The Good Fight
Who doesn’t love a good opposites attract romance? It’s one of my favorite tropes in fiction, so it’s a good possibility I was predestined to like this book. With a hero who is as comfortable throwing punches in the ring as he is behind a desk and a neurosurgeon heroine, I snatched it up and enjoyed it immensely.
Though he’s a little rough around the edges, Oscar “Oz” Hall is a renaissance man who lives in a shabby town badly in need of renovation and revitalization. He’s not afraid to fight, but he’s intelligent, health conscious, and civic-minded. While shopping for fresh produce in a neighboring city, an unfortunate incident with a watermelon cart sends him to the emergency room for x-rays.
Susan Jones has lost a bet and is forced to cover the shift of another doctor in the ER when Oz arrives on the scene. He likes the unflappable, efficient doctor despite the less than warm, fuzzy vibes she emits, and instinctively knows any advances he might make toward her will be met with resistance. Hence, he hatches a plan to woo her gradually.
Told entirely from Oz’s point of view, The Good Fight focuses on his drive to create a rooftop garden and community space for his economically depressed town. Though she’s at first reluctant, Susan joins Oz in helping to renovate an abandoned building and turn it into a community center. Their scenes together feel organic and allow the sexual tension between them to build. Oz wants Susan badly, but her emotional walls are high and she makes it clear anything more than a physical relationship is unwelcome.
Being quite the charmer, Oz wears her down and they begin spending time outside of the community center. What I really liked about their relationship is that they both make mistakes, sometimes big ones, yet somehow manage to work through them. It all feels real, the small amounts of friction coupled with larger mistakes. Neither tries to justify their actions and each one learns and grows over the course of the story.
Susan might be a brilliant neurosurgeon but she isn’t good with people which causes problems in a professional capacity as well as in her personal relationships. She frequently comes across as hard and unemotional, yet there is passion underneath the chilly exterior and Oz is determined to unlock it. She’s initially difficult to warm up to since she keeps an emotional distance. This is effective since the reader is experiencing meeting her through Oz’s eyes, but it also makes her a pretty unsympathetic heroine to start with. I eventually came to appreciate her, though, and she begins to lower her ice queen facade, so Oz is able to reach the passionate woman beneath.
The Good Fight, the third and final book in the Time Served series, is a solid romance based on a turbulent relationship between two very flawed individuals. The conflicts and misunderstandings feel genuine, which makes the conclusion all the more satisfying. The reader will turn the last page certain that whatever comes next, Oz and Susan will handle it and ultimately triumph.