Eli will do anything to thwart his matchmaking Mama's plan to reunite him with his high school girlfriend. So, when the sexy new ER doc asks for his help in planning this year's charity banquet, Eli devises the perfect scheme: He'll help put on the best banquet the hospital has ever seen, if Monica poses as his new girlfriend. But when Eli finds himself falling in love, he realizes convincing Monica of his true feelings may be his greatest delivery yet.
This is Farrah Rochon's first published novel. I read it last week, but I held off on reviewing it because I wasn't sure exactly how I felt about it. I think, based on the first few chapters of the book and the cover, I was expecting something a bit deeper, a bit heavier and a bit darker. The truth is, it's just a light and fluffy read. Which is fine, but since I was expecting something totally different, I was very disappointed when I finished the book. After thinking it over for a few days, and doing a quick re-read, I now realize it was my own expectations that ruined the book for me.
I'm a huge fan of the primetime drama Grey's Anatomy, and I think I expected something along those lines when I started this book. Although there were some medical aspects that seemed similar, overall the story was much less dramatic and much more fun.
Monica Gardner leaves St. Louis to start over in New Orleans, partially to get away from her demanding family, and partially to forget about her ex., a man whom she'd been with for a number of years and who cruelly left her. She's determined to make a name for herself at Methodist Memorial, and she's even more determined to avoid men.
Dr. Eli Holmes is known as "Super Doc" around the hospital, because he seems to perform heroic deeds on a daily basis. He's not in the market for a permanent relationship, and he's about ready to kill his mother for trying to set him up with yet another woman - This one a former high school flame who seems to have lost a few braincells in the intervening years.
When Monica is offered the position of director for a charity event at the hospital, she readily agrees. Her only problem? One Eli Holmes. It seems the sexy OB-GYN isn't interested in helping her with the charity event. Mostly because he doesn't think they'll be able to save the free clinic attached to the hospital and he feels he needs to devote his time to finding new care for his patients. But all that changes when his mama turns on the heat about his ex-sweetheart and he sees the perfect out in Monica Gardner. So he makes a proposal. If she'll pretend to be his girlfriend and get his mother off his back, he'll agree to throw the best charity event the hospital has ever seen.
Monica reluctantly agrees, but they're both more than surprised when they find themselves falling in love.
The Good: The relationship Eli had with his family, most especially his brothers, was wonderful. From what I understand, this is to be the first book in a trilogy with stories for his 2 brothers and I can't wait. His young niece was also adorable.
Monica's friendship with her sister-in-law was great, too. They had a tight bond with each other that reminded me of the relationship I have with my closest friends.
There was a secondary romance that I found rather intriguing. A pregnant patient of Eli's and her husband were on the rocks, and watching them come back together was great. At times, I was more interested in what was going on with them than with the main characters.
The Bad: I'm pretty anal about certain things, and one of them is TSTL heroines. Although Monica didn't quite cross the line into Stupidville, she came very close. Several times while reading I was very tempted to throw my book across the room. I managed to restrain myself, but it was a near thing.
I also found the writing to be a bit immature. For a first novel, I'd say it was alright, but not even to knock my socks off. There were a lot of typos and grammatical errors, which may not bother some people, but I'm anal enough that it took me right out of the story every time.
The Ugly: There were too many questions left unanswered. I don't mind being left with a bit of a cliffhanger when I know there will be connecting books to follow, but only a handful of the loose ends in this story were tied up. Such as Monica's relationship with her parents, among other things.
The last few chapters felt extremely rushed, which was terribly unfortunate. What could have shaped up to be a sweet, wonderful romance instead left me feeling rather confused and unsatisfied. If I had to make an educated guess, I'd say that Ms. Rochon needed to wrap the story up and sacrificed her HEA to do it.
For example: There was a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING with Eli's ex. She came to the house and basically screamed at Monica to stay away from "Her" man. Eli then worries over it and Monica runs away, but there was never any resolution with the ex. We didn't see her or hear about her again after that. I would assume that if she was that desperate to keep Eli, she'd have played a larger part in the last half of the book. Instead...nada.
I could give many other examples, but I'm sure you get the point.
Overall I'd say the story was a bit contrived but still enjoyable. Nothing you should lose sleep over not having read, but if you see it on the shelf of your local bookstore it wouldn't hurt you to pick it up, especially if you're in the mood for a quick, light read. You can buy it here or here.
3.25 out of 5
Just another reminder: Despite the dark, serious cover and the title of the book, this is a very lighthearted read. Don't be deceived as I was.