Doctor in Petticoats
by Paty Jager
Late nineteenth century Western romance. For a romance with a blind
hero, it's pretty good. The novel starts with Clay Halsey, recently
blinded in an explosion, starting out at a school for the blind. There
he falls in love with the lady doctor, Rachel Tarkiel. Rachel is an
independent career woman who throws herself into her medical work
because she believes no man will ever love her--she has a big scar on
her face form a childhood accident. But Clay and Rachel fall for each
other right away. The tension comes first from her disapproving family,
then from whether she will be satisfied living with Clay in a small
mining town, being a wife and mother.
Clay and Rachel are
appealing characters. He is quite sweet, not angry or bitter, thank god.
The bit about Rachel's scar is such a cliche for a blind hero romance,
though, I cringed every time it came up. She is such a strong character,
the book would have been better without it. On the other hand, I really
liked how she was a career woman, and deeply conflicted about pursuing
marriage or career. It was a satisfying and believable way to present a
strong female character in a historical setting.
details are good. The author clearly did a lot of research, and there's a
real sense of place in the Oregon setting. The author depicted Clay's
blindness pretty well too. The blind school was similarly well
researched, although I was a little disappointed the action shifted away
from the school so quickly. After two months, Clay decides he's
rehabilitated enough, even though he has barely started learning
Braille, never mind anything else. However, a lot of the scenes,
particularly in the beginning, are narrated from his point of view, and
it's done really well. There's a lot more realism here than in most
romances, which I appreciated.
This book is part of a series. I
didn't read the other books, but while this mostly stands alone, there
are some things that are not fully explained from the other books. I did
feel a little like I was missing something.
The biggest problem,
though, is that the author never stops TELLING when she should be
showing. In every single scene, the narrator lays out baldly what the
main conflict is, over and over. It's such a drag, even more so because
the dialog and descriptions are actually pretty good, and could easily
have carried the novel without all the boring exposition. As it is,
though, the over-explaining really weighs it down.