to identify with the characters. Generally speaking, this is not recommended book, however for those who are intrigued by the medical matters it is an OK read. Notwithstanding the lack of enthusiasm for the book, the group was mindful of the day-to-day difficulties that health care providers face.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Amazing!!! I could NOT put this book down. The characters were interesting, the plot had twists and turns. I loved how the past explained how everything got to where things were in the present.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tawny

    Too many story lines going on at the same time. I think that the story would have been better told in a series of books instead of putting in all in one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Recently, I've come across a bunch of Kalla's books, after having not read one of his for a while, and this was the 3rd of 3 with none related to each other. In 'Of Flesh and Blood', Kalla introduces two families, the McGraths and the Alfredsons who were instrumental in founding and maintaining the Seattle-area medical center named for the latter. For the most part, the modern-day McGraths are the focus of the book, specifically patriarch and administrator William; son Tyler, a pediatric cancer Recently, I've come across a bunch of Kalla's books, after having not read one of his for a while, and this was the 3rd of 3 with none related to each other. In 'Of Flesh and Blood', Kalla introduces two families, the McGraths and the Alfredsons who were instrumental in founding and maintaining the Seattle-area medical center named for the latter. For the most part, the modern-day McGraths are the focus of the book, specifically patriarch and administrator William; son Tyler, a pediatric cancer specialist and his wife Jill, a researcher whose focus is multiple sclerosis; and daughter Erin, a cardiac surgeon recently returned from a mission trip to Africa. Each is dealing with a personal crisis, for Tyler and Erin it is choices they make that affect the wellbeing of their patients, Jill's latest research project seems too good to be true, and William worries over an upcoming vote by the Alfredson family which may end up shutting down the medical center. Since the Alfredsons' role in the medical center is a financial one rather than a medical legacy, Kalla involves them through a telling of the history of the Alfredson. The now elderly granddaughter,Dot, of founder Marshall Alfredson relates what she knows about the hospital's beginnings to her great niece, a historian who is interested in writing a book. Dot lives in Marshall's home, where he first met Dr. Evan McGrath, a 19th century doctor who came calling after daughter Olivia came down with an acute case of appendicitis. Despite being a married man, Evan falls for the young lady under his care, who finds medicine to be fascinating but her father feels it is not a career for a woman of her social class. In an effort to get what he wants, Marshall offers to finance the hospital Evan desires, provided it is located far away and Evan ceases all contact with Olivia. Of course, Evan agrees, but that wouldn't make much of a story. Overall, it was an enjoyable book, and I liked that the focus was mostly on the medical angle, although I did think some of the stories were a little overblown, particularly the infection that was supposedly rampant in the modern hospital. As I work in a hospital, where there is a threat of this infection always, I don't perceive it as the same potential epidemic as Kalla made it out to be. Also a little on the sappy romantic side when it came to the Evan/Olivia story, and a lot of tragedy in the lives of both the 19th and 21st century characters. Not sure there will be other books continuing on this story, but I would certainly read them if there are.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Toni Osborne

