With intelligence and humor, debut male/male author M.K. York delivers an emotionally charged slow-burn romance set in a prestigious Bay Area teaching hospital
In the high-intensity world of hospital residency programs, there’s no room for romance. So it’s a good thing for first-year surgical resident Neil Carmona that his crush on the gorgeous cardiologist Eli Newcombe is sheer fantasy. Not only is the sexy doctor Neil’s superior, he’s also recently divorced.
As Neil’s skill as a surgeon grows, so does his friendship with Eli, and his silent, hopeless longing for more. It isn’t until Neil’s final year that Eli at last admits his own deepest desires. But Neil’s joy is short-lived: Eli has no intention of pursuing a relationship. Their positions in the hospital would make it unethical, even if he was emotionally ready for someone new.
Wounded and furious, Neil is determined to forget about Eli once and for all. But when a near-tragedy strikes, a new question arises: Is a life without love—without Neil—a greater risk than laying his heart on the line?
MK York is listed as being a brand new author and I must say, for a debut book, York did an amazing job. Set inside a teaching hospital in the bay area, the story is told from Neil’s POV as he slaves his way through his 5 year surgical residency.
He pines away for attending physician Eli who is straight so Neil knows he shouldn’t be pining. But he can’t help himself. Eli’s just his type. Smart, funny, and a silver fox.
Reading this book is a bit like reading a sci-fi novel set in a new world. You have to get used to a whole new language. In this case, it’s the language of medicine. As difficult as it was at times when tons of medical jargon showed up, I appreciated its use. These are doctors and surgeons. That is their natural language. And it helped to make me feel like I was ‘one of the crowd’ because they didn’t have to dumb down their words for the non-medical person. Though I will admit, at times, it almost became too much – especially during the surgery scenes.
I enjoyed the slow build of Neil and Eli’s relationship. From Neil just enjoying looking at Eli from afar to their budding friendship to more, it was a wonderful slow slide.
That said, I did have some issues with the book. First off, the first 25% was a jumble of rush. It starts out in Neil’s second year of Medical school, jumps to his residency, and then runs through the first 2.5 years of said residency. It felt more like a chronological listing of what happened in those years than story and in some ways it made it difficult to connect with characters.
There were many times we were told something happened, but not what and that was annoying. Such as “They watched the television after that, the news and a terrible sitcom that had Neil muttering unflattering things about heteronormativity under his breath.” As that brought up the next conversation between him and Eli and led it, we really needed to know what Neil said.
The entire book is from Neil’s POV, except the very ending where suddenly the story head hopped between him and Eli. That was shocking and startling as I wasn’t sure whose head we were in.
At times, especially in that first 25%, it felt more like a hospital sitcom, which was vaguely disturbing.
The last point of what I didn’t like was the sex scenes. The descriptions made it difficult for me to understand what they were doing. One moment Neil’s on his back leaning up on his elbows and the next there’s no way he could be in that position.
Even with those issues, I really liked the book. I highly suggest you push through that first 25%. Because at that point, the story begins to build. You know the heavy players by that point, you can see the stress beginning to get to the residents, and you can feel Neil’s pain because he knows he can’t have Eli and yet Eli is so perfect for him… if it weren’t for the fact he’s straight.
There are great secondary characters that help form the world of this story and fills something I need from a romance – that the characters interact with other people. They live their daily lives. It’s not just two people in their own little world.
There’s one line at the ending of the book that is probably one of the most romantic things said by one character to another. Neil comments “You’re always laughing” to which Eli replies “That’s because you’ve only known me since I met you.” Now if that doesn’t bring forth an “ahhhh” I don’t know what would.
4 stars and I look forward to more books by MK York.