Saturday, August 6, 2022

Mini-Review: Best Friend to Doctor Right

Best Friend to Doctor Right by Ann McIntosh is the literary equivalent to mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese.  Basically, it's comfort food in book form. Like a warm fuzzy blanket wrapped around you on a cold, dreary morning. I didn't read this so much as inhale it.

Mina Haraldson was a talented surgeon until an accident crushes one of her hands and it has to be amputated. On top of that, she finds our her high school sweetheart husband has been cheating on her and wants a divorce. That divorce fires up Mina's blood and it carries her through for a hot minute, but now it's finalized, her hand is still amputated and she has no career. She's more than a little depressed.

Arriving on her Toronto doorstep is childhood friend, Dr. Hezekiah "Kiah" Langdon. They've been best friends and in each others' pockets since the day young Mina stood up for on-scholarship new kid Kiah at their posh private school. The Haraldson household was a sanctuary for Kiah growing up, his father dead from a heart attack and being raised by an emotionally abusive mother. He knows Mina is floundering and he's there to help her. He offers her a temporary teaching/consulting job at the hospital where he works on the Caribbean island of St. Eustace. This is her BFF Kiah, plus it's a miserable winter in Toronto and exactly what else does she have to do - so we're off to the races.

The romance is fairly straight forward. You have two friends who start to recognize their their feelings for each other are changing. The complication, of course, is not wanting to muck up the friendship and the fact that Kiah lives in St. Eustace and Mina still has a life (sort of) back in Toronto. Her gig on the island is temporary, a way to shake her out of her depression and help her recognize that while her surgery career is over, her doctor's mind wasn't amputated and she has a lot of to offer.

Kiah is also raising his niece after the death of his sister and brother-in-law (trigger warning: murder/suicide) and living with his grandmother. His relationship with his mother is non-existent, not wanting to expose his niece to her toxicity, but also because he feels she played a hand in his sister's death.  How? Well, this is less clear and my one quibble with this story.  Is Kiah's mother a self-absorbed, hateful bitch?  Yes. But beyond that? Not so sure. Mental illness is mentioned, but not with any depth or specific diagnosis and after a while she starts to read like an Evil Romancelandia Mother Bogeyman - with a lot of the Langdon Family Trauma being laid at her feet.  Look, I get it. Evil Romancelandia Mothers are basically their own trope, but I needed more. This aspect of the story felt a little too shallow.  I will say there is no miracle family reconciliation at the end (which, thank you sweet baby Jesus). Evil Mama stays firmly off page and there's no Kiah giving her a second (third, fourth etc.) chance and welcoming her back into his life or the life of his niece.

But, minor quibble. Harlequin Medical Romances are quick reads (on par with a Presents or Desire) and this was a comforting friends-to-lovers romance.  Even with the darker angsty edges peaking through I'd classify this as a feel-good story, one that was a lovely way to spend a quiet afternoon.

Final Grade = B

1 comment:

azteclady said...

This sound lovely, comforting indeed.

evil mothers: yeah, well, what's new; mother are either dead saints or living demons, more's the pity. Nuance? don't know her.