    This powerful new suspense, the 6th novel written by physician Daniel Kalla, is a family saga set in the world of medicine. This multilayered story is told with a physician's point of view and portrayed with all the triumph and heart break of life and death. The author has combined his experiences in the ER with a devastating tale of family secrets, doomed relationships and present day medical disasters. Although not intended as an autobiography, I feel it represents reality in many ways. The se This powerful new suspense, the 6th novel written by physician Daniel Kalla, is a family saga set in the world of medicine. This multilayered story is told with a physician's point of view and portrayed with all the triumph and heart break of life and death. The author has combined his experiences in the ER with a devastating tale of family secrets, doomed relationships and present day medical disasters. Although not intended as an autobiography, I feel it represents reality in many ways. The setting for this drama is the Alfredson Medical Center, a fictional facility on the outskirts of Seattle. The novel starts with the background into and the birth of a now 100 + year hospital, the brain child of Dr. Evan McGrath, whose dream was to never refuse a patient in need. The trials and tribulations Dr. McGrath endured to bring his dream to life and the price he paid such as losing the love of his life and the continual friction with the hospital financier, Marshall Alfredson, creates a compelling story. We follow the story from a dream to a renowned medical center through its financial crisis that threaten its future, its scandals and conflicts, medical disasters that shattered individual lives, cover-ups and the invasion of a super bug, all stories on their own. Through all of this the two families settled their differences one by one and remained faithful to the ultimate dream. We can all see the comparison in this fictional story with what we are living today. "Of Flesh and Blood" is mostly character driven, a multigenerational story with multiple protagonists most related by blood or association, a family based story where women play an important part in the equation. One character stands out: Dot Alfredson, a spunky and eccentric ninety year old, a collector of erotica memorabilia that loves playing a cat a mouse game with her nice. It is her narrative that skilfully bridges the present to the past in the long family history. This gripping story expertly intertwines romance, history, conflict and ethical dilemmas, Mr. Kalla brings a refreshing style to medical thrillers that I enjoy quite a bit, he is one of my favourite medical novelists.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Coffman

    This book really intertwined romance, family history, conflict and even ethical dilemmas. I liked the setting of the hospital and how it as a different perspective than I had read before. At times I felt the medical descriptions were too involved (especially in the first few pages), but overall really liked the pace of the book. While the current-day plot was progressing, there were flashbacks from when/how/why the hospital was founded and their trials and tribulations. It reallly came together This book really intertwined romance, family history, conflict and even ethical dilemmas. I liked the setting of the hospital and how it as a different perspective than I had read before. At times I felt the medical descriptions were too involved (especially in the first few pages), but overall really liked the pace of the book. While the current-day plot was progressing, there were flashbacks from when/how/why the hospital was founded and their trials and tribulations. It reallly came together and it was interesting to note the parallels from the early beginings of the hospital to similiar conflicts that were seen in present day (such as the rapid illnesses of spanish flu and "c. diff").

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I really liked this book. At first I wasn't sure if I would due to the flashback format. The story was interesting and engaging - I actually took this book on a flight to Boston and I rarely read on a flight, but it held my attention the entire way. At times there was a bit much going on with threads of several people's lives, and I wish a few of them could have bbeen developed more. I did laugh tho - the dog in the early part of the book was listed as being an Australian Shepherd - I have one o I really liked this book. At first I wasn't sure if I would due to the flashback format. The story was interesting and engaging - I actually took this book on a flight to Boston and I rarely read on a flight, but it held my attention the entire way. At times there was a bit much going on with threads of several people's lives, and I wish a few of them could have bbeen developed more. I did laugh tho - the dog in the early part of the book was listed as being an Australian Shepherd - I have one of those. And in the book the dog slunk out of a room with his tail between his legs. Um, Aussies don't have tails!? Minor detail in an otherwise well written book. I would recommend this book! *this book was a first reads early release copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I could not put this book down. The author is very clever in how he switches back and forth between the past and the present. The themes of the past are met with the same theme in the future. I am thinking of the 1918 influenza epidemic, and the present day hospital infections that are drug resistant. Of course the love stories are also so compelling. I liked the ending of the book where everything seems to work out. How does Daniel Kalla have the time and the energy to write books and also prac I could not put this book down. The author is very clever in how he switches back and forth between the past and the present. The themes of the past are met with the same theme in the future. I am thinking of the 1918 influenza epidemic, and the present day hospital infections that are drug resistant. Of course the love stories are also so compelling. I liked the ending of the book where everything seems to work out. How does Daniel Kalla have the time and the energy to write books and also practice medicine?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susanhayeshotmail.com

