Desert Isle Keeper
Island Fling With the Surgeon
I’ve read more than a few category romances (mostly Harlequin Presents) set in lush, tropical locales. However, many of those books featured Western tourists discovering themselves and finding love in a beautiful, foreign place. In this novel, the fictional island of St. Eustace is where the lead characters live, and they work at a hospital, taking care of their friends and neighbors. When the tropical island is home rather than an “exotic” vacation destination, things take on a different feel.
The setup in Island Fling With the Surgeon also takes a familiar plotline and turns it on its head a bit. I’ve read plenty of doctor-nurse romances, but just about all them involve strong male doctors and sensible, sweet female nurses (think Betty Neels). This time around, Genevieve Broussard is a skilled trauma surgeon, and British Army vet Zach Lewin is one of the most capable nurses she has on her team.
Things get off to a fun start with a bit of fake dating. It turns out that Dr. Broussard’s ex-boyfriend dumped her in order to take up with her (now former) best friend, and she decided that leaving New Orleans to start over in St. Eustace would be a good idea. She clearly enjoys her professional life, but since her mother pressures her about her personal life, she has been inventing a relationship with Zach to keep Mom off her back.
No one will be surprised to learn that Mom now plans to come visit Genevieve (Gen), and in a burst of panic, Gen asks Zach to be her pretend boyfriend. He agrees, and the two start getting to know one another. They’ve always worked well professionally, but the scenes between them outside of work are fun – and spiked with chemistry.
This book is delightful largely because it has a wonderful blend of fun romantic comedy moments and serious issues. Gen has had health struggles and lost a relationship, and Zach has had his own toxic relationship. In addition, there are class issues to deal with. As the story moves along, it becomes clear that Gen came from a fairly privileged background in New Orleans while Zach’s father, on the other hand, grew up on St. Eustace before moving to London in search of better opportunities. While Zach’s parents built a solid life for themselves in London, his background is far more modest than Genevieve’s. Zach is proud of his career as a nurse, but there are points in the story where it becomes obvious that he feels a tad insecure. It’s a believable source of conflict, and the author handles it well.
Sometimes in category romance, stories feel a bit too much like insta-love, but this one has a good balance to it. The author does a great job of showing attraction evolving into friendship and fondness, and then into a deeper love and the focus remains firmly on Gen and Zach. However, as the two of them discuss their lives and interact with others around them, readers get to see an entire world coming to life. We see Gen and Zach falling in love with each other, but we also see them as friends, colleagues, and members of families. This made for a richer reading experience.
In the end, I liked both characters. Zach and Gen are both strong people, and as they learn to be honest and to communicate with one another, they become a strong couple. Island Fling With the Surgeon mixes warmth, humor and drama to create a solid romance.