Romancing The M.D.
by Maureen Smith, contemporary (2011)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86229-0
Tamara St John and Victor Aguilar are two supposedly intelligent and promising interns in Hopewell General who are constantly at odds with each other. Of course, this is because they are also secretly hot for each other, so it's only a matter of time before they head into angry make-out territory. This story has no shortage of drama to keep these two busy, however, so a happy ending will have to wait for about two hundred pages more.
There isn't much to be said about the plot of Maureen Smith's Romancing The M.D., other than the fact that the author throws plenty of drama to keep the story going. When the hospital isn't exploding with all kinds of emergency situations that need tending to - and there is no shortage of them in this story - we have Victor's nasty mother and Victor's ex-girlfriend to contend with. This is a pretty busy story that keeps me entertained, but I just don't feel the romance.
I don't feel the romance because I can't shake off this feeling I have that Victor is all wrong for Tamara. Tamara is a pretty good heroine - she comes off as refreshingly normal and sane, she is smart, and she can do her job pretty well. The story says that it takes a strong man to appreciate a smart and strong-willed woman like Tamara, and I don't believe that Victor is that person. He wants to be right all the time and he pushes Tamara into things very quickly. He doesn't seem like the sort to give and take much. On top of that, he comes with a nasty mother and some pesky ex-girlfriend baggage. Oh, and he has an annoying tendency to drop Spanish phrases and words in his conversations to remind me constantly that he's Spanish. He's too much work and too much drama - Tamara could do better, I'm sure. Also, while I can see that these two are definitely in lust in each other, they are only starting to know each other by the last page of this story since this author is constantly throwing medical drama and sickbed disasters at them one after the other. A little more quiet time for these two may have improved the believability of the romance.
I am also confused by the double standards in this story. You see, Victor's mother is a bigoted hag who believes that Tamara is a woman of easy virtue that is not good enough for her son, mostly because Tamara was raised by a single mother and she lacks a pedigree that impresses that woman. I like how Tamara defends herself and her mother. But at the same time, Victor defends Tamara by pointing out that his ex-girlfriend, whom his mother favors, puts out to him hours into their first meeting, while Tamara only had one lover before Victor. So, on one hand, I get this message that a woman shouldn't be judged by her past, her pedigree, or her sexual experience, but on the other hand, Tamara and Victor's ex-girlfriend are still judged nonetheless, with the woman who'd put out more deemed more morally lacking. So which is which, Ms Smith? Should we gauge a woman's character by how many men she had slept with or not? Of course, no one says anything negative about Victor sleeping with his ex-girlfriend on their first date - she's the whore, but he's just doing what boys do. Gotta sow those wild oats, after all!
At the end of the day, Romancing The M.D. is a serviceable read, but its reliance on drama doesn't make up for the shortcomings in the romance department.
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