Dating the Millionaire Doctor
Dating the Millionaire Doctor is the first medical romance I’ve read, and the medical details acted as a strong undercurrent to the story and really drew me in. This is a tale with a big heart, set in the gorgeous Australian bush featuring a country veterinarian and a high-powered urban anesthesiologist who find common ground and love. Australia worked its magic on these two people and on me as a reader.
Tori Nicholls is a veterinary surgeon in a small town of Combadeen set in the hills near Melbourne. She’s exhausted from the aftermath of the Australian Black Saturday bushfires, six months of nonstop backbreaking work trying to save as many of her wildlife patients as she could. She’s also heartsick from all the loss she’s suffered of the two-legged and four-legged variety.
Jake Hunter is chief anesthesiologist in a private teaching hospital in Manhattan, a wealthy but extremely busy man. He’s on vacation, and is visiting Combadeen in order to look up the two properties he has inherited from his Australian physician father: Old Doc’s Place, which he has leased out to Tori’s wildlife animal hospital, and Manwillinbah Lodge, a resort for the well-heeled.
Jake and Tori meet at a speed dating event, which she abandons partway through, but each creates a lasting impression on the other. Their second meeting occurs during a koala surgery, where Tori’s debriding an abscess in scar tissue, and Jake shows up just in time to intubate the koala and thus save its life. In the space of less than a handful of days, they continue to meet and come to know each other and their vulnerabilities.
Jake has suffered trauma from his emotionally unbalanced mother’s victim complex and estrangement from his father, while Tori still can’t get over the loss of her father, sister, and unborn niece in the bushfires. I loved seeing how these two turn to one another for succor and understanding, while also trying to resist their desire for each other. These tender moments build over time but really go to the heart of their caring personalities.
They give in to their attraction in one night of passion, which is exactly the balm Tori needs to heal from all her trauma and move forward in her life. But when that results in a pregnancy, the couple needs to decide what to do with themselves and their baby. Despite desperately wanting to be together, their two disparate careers look set to keep them apart; he is an urban doctor, she’s a country vet. Which of them will give up the life they have made for themselves so they can be together? As Tori tells Jake:
“I don’t want to make arrangements,” she said. “‘Plenty of doctors have wives.’ What sort of statement was that? My community is here. My work is here. My life is here. It’s not sitting in some drab New York apartment waiting for you to come home at night.”
I enjoyed seeing how well Ms. Lennox sets up Tori and Jake as real people, accomplished, dedicated, and caring. For that Jake is a high-powered Manhattan doctor who was brought up to distrust love and loyalty, he’s a compassionate sweetheart. I appreciated seeing his growing belief in both love and in his ability to love. I also liked seeing how Tori changes from being gun shy of trusting anyone again after her boyfriend’s devastating betrayal to a surety of and reliance on another person.
What doesn’t work so well is the long drawn-out reconciliation that ends up with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and everything tied up in a big bow. As a romance reader, I want closure in a story with a HEA, but I prefer stories where not every thread is sunlight and roses, where there is space for some real living and having to effectuate change. I was disappointed that in a story where the author has the characters so thoroughly grapple with factual circumstances, the ending is delivered in one fell swoop.
However, Ms. Lennox’s work comes across highly recommended, and I intend to pick up more of her medical books. If you haven’t read any of novels, then this is a good story with which to start.