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Romance and other things

ARC review book available April 24

Necessary Medicine - M.K. York

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? 



Dear M.K. York,

I am always happy when the characters in romance book (any book really) have a profession and the profession described more or less realistically or at least believably. I think that I would give your book top marks for describing the work of medical residents. I don’t know much about their work except that they work crazy shifts, but this book is just written with such air of authority that I would be very surprised if the setting was not done without very realistic basis behind it.

It is not only those doctors working long shifts, catching couple of hours of sleep in between surgeries, no it is also all the other details – the conferences they have to go to, day to day details of their work, medical jargon here and there, but not so much of the jargon that my eyes started to glaze over.

I would be very surprised if the author does not have some kind of real life connection to medical field.

We get to see Neil Carmona starting from his last year as medical student to the end of his residency. We see how very hard it is to survive a residency with your sanity and health intact, how much toll it takes on everybody around them, not just on the young doctors (and older doctors who work in this teaching hospital as attending physicians), but also we get to observe some really decent people trying to do their best for their patients.

Neil is one of those decent people who is willing to sacrifice a lot in order to become a surgeon, but he also have had a crush on one of the attending physicians – cardiologist Eli Newcombe for years ever since Eli gave a lecture at their medical school

The romance in this book is *really* slow burn. Over the years we read about Neil and Eli bond more and more as friends, but not starting any kind of the relationship. Neil is openly gay, but Eli had been divorced from his ex-wife and if he is gay or bisexual he is not sharing that information.

As Neil and Eli go to the medical conferences, as they get to work on more patients together (Eli is not a surgeon, but his consultation as cardiologist is often needed on the cases Neil is called to operate upon), Neil’s crush only grows because he gets to know real Eli who also seemed like a nice guy to me. But once again, if Eli feels the same, he is certainly not revealing that information.

Until he does reveal that information as blurb tells you – and, I have to admit I was a little confused. Because even though I thought that Eli’s reasons not to pursue the relationship with Neil were understandable – he may not have been his direct superior, but he is still one of the attending physicians and could have made trouble for Neil if he chose to – Eli smelling Neil’s shirt and almost crying was just not believable to me.   And not just because he was crying – of course guys could and should cry (not that anybody needs my permission to do that) if the situation warrants that, but I guess I interpreted Eli’s character as somebody who would have been more open with Neil by now after they had been such good friends for years . He did not say anything to Neil first – Neil caught him smelling his shirt and crying by accident.

But be it as it may, of course Neil was upset, but I was glad that he tried to be an adult and gave his best shot trying to maintain friendship with Eli after that awkward conversation and Eli did the same. It is always nice when romance heroes not only manage not to forget that they have a job they love even if true love is involved, but just in general try to behave as adults.

Grade B