My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an exceptionally well written book, well crafted, detailed and knowledgeable about the world of medicine. I’m just not sure that it really qualifies to be designated as a romance though when the romance element of it doesn’t occur until the final 20% of the book.
Having said that, there is a fair bit of UST from about 30% in but, for the overwhelming majority of this story, it focusses on the difficulties of being in the final stages of training necessary to become a surgeon.
Now, that doesn’t make this book unreadable, on the contrary, this book is eminently readable, it’s engaging and Neil, the protagonist, is a very likable chap, he’s dedicated to his calling, he’s frustrated at his lack of personal life and he’s aching with the attraction he has for a senior colleague.
But nothing happens, absolutely nothing at all, for pretty much three quarters of this book. Yes we get glimpses into Neil’s head and his pining for Eli, but that’s it, apart from one stolen kiss which causes all sorts of angst.
The romance, when it does eventually come, is so well done I felt cheated to have not had more of it. Neil and Eli eventually realise that love is something that they should be willing to fight and make sacrifices for and, if they don’t, they could end up an eminently respected – but incredibly lonely – medical expert.
The book also covers a long time span but the jumps are well done and never feel jarring, the segues from one year to another are logical and explained well in the narrative.
I did feel the secondary characters were also well developed, although they were sort of pushed to the side a little once the romance did kick in.
The epilogue goes some way to mollifying my pouting over the romance because it is beautifully done and a real HEA where we find out just how aware each man had been of the other and it picked up nicely on what was happening with the secondary characters from earlier, which was again a great touch.
Overall this is a very impressive debut novel, I just wish it were perhaps better signposted that it’s not a romance in the traditional sense, at least not until near the end.