Turner’s fiction debut is a romantic tale about a young doctor who discovers that life amounts to more than professional success.
Nate Williams is a 32-year-old cardiologist who has spent his entire life devoted to perfecting his professional skills. His devotion has come with a hefty price. Isolated from his peers due to his unwavering commitment to work, Nate leads a life devoid of culture and companionship and often finds the emotions of others unintelligible. After an exceptionally long, trying shift putting in stents, Nate finds himself arguing with an obese patient’s family members, who attempt to shift the blame of a heart attack from their unhealthy eating habits to their family member’s drinking and smoking. Almost getting into physical altercation, he’s put on leave from the hospital for a month and is angry, confused and worried about what to do with his free time—the first free time he has had since childhood. Despite his prickly nature, Nate is invited to a luau held by his co-worker (and favorite nurse) Sandy. After a personal debate, he attends and has a wonderful time. Nate finds Sandy to be beautiful and complex; a tentative romance buds between the two. Soon after, a disheveled Nate wanders into a bookstore; despite his unkempt appearance, he strikes up a conversation with the store’s owner, a vivacious young woman named Angela. The two become close fast, thanks in part to Angela’s inquisitive nature and willingness to include Nate in her many social activities and varied groups of friends. As Angela and Nate’s relationship grows, he finds himself awakened to a world he had shunned. Generally well-written and with developed characters, Turner’s first effort suffers from one major flaw: It’s a bit predictable. Readers familiar with the tale of the workaholic discovering the merits of life and love might find little here of interest. As Nate’s story increases in seriousness, the dialogue grows more clichéd: “Before I met him,” Angela states at one point, “Nate didn’t think he needed love in his life. Now I don’t think he can live without it.” Still, the storyline is heartfelt and maintains momentum.
A competent, engaging, though unsurprising, romance.