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Annie O’Neil – Doctor… To Duchess?

Book Cover

Keeping the estate, keeping the man.

Publisher: Mills & Boon (Harlequin)
Pages: 146
Type: Fiction
Age: Adult
ISBN: 978-0-263-24726-8
First Published: 30th July 2015
Date Reviewed: 6th August 2015
Rating: 3.5/5

Julia moved to St Bryar with her children after the death of her husband. She loves working as a doctor and the life she’s made for her family, but all that may change when Oliver, heir to the dukedom, comes home from abroad. He isn’t interested in the estate and it’s pretty much a given that he’ll sell it, taking Julia’s job in the process. He’s somewhat her rival but from the moment they meet neither can quite take their eyes off each other.

Doctor… To Duchess? Is a fair tale that falls under the medical romance genre. It’s got all the hallmarks of a good story and for the most part is a success.

Starting with the characters, Julia and Oliver are well written. You get a lot of their thoughts and O’Neil does a fabulous job of detailing all the anxieties of the couple – falling in love is accompanied here by the worries of rejection. Oliver, in particular, due to his particular worries, is very real. There’s a balance, a very natural back and forth between strength and weakness, worry and ‘pull yourself together’. Whilst the inner dialogue can seem a lot, it’s realistic. People do think, worry, this much, and perhaps it takes a book to demonstrate that. The dialogue is funny, and keeps the repetitive parts from taking over.

“Are you on?”
What? Seventh heaven?
Oh, for goodness’ sake. Don’t say that.

There is some repetition. Most of it is down to the detailing; the book has more detailing than dialogue so there can be a disconnect between reader and characters on occasion. You hear more narration than speech. This said, in the context of the sub-genre, the medical aspect, the details are welcome. O’Neil has obviously done her research and works her knowledge into the book without it taking over; this is a medical romance book – the focus is on the romance and medicine simply informs the lives of the characters.

This book has one sex scene which is good to note in part because there are people who will like that for itself and because it shows what’s important – emotion. Of course there is some desire, okay there’s a fair amount of it, but O’Neil is all about showing how people fall in love and work through their issues. The story may begin with desire, lust, if you will, but it quickly changes to love.

There are just a few places where dialect does not ring true, for example ‘baked goods’. Whether it will have an affect is down to the individual reader. Otherwise it is firmly in the traditional English countryside and the trueness of it may outweigh the previous note.

On the topic of traditional, it should be noted that whilst the setting and people are convincing, they are not too insular. That is to say that this is a village romance (think British version of the American ‘small town romance’) but it’s not too strong; those who like the idea will enjoy the book, those who just want a good story will like it, too.

If you want the unapologetically realistic in your romance (at least in terms of emotion and worry – few people find themselves with the nobility, after all!), Doctor… To Duchess? is for you. As said, the characters seem to be over-thinking until you step outside the box (the book) – this book has more than a surface dressing and it pays to look a little deeper. There are flaws and it ends a little too swiftly but the positives outweigh these for the most part and it is nice to watch the characters grow into their futures.

I received this book for review from the author. We have met.

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Tracy Terry

August 7, 2015, 3:11 pm

Alas not my sort of read at all. And whilst I am fairly open to new bookish experiences I’m afraid this doesn’t hold any appeal for me whatsoever.

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