In the second of his Bedside Manor series, Trout (The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs, 2013, etc.) highlights another week in the life of the newest veterinarian in Eden Falls, Vt.
Dr. Cyrus Mills isn’t used to dealing with live animals—or people, for that matter—and he’s barely had time to get his feet wet at the helm of his late father’s practice when a crosstown rival starts nipping at his heels. A client has defected after seeking emergency treatment at Bedside Manor, and Guy Dorkin, the office manager of competitor Healthy Paws, plans to put Cyrus out of business once and for all by arranging an informational open house with freebies and a presentation by gorgeous veterinarian Winn Honey. But Dorkin’s barking up the wrong tree as far as Cyrus is concerned. Rather than rolling over and playing dead, Cyrus is determined to stand his ground—and he has several helpful supporters: his mentor, who’s not opposed to a little covert snooping; a young, grateful computer geek; the editor in chief of the local paper; his busybody receptionist; and some very appreciative customers. But more worrisome than his business challenges is Cyrus’ personal life. He’s in the doghouse after a disastrous first date with Amy, the waitress at the local diner, and he’s discovered he might be facing some serious competition for her affection. While juggling plans to counteract Dorkin’s attack and find out more about the other person in Amy’s life, Cyrus also cares for certain four-legged patients with puzzling symptoms and, by extension, members of the patients’ two-legged families. Trout, a staff surgeon at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, Mass., once again hits the mark with a wholesome, heartwarming story that ends on an optimistic note. He creates a homey community full of compassion, charm and humorous characters typical of many small towns. No doubt many animal lovers are panting in anticipation of the next Bedside Manor installment.