Elizabeth Bevarly is an automatic buy for me, but I don’t exactly know why. I’ve now read six of her series romances. I’ve got her single title releases Her Man Friday and My Man Pendleton to-be-read, as well as a few more of her series releases. Of the six series titles I’ve read, the one I liked best, Beauty & the Brain, received a grade of B from me. I gave That Boss of Mine a B-, but the others – A Doctor in Her Stocking, Father of the Brat, Society Bride, and now, Dr. Mommy – only earned grades in the C range. I have this strong sense that in her single title releases I’ll find more of what I like about her, but nothing is pushing me at this moment to try, and each mediocre series title doesn’t help.
In Dr. Mommy, Dr. Claire Wainwright is reunited with high school and college love Nick Campisano, a police officer on the narcotics beat. He had proposed marriage to Claire at the end of college, only to be turned down when she went on to medical school and left him behind. Neither has loved anyone else in the past twelve years, and when Nick answers a New Years’s Eve call at Claire’s house, it’s kismet, all over again.
The basis for their reunion is a baby left by her young mother on Claire’s front steps. Though Claire is an OB/GYN, babies are foreign objects to her – she feels she has no maternal instinct. Nick, on the other hand, loves babies and kids and is not at all the cynic one would expect of a narc. Claire and Nick are snowed in at her house for a couple of days during which they care for the baby and come to terms with their own unresolved feelings.
The reason for Claire and Nick’s break-up looms large over their reunion, although, in actuality, it is much ado about nothing. “They could have worked it out” was the phrase I kept hearing in my head as I read this book. They never fell out of love, didn’t disagree about anything, and apparently the only reason they didn’t marry originally came down to the fact that Claire wanted to go to medical school. Nick asked her to marry him, she said no – end of story.
Sorry – that doesn’t cut it. As readers, we are not privy to any lengthy discussions about career versus home, or requests that Nick move to where Claire would be going for medical school and her internships/residency. All the reader gets is some vague impression that Claire came from a stilted family atmosphere while Nick came from a loving home. His heart was open and hers was getting there, but swung shut when she went to Yale.
True, this is a series romance that has to wrap things up in 186 pages, and the chemistry between Nick and Claire is strong, and the scenes with the baby are cute, but the lack of a reasonable break-up for this couple initially casts a pall over the book. Even the clever epilogue, when Claire has become a “self-actualized mommy” with rugrats and beanie babies, can’t change the fact that the premise for Dr. Mommy doesn’t quite work.