REVIEW: The MD’s Mistress by Joan HohlWednesday, July 29, 2009 1:00
I’ve already reviewed the Lafoy book, and loved it, so I thought I’d do the other book in the omnibus. I won’t judge them together, they were released as separate books and the only thing they seem to have in common is their publisher.
Becca is a nurse in Africa, who has secretly loved the surgeon, Dr. Seth Andrews (aren’t surgeons addressed as Mr.?[Ed.: in the US we call them "Dr"]) for months. After she collapses with pneumonia, both she and Seth are shipped back home and return to Philadelphia. But Becca receives an anonymous gift from a benefactor known, unsurprisingly, as “the anonymous billionaire” (it’s a series) and she is sent to a luxury cabin in the country to recover.
Seth loves Becca, Becca loves Seth. But if they admitted that from the off, as they easily could have done, it wouldn’t be much of a story, would it? The obstacles thrown in their paths are mainly internal. Becca is a martyr. She won’t give up in Africa until she collapses, she won’t admit she is seriously ill and in need of recovery and once in her luxury ‘cabin’ she goes off and volunteers at the nearest health center. To be honest, she got on my nerves, especially when she wants to martyr herself to Dr. Seth. He comes after her, because he can’t leave her alone, sleeps with her, and still she thinks it’s a convenient sexual arrangement.
Seth is never really brought to life. He’s one thing, then he’s another, an alpha male, a compassionate doctor, a wealthy surgeon, and a superlative lover. Yawn. He’s a great cook, too. He cares for Becca, but because of a couple of brusque words, she assumes they’re just lovers.
The tone of the book is strangely old-fashioned. After their first night together when they make love twice, Becca is too sore to do it again the next night. Seems a bit off to me, even though she isn’t a virgin, at least I don’t think she is, though this is a bit vague. When Seth asks her to come back to Philadelphia and continue their relationship, she thinks of him as his “mistress.” What twenty-five year old woman thinks in those terms? And in HMB terms, isn’t a ‘mistress’ a kept woman, and Seth isn’t asking that of her. Although lip-service is paid to modern electronic devices, the characters don’t think in those terms. Cell phones, laptops, email and so on are mentioned, but only in passing. Seth and Becca don’t think in IT terms, they don’t text, phone, email or IM, which I would have thought they would have done. No, Seth takes off to visit Becca without making sure she’ll be at home, or even there.
The scenes are static. They spend a lot of time thinking, sitting, talking, drinking and eating. And talking some more. The conversations don’t sound right, stilted sometimes. Lots of “he said,” “she thought,” and other tags that drag after a while, at least they did for me. This is a short book, but still the pace was slow.
All this would have still given me a pleasant hour or two, except for one thing, that, unfortunately plunged the book into D territory.
Spoilers coming up…
They don’t use a condom. Never even think about it. Hello, they’ve been in Africa, home of AIDS? They’re in the medical profession where a misplaced hypodermic syringe can give you AIDS or hepatitis or any number of other nasty, communicable diseases? Not to mention the possibility of pregnancy, which, since Becca insists on thinking of their affair as temporary, isn’t a responsible thing to do. I really wanted to slap them both. At first, I assumed they were using one, I like to give characters the benefit of doubt, but later, Becca gets pregnant. Another irresponsible thing to do. When you make a child, that’s a third person, not some kind of possession. When she considered keeping her pregnancy a secret from Seth, I nearly hurled the book, but she decides to tell him. When he tells her he loves her it comes as a complete surprise and I wondered where she’d been.
I’m not a condom purist, but for two supposedly responsible people in the medical profession to not even think or discuss using protection seemed out of character and appallingly careless, so I had to downgrade a comfortable C to a D. I have a feeling that over at Dear Author, Jane might have treated it worse.
Such arrogance! Nurse Becca Jameson spent months side by side with Dr. Seth Andrews in a tiny, understaffed, under-funded African hospital. He was bossy, gorgeous, brilliant…and she’d fallen for him, hook, line and scalpel. Now back in Philadelphia, he had the nerve to make this outrageous proposal…how could he? And how could she refuse?
Read an excerpt here.