Where did you get this book: E-Arc from Publisher
Release Date: Out now
Melissa O’Brien hasn’t been on County General’s neuro floor long, but she’s already heard about Dr. Blake van Reenen. Every female patient with a pulse swoons at the mention of his name. Her fellow nurses whisper the fanatic perfectionist has formaldehyde in his veins.
When she finally meets the surgical legend, it certainly isn’t love at first clash. His piercing gray eyes make her shiver—right before his scalpel-sharp sarcasm gets her Irish up. Yet when he speaks to a patient, he magically transforms from demanding instructor of cowering residents to gentle, reassuring healer.
In fact, the conflicting emotions he rouses are so strong, she’s grateful for the time off when it comes time for her to leave for her holiday. But even on the ski slopes of Europe, it seems the fiery redhead and the good doctor are destined to collide…
This Retro Romance reprint was originally published in 1984 by Mills & Boon.”
I’m a fan of vintage Harlequin novels and retro romances so when I saw that Samhain was reprinting older Mills & Boon books I couldn’t resist having a look.
Melissa is the new staff nurse on the neurosurgical ward of County General Hospital and one miscommunication, and a rubber frog later, her first meeting with Blake van Reenen, the senior neurosurgeon of the unit, gets off on the wrong foot. A bit of a convenient meet-cute but they’re called meet-cutes for a reason.
I do love medical romances. This one fell a bit flat in that we didn’t really get more than some neurological terminology sprinkled throughout the read and there wasn’t any real follow through with actual procedures and surgery scenes that I’ve come to expect with the previous vintage medical romances I’ve read. It lacked a certain authentic feel because of that and I found it somewhat superficial and a bit too try hard each time I ran into a neuro word cluster.
Blake is the quintessential established doctor. He’s handsome, intelligent and unapproachable except when he’s with patients. One aspect that I found different about his character is that there was a vulnerability to him that was shown several times that revealed some interesting layers. Not a cookie-cutter retro hero by any means.
Melissa is gorgeous, sassy and not afraid to speak her mind. She also has a secret–her father is a well known professor of neuroscience and unbeknownst to Melissa he happens to be Blake’s mentor. This was probably my biggest issue with the read. Blake has been known to her family for more than ten years and yet the two have never met despite the fact that her parents are tremendous friends of his and have even holidayed with him. That just didn’t ring true for me given the timelines but I guess, in this case, we would have missed out on the rubber frog meet-cute.
Melissa is injured while on a ski trip with friends in Italy, and Blake, who is holidaying nearby, is recruited by her father to supervisor her return to England and the rocky road to their HEA is well underway.
This had the makings of many a retro romance that I have adored in the past. There’s a great flow to the dialogue and some wonderful secondary characters with distinct voices and backgrounds. It’s a very sweet romance with a low heat level as with most of the books in this genre, and that sweetness holds a lot of attraction for me as I enjoy the very Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn type back and forth between the MC’s. This actually has more heat than most I’ve read, with Melissa and Blake acknowledging and indulging in their sexual chemistry with a few hot and heavy kisses.
I liked the read but the coincidences stretched believability just a bit too thin for me and the ending wrapped things up a bit too tightly and quickly. Enjoyable but not cream of the crop. I give it a B-.