Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Doctor in Petticoats

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.

The historical 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment