We figure out early on that Laura and Tom went through medical school together. There was apparently some spark of chemistry between them back in the day that led to flirtation and then – a really awkward parting shortly before graduation. They haven’t seen each other in the intervening seven years until Laura goes to a job interview and sees Tom there, too. As they get reacquainted with one another during the interview process, sparks begin to fly in a big way.
The rekindled flame with these two felt very real even if things did move very quickly at first. Believable too was all the baggage these two had. Laura had essentially put her career on hold to care for her ill grandfather and now, after his passing, the emergency room position at Yoxburgh Park Hospital represents her chance at financial stability as well as the ability to stay in the home where she’s put down roots. Laura had assumed Tom was safely established in London and that she would never see him again, so seeing this skilled and very confident rival show up at her interview shakes her confidence.
On the one hand, I got frustrated at Laura’s immediate assumption that she would never get her dream job now that she had to compete with Tom. However, I can’t fault her too much for the imposter syndrome since I’ve had these moments, too. They’re a little cringeworthy to read, but living them feels that way, too. The author made Laura feel very human from the outset and that ultimately endeared her to me.
On the one hand, conflicts in the book tend to get resolved in a fairly pat fashion, which will likely frustrate some readers, especially since the leads get thrown some pretty big curveballs. If I was looking to wrestle with something meatier, I’d probably have been frustrated by this. However, since I needed a comfort read, reading a book where characters learn to communicate with each other and knock down obstacles in their paths was good for me. That’s not to say that the leads don’t deal with some pretty big issues. After all, we have two intelligent professionals trying to plot career paths, we have family issues and a big medical diagnosis all thrown into the mix. Still, even with all that, the book definitely has a feel-good quality about it. The more I think about it, the more I believe that I came away from the story with this feeling because the HEA as written by the author felt secure even if the characters were dealing with continuing complications in their lives.
And one last note I couldn’t help throwing in here as an American reader: This novel is set in a British hospital. While I had to root around on Google to figure out some of the terminology being used, one other cultural difference I noted and appreciated was the health system itself. There are scenes in this book where patients come into the emergency room with major trauma and the attention of the medical team can be focused solely on treating them. No one is worried about families being wiped out by medical bills, what the co-pay is, getting preapproval from insurance or any of the rest of the daily nightmares I see in this country. I wish that part of the setting weren’t a fairytale in my country.
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