I haven’t read a Harlequin Medical Romance in months, maybe even years, so when I saw this one on NetGalley I decided to renew my former love for the line.
Almost ten years ago Fletcher and Tessa’s toddler died in a tragic accident. Their inability to cope with their grief ended their marriage. Tessa moved to London and they never saw each other again. But every year she visits their son’s grave and he watches her. Now, after all these years, he’s ready to confront her. His mother has Alzheimer’s and he asks Tessa to stay with them for a while because his mother needs her. So she agrees, even though she’s still actively grieving and can’t even stand the sight of him. The situation forces her to come to terms with what happened and decide if she wants to give their marriage a second chance.
I like angst and emotional stories, and there was plenty of it here. But the heroine was very selfish in her grief. She acted like she was the only one who lost a child, and didn’t even give a second thought to Fletcher’s pain. I understand acting that way at first, but after ten years she still wasn’t able see past her own feelings. Not only that, but she was frozen in time, she was unwilling to even try to move on. I’m not going to judge, because I can’t even imagine having to experience such a tragedy, but it was exasperating (and I just judged. Honestly, I don’t know how to express my dislike without sounding like an asshole).
Fletcher wasn’t a bad hero. Mostly I just felt sorry for him. He was a martyr with a very good reason to atone and he was mature and knew what he wanted. The problem was that he didn’t mind using his mother to get it. And this is why I almost couldn’t finish the book. The mother and her disease were nothing but convenient plot devices. As someone who knows just how devastating Alzheimer’s is, I found this book borderline offensive.
The book does have a redeeming quality that kept it from being just plain awful. There was no easy answer or miraculous recovery for Tessa. The happy ending isn’t emotional health; the happy ending is the first step towards recovery. It’s a work in progress and it was the only way to make the ending believable.
This one was a melodrama, so if you like over the top emotion give it a try. Fletcher’s sister has a toddler and a baby on the way, so we also get the typical scene where the heroine has a nervous breakdown, but then when the kid is in danger she has to save him. So there’s a lot of angsty angst which I’m sure most readers will enjoy. I was too offended to pay much attention, though.
Review by Brie
The Doctor Dries Her Tears
Facing her estranged husband, Fletcher, was always going to be heartbreaking for nurse Tessa King. Especially as Fletcher has one last favor to ask—with his mother critically ill, he needs Tessa to pretend tragedy never tore their marriage apart. Impossible when your husband is the one man it hurts your heart to touch…but the one man you can't resist….
Harlequin Medical Romances. September 01, 2012.