    My first book by this author and I understand it is slightly different than his other offerings. If we could give 3.5 stars I would, I did like it a lot but not quite to the really liked it status. I do that a lot, waffle between ratings, don't I? Well, this one took me a little while to get into, which accounts for the waffling. It was an engaging story, multi layered with flashbacks to the hospitals founding days. A couple of plot surprises, family secrets and a seriously scary superbug, paral My first book by this author and I understand it is slightly different than his other offerings. If we could give 3.5 stars I would, I did like it a lot but not quite to the really liked it status. I do that a lot, waffle between ratings, don't I? Well, this one took me a little while to get into, which accounts for the waffling. It was an engaging story, multi layered with flashbacks to the hospitals founding days. A couple of plot surprises, family secrets and a seriously scary superbug, paralleling nicely with the Spanish flu, a good but not great read for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lori Wilson

    Very long, but very good story of a hospital and the families who run it. This book took me a while to get into it, but once I did, it was hard to put down. The current personal problems of the main characters of the hospital are interwoven with the problems encountered by the family that originally started the hospital. I plan on looking into more of this author's books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Owlcourt

    - Enjoyed it. I liked the family aspect, the medical theme, and the historical flavour . I also liked most of the characters. I have to confess that I am a little biased in favour of Daniel Kalla's books, since he lives and practises in the city where I live :) (I often wonder how Daniel Kalla has time to write his books, since he works as an ER doc in a very busy urban hospital.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    A family saga about two feuding families set in the world of medicine from the end of the 19th century until present time. There are thrills in the ways that various major diseases threaten the life of the Alfredson Medical Center, as well as romance, some of that doomed. And there are characters that seem life-like and that one comes to care about.

  15. 4 out of 5

    C.

    A great book for all, especially for medical fiction readers. This is not your typical medical thriller. It is deeper and more mature. Daniel Kalla brings a refreshing style, a great story with very believable characters. There is a book within a book that will totally captivate you. I loved it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    I enjoyed the history behind the story and how it played into today's world, good premise, a few times it was a bit technical with medical jargon, but all in all, I did enjoy it, especially the history and the twists I didn't expect.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stacie (BTR)

    This is a cute story--more about family than a hospital. I enjoyed the historical fiction aspects of the book. However, I thought there was one plot line too many with the grandmother retelling the grandfather's experience in Germany. But, this was a minor blip in an otherwise well-told story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Well Read Southerner Blog

    I wish this family saga had kept on going. I didn't want it to end. Kind of hard to get into at first with all the back and forth between different branches of the family and different centuries but I enjoyed it very much. The medical drama was good.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shanna

    Unfortunately, I couldn't get into this book, but I will get back to it at some point. I blame my current mindset for not being able to finish it. I am starting a big field expereince in the fall, so I am currently focused on teacher stuff. I will reread this book, and do it justice!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    My second favorite of his books. I really really loved the Olivia and Marshall story. I think it is a real accomplishment to write such a book. Such a journey for every novelist. It was good. I could see some interesting truths in the book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cris

    This book took me awhile to get into (I think because of the back and forth between present time and the flashbacks) but once I did it was pretty interesting, with stories of romance and family dramas.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Hea

    History, medicine, and hospital administration - three of my favorite things! Made me run out and get another of his books, which I didn't enjoy as much.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Very well written account of how a family run hospital was created and how it and the family were involved right up to present day.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Really enjoyed this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laine

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It felt "familiar" in a sense. It seems to contain a bit of everything, drama, sadness, vindictiveness, etc.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    Reads like the "Monday Night Movie of the Week." Very formulaic, good for the beach or pool, perhaps.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Good family/medical story. Interesting back and forth between the present and past. Not quite as good as Far Side of the Sky, but I liked it anyway.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Meh - this book was ok. Took me forever to finish it. I didn't love any of the characters, the story wasn't very interesting....

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Interweaving the story of one family from the 1800's to present day, this story reveals the circumstances surrounding the building and maintaining of a private hospital/clinic. Very enjoyable read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Robin Wilson

    Thought it might get more interesting but it didn't. Rather dull read

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