As Joyce Novak’s daughter, Marnie, completes medical school and looks ahead to a surgical internship, her wedding, and a future filled with promise, a breast cancer diagnosis throws Joyce’s own future into doubt. Always the caregiver, Joyce feels uncomfortable in the patient role, especially with her husband and daughter. As she progresses through a daunting treatment regimen including a biopsy, lumpectomy, and radiation, she distracts herself by planning Marnie’s wedding. 

When the sudden death of a young heroin addict in Marnie’s care forces her to come face-to-face with mortality and her professional inadequacies, she also realizes she must strike a new balance between her identity as a doctor and her role as a supportive daughter. At the same time, she struggles with the stark differences between her fiancé’s family background and her own and comes to understand the importance of being with someone who shares her values and experiences. 

Amid this profound soul-searching, both Joyce and Marnie’s futures change in ways they never would have expected.


Praise for Bedside Manners

In this wonderful debut, Heather Frimmer channels her experience as a physician to humanize the stories about breast cancer presented in the media. Bedside Manners is a medical story, a mother-daughter tale, and a coming of age narrative, all rolled up into one absorbing story. Joyce and Marnie are both touchingly real and relatable. I rooted for them both up to the very last page.
— Alisyn Camerota, author of Amanda Wakes Up, cohost of CNN’s morning show “New Day"
Frimmer’s debut novel takes on cancer, interfaith relationships, and mother-daughter dynamics with grace and humor. Bedside Manners is a genuine depiction of love, fear, and hope, and both educates and satisfies in presenting how we endure illness and bad choices-by forging essential human connections and trusting the most important organ of all, our heart.
— Nina Sankovitch, author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair and Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Gripping, tender, and insightful, Bedside Manners is a testament to the intensity of a career in medicine and the transcendent bonds of family … my absolute favorite kind of book.
— Kimmery Martin, author of The Queen of Hearts
Drawing from her experience as a radiologist, Frimmer’s poignant debut examines a beautifully authentic mother-daughter relationship and the challenges inherent in a breast cancer diagnosis. Her writing is both heartfelt and astute—this book will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
— Emily Liebert, USA Today bestselling author
Frimmer’s experience as a physician serves her well, and adds real gravitas to her story, which builds with intense excitement at every turn. . . . This is one of those books you can’t wait to pick up and won’t want to put down. Frimmer’s sophisticated, descriptive and insightful writing shines, and will grip readers from page one all the way to its breathtaking conclusion―a delicious page-turner that will seduce you into wanting to read more of this writer’s work.
— Judith Marks-White, author of Seducing Harry and Bachelor Degree
A warm and insightful glimpse from both sides of the examining table. Frimmer merges the experiences of doctor and patient as this mother-daughter relationship faces a frightening diagnosis.
— Leah DeCesare, author of Forks, Knives and Spoons
This book captures the anxiety and fear I see in all of my patients with breast cancer. The alternating story line highlights the struggles of medical training and learning to be a good doctor. I didn’t want this book to end.
— Richard Zelkowitz, MD, breast oncologist at Norwalk Hospital