I was drawn to this book by the bright and animated cover. I have never read anything by this author but the cover immediately reminded me of something by Sophie Ranald and Kristen Bailey, who are two authors in this genre which I really enjoy reading. The cover evokes a positive vibe and raises themes of love, identity, exploration and mystery. I couldn’t wait to get started!
Palliative care doctor, Tess Carter, is no starry-eyed heroine. After all, if your dad left without a backward glance and you found your last boyfriend in bed with another guy, you wouldn’t believe in romance either. And the voices in Tess’s head – you know, the ones that tell you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough – well, these voices are very loud. Very loud indeed. Especially when the disagreeable son of one of her patients starts challenging her every decision.
Edward Russell might have a big job and a posh voice, but Tess is determined not to let him get to her, especially if she can get her inner monologue to stop with the endless self-sabotage. And Edward, it turns out, may be less of a prat than he first appears…
In the real world, where gentlemanlike manners and out-of-the-blue declarations of love are a story-book fantasy, it’s up to Tess to decide whose voice to listen to … and how to make her own heard.
TW: Cancer, death of a loved one, detailed scenes during hospice care
Wow, this has definitely been an outstanding read. This is a book that delivers far more than a romantic story line and having learnt that the author herself is a qualified doctor explains how some of the hospice scenes feel so believable and raw. The character of Tess is a likeable, sympathetic and strong character who you cannot help rooting for her happiness and respecting her as a person and a doctor. The characters Nancy creates are complex and lively, jumping off the page and building such a deep connection that you feel like they are your old friends or neighbours by the end of the story.
This book packed a lot more punch than I was expecting, and is much more of a rollercoaster read than the bright and light-hearted cover suggests. It does deal with some difficult topics and questions, but it does so in a sensitive way and her narrative style is balanced and careful so that you can see things from a range of points of view.
Edward was a character that I unexpectedly respected. Despite his misgivings and his sometimes heavy-handed approach, you could see that this is a lonely and scared man dealing with much more than most people can handle alone. I felt the portrayal of all the characters was very touching and heart-felt, and although there are times when I did question Edward’s actions and words, the overall feeling was one of respect and sympathy again.
This has just been an utterly gorgeous read and one I am struggling to fully explain in words. I personally enjoyed the inner monologues in the style of Jane Austen and the TV host, this provided comedy, originality but also another level of depth to Tess’ character.
This book left me feeling full of love, warmth and hope, but also bereft at it having ended. This was a similar feeling to one I got when reading Lenni and Margot, and also any of the books by Mary Jayne Baker. I am so excited to see what’s next from this author after this stunning debut!