Prescription: Marry Her Immediately
Prescription: Marry Her Immediately is the second entry in Jacqueline Diamond’s Babies of Doctors Circle series. In this book we meet Dr. Quentin Ladd, a neonatology specialist, and psychologist Amy Ravenna, his best friend. Having just finished his specialized training, Quent is enjoying the perks of being a single doctor until he realizes he would like to spend more time with his orphaned niece and nephew, currently living with his sister-in-law. As Quent doesn’t trust the young woman’s judgment – the babysitter she hired was rather neglectful – and decides he should care for the children. The sister-in-law, however, has other ideas on the subject, believing that Quent’s a playboy and therefore not prepared to take on two small children.
Amy Ravenna’s life is very much on track, just as she planned, with the exception of one thing: she’s in love with her best friend, who is clueless about her true feelings. It doesn’t help that, as the only girl growing up in a houseful of brothers, she doesn’t know how to relate to men on a romantic level; indeed, she’s still a virgin. So she settles for her friendship with Quent – until he asks her to marry him in order to show that he’s indeed stable enough to care for the children.
Though perhaps featuring a contrived plotline, the book begins well enough. It’s fun, quick, and the hero’s likability is immediately established when in his first scene, he marvels at the beauty of giving birth. Quent is fun-loving, sexy, and smart, and Amy is his match, even if she is a tomboy (or perhaps because of it). Their friendship is one of the things I liked best about the book; watching these two spend their spare time together is a nice change of pace from most romances. And it’s not only Amy who has a secret yen for her good friend – the feeling is mutual.
Unfortunately, when they begin to act on this mutual attraction, the book becomes less interesting – not a good thing to occur in a romance novel. Neither Quent nor Amy wants to ruin their friendship; both begin to hold back for their own reasons. As they pulled away from each other, I pulled away from them. The book improves after Quent tells his sister-in-law he and Amy are to be married. The pretend engagement and subsequent marriage leads Amy and Quent to put aside their differences and regain their friendship for the sake of the children. It also allows them to work out their problems for real in order to become a true married couple.
The beginning of the story moves at a quick pace – there’s lots of dialogue between Amy and Quent to show off their friendship and the attraction neither of them can see from the other. But things slow down considerably in the middle of the book – the classic (and dreaded) “sagging middle” that plagues stories that aren’t deep enough to flesh out a full book. For a time there I wanted to yell at the characters “Get on with it already!” The pace once again picks up when the couple begins to work on their problems, and I once again began to care about Quent and Amy, but there’s no excuse for a book this short to bog down.
Author Diamond is clearly capable of drawing readers into her stories, but keeping that interest alive was elusive in Prescription: Marry Her Immediately. The likability of her characters and that she made an “only in romance novels” situation seem believable is to her credit. I’d definitely read another of her books, but would hope the entire book would be as good as the start of this one.