Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: Love on the Mend by Karen Witemeyer

Book Cover and Synopsis:
After serving as a doctor during the War Between the States, Jacob Sadler wants nothing more than to establish a quiet country practice in rural Texas. But he knows he'll never find peace until he buries the pain of his past. To that end, he accepts a job in Cold Spring, Texas--the town he's avoided for seventeen years--and discovers his past is definitely still alive and kicking.

When a new doctor arrives in town and saves her brother's leg, Mollie Tate quickly puts him on a hero's pedestal. But then the new doc insults her "Uncle" Curtis. Years ago, Curtis Sadler rescued Mollie when no one else cared. How could he possibly be the villain the new doctor believes him to be?

Jacob doesn't know what to make of the young woman who assists him like a seasoned nurse one minute only to take a strip out of his hide the next. Yet the sparks that fly between them make him feel more alive than he has in a long time. As respect for his young nurse turns into something deeper, can he set aside the pain from his past to embrace this new love, or are some sins too big to be forgiven?

My source for book: Local Library
My Thoughts:
Love on the Mend wastes no time getting started with a dramatic first chapter that quickly sucked me in despite not being familiar with the characters. That's exactly the way all novellas should be! I liked how Jacob was so knowledgeable about the newest medical ideas and bravely stood up for what he knew was the best treatment, despite less informed people trying to push their opinions. I also liked how Mollie was so adept at being a nurse even though she had no previous experience of any kind. She struck me as maybe just a bit too perky, but overall I enjoyed both her and Jacob's characters. The point of view rotates back and forth between the two of them.

Unfortunately the story does have that rushed feeling that is so common to novellas, where certain aspects of the plot seem to move rather fast due to the page limitations. (This is most noticeable in the various relationships between the characters; it's not terrible, it's just the typical novella speed.) There actually is a good amount of story and detail regarding the plot, conflicts, and back-story, so I could fairly easily see the story being expanded into a full length novel...and I actually think it would be a bit stronger in that format.

While this is a sequel of sorts to "Full Steam Ahead" (it features one character from that novel), it can definitely be read as a standalone story. I do like the author's full novels better, but this novella is still worth a look if you're a fan of the author, as I am. Karen continues to be one of my favorite historical fiction authors as she always invents such entertainingly unique situations and plot lines. No, this isn't quite like one of her full length novels, but it's certainly a nice way to fill some time if you find yourself in-between novels.

My Rating: 4 stars

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