Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Medical Affair

Booktrope Publishing, ISBN 9781620151747, September 2013

Heather Morrison is in her thirties, single, successful professionally, and wants to be a mother. With a series of failed relationships behind her, she's not interested in including a man in the picture. Instead, she applies, and is approved, to adopt a little girl from China. As part of her plan, she buys a condo large enough for her new little family.

Unfortunately, painting the rooms triggers an asthma attack, her first ever, and she winds up in the emergency room at Lenox Hill Hospital, looking up into the eyes of handsome pulmonologist Dr. Jeff Davis. He's charming as well as handsome, and Heather briefly entertains a few daydreams before learning that he is also married. Since this is her first asthma attack, he gives her prescriptions for maintenance and rescue medications, has her make an appointment to see him at his office in two weeks, and at some point gives her his personal cell number.

Over the next several weeks, he lures her into a more personal relationship, first coffee at a bookstore, then dinner... Heather feels a little uncomfortable dating a married man, something she's never done before. Only Jeff knows it's also a major violation of professional ethics, and potentially a violation of the law.

Strauss does a wonderful job portraying both Heather's personal strength, and her vulnerability to the charming but predatory doctor. Almost more impressively, she makes Jeff Davis not a cardboard villain but a real human being with moral flaws that make him dangerous.

As Heather is drawn deeper into her relationship with Jeff, he continues to treat her for her asthma--and an expanding list of other issues for which she did not previously think she needed medication. Her life starts spinning out of control--missed deadlines and mistakes at work, missed lunches and outings with her two best friends, more stress in her already stressed relationship with her mother.

This is a moving story dealing with a problem too many patients are vulnerable to. Highly recommended.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher.