I received this book as part of the Tell Harlequin group for reader feedback, something I’ve been a part of for more years than I can remember. I’ve been reading Harlequin since my early teens, so trust me when I say every criticism leveled against Harlequin novels has an example or two to support it. The reason I keep reading them is that there are as many examples to dismiss the notions as well.
The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride is one of these.
Diana is a small time realtor when she’s not volunteering at the shelter. Her boss sent her to this event to make contacts because he didn’t want to go, but she feels out of place in this gathering of upper society. Diana’s determined to enjoy the once in a lifetime opportunity of a fairytale ball despite her dress seeming shabby compared to the understated elegance around her.
Sounds like a standard rich and poor romance on the surface, but from that starting point comes a delightful story about a very unique woman.
Diana is a sensitive, intuitive soul who makes it her life’s work to help others find happiness. Sure, her talents are usually engaged with matching homeless dogs to those who would make a good fit, but she’s not the type to let a simple fact like that stand in her way when she decides to find a perfect match for the one sour face at the fancy charity gala, and things spiral out of control from there.
She’s the type who leans over to make a suggestion to a frazzled woman in a flower shop and ends up with a friend for life despite the differences in their circumstances. She’s quick to act on the problems she sees and is determined to make the world a better place for everyone.
What makes the story deeper is both how she goes about identifying and resolving the problems, and how you quickly learn that while she’s out saving the world, inside she’s afraid to live for herself.
Enter Quinn, the oldest brother of an ambitious family who has singlehandedly been keeping the family business, a medical practice, running and doing well. One of his brothers just returned to share the burden, but he doesn’t know what to do with himself when not working.
Diana’s determined to find him the person best suited to his position in life, his drive, and sheer awesomeness. The only trouble is he doesn’t need a perfect match to who he was. He needs to learn who he wants to become.
The characters are well-written, the challenges between the person who gives so much they leave nothing for themselves and the workaholic, as well as the culture clashes between their stations are well written and enjoyable. But Diana is the masterpiece here. Her ability to diagnose a situation and come up with a treatment plan mirrors a doctor’s work, only she boosts confidence, helps resolve conflicts, and even finds love for those in need. Rather than treating the body, she treats the soul, and it’s a delight to watch.
You might have guessed I enjoyed this book. The combination of a bright, optimistic mood and a more complicated psychology behind it drew me in and made me not want the story to stop.