Truly Madly Montana
Reasons I was really excited to pick up this book: hot Aussie, hot Aussie in scrubs, non-traditional heroine, heroine with disorder, small town cast of characters, librarian secondary hero, characters who actually talk to each other, and friends-to-lovers trope (well, kinda). Reasons the book then let me down: they didn’t actually talk to each other, people kept trying to hide things that are incredibly stupid to hide in a relationship, small town gossip, sexuality stereotypes, and prejudging.
First we meet Millie Switkowski, nurse and med school student from the tiny town of Bear Paw, Montana. Millie is looking for a summer internship and manages to land one in her hometown hospital in the ER, under a former colleague and friend, who also happens to be getting married shortly. Since he’s on his honeymoon, another doctor colleague is called in to supervise Millie – hot Australian Will Bartlett. As a MontMedAir (Montana Medical Air) doctor, Will is used to stressful situations. As a hot guy, Will is used to women throwing themselves at him. When Millie does neither, he immediately pegs her as a lesbian, and decides she will be his new best buddy.
Here’s the thing. I spent far too much time just wanting to smack Millie upside the head for pretending to be a lesbian, and wanting to punch Will for being a pre-judging ass. Perhaps that’s not how he’s meant to come across, but that’s really all I could see. In his mind, no make-up plus wearing a tux (to a wedding, as best man) equals either transgender or lesbian. Well, props to the author for making these options, but it just did not work for me. Here’s a brief re-enactment of that moment in the book (paraphrased):
Will: (thinking) No make-up, wearing a tux. Transgender? Oh, lip gloss. Lesbian, then. Millie: (stuttering) Oh, hi Will. Will: Glad you are out and proud! Me: Whhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa….? No, no no no, no, please, don’t don’t don’t… Millie: Um. Yup! Out. Proud. That’s me! Me: ………..this will only end in tears.
Will and Millie spend a lot of time together outdoors – canoeing, hiking, etc – but when Will finds out Millie is diabetic, he is both incredibly angry and incredibly anxious about the whole situation. Of course, it doesn’t help that he finds out when Millie is basically in crisis, and Millie reacts poorly to the whole thing. She’s dealt with her parents and friends thinking more about the diabetes than about her as an independent person, and every question feels like a personal attack for not taking better care of herself. So when Will starts it too, does she address it immediately? Why no, of course not!
Oh, and then Will finds out she’s not a lesbian and they start sleeping together.
Once they both get over their individual cases of stupid, I liked both Will and Millie, and liked them as a couple. It just took so very long to get there. They both have major communication issues, Will has some serious survivor’s guilt, and Millie needs to work on her self-confidence before considering a relationship. So says my inner armchair psychologist.
We also get a secondary couple – Ethan, the town librarian, and Tara, the new deputy – who feature pretty strongly. Unfortunately, their individual stories, while an important part of their relationship, wasn’t really something that fit here. I think they would do much better in their own book, honestly. Ethan does play a huge part in Will and Millie hooking up, though, so I guess there’s that.
So, long story short, Truly Madly Montana was okay. There were some really interesting moments, and things that could have been epic, but something about it fizzled, and I just never got past that.