Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-256636-2
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Thank heavens, Sandra Hill resumes writing contemporary romances after pulling down the curtains – at least for now – on the idiotic, interminable, and absurd Deadly Angels series. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how enamored you are of that dreadful, intrusive matchmaker plot device Tante Lulu wretch, The Cajun Doctor is another entry into the author’s other long-running series. This one takes place after The Love Potion, before those books that were published before this one, probably because those books belong to another publisher and Avon would love if you forget that they ever existed and imagine that this is a continuation of an Avon series.
So, this one. Daniel LeDeux is a pediatric oncologist. He has to quit his job because a double blow to his heart and soul: his mother and a young patient under his care all passed away from cancer within a few weeks of one another. He and his twin brother Aaron discover that they have kin in Louisiana, so they head off there to do some soul searching, R&R, and figuring out of what they want to do next. Of course Tante Lulu is waiting for them, and because this immortal ghoul gets another year to her life span for each couple she manages to pimp out to one another (that’s my reason to explain why she is so obsessed with other people’s love life anyway), she wastes no time throwing him at Samantha Starr, a jaded divorcée currently embroiled in an interminable court battle with her greedy ex, a gynecologist who wants to bleed her bank accounts dry (she’s from a wealthy family, so she has more money, gold, and stuff than he does). She is soured on doctors in general, but with Tante’s meddling, Daniel’s suaveness, and her stepbrother getting involved with some unsavory people, she will have plenty of reasons to inspect that man up close and personal.
The star of this story is Daniel. Maybe it’s just me, as I have a weakness for noble doctors who give their all to their vocation, but it is heartwarming to see that man find a reason to come back to life again after losing so much. His issues are far more serious than Samantha’s in comparison, but he doesn’t let them completely bog him down. He’s looking for directions of sorts after quitting his job, and in the end, he realizes that, despite the heartbreaks and all, he is happier staying true to his calling in life. Daniel LeDeux is such a sweetheart, I tell you.
Samantha has all the making of an annoying heroine like some of the author’s wretches in the past, but she is actually quite self-aware and humorous. She even pokes fun at the more absurd elements in this story. The thing is, the author also forces the poor woman down a very familiar route later in the story, when Samantha’s all “Oh, shall I sleep with him? If I do, oh, how about my heart? Oh, oh, oh, my loins scream to ride that hunk, my heart is like no, no, no, so what to do, what to do…” and it’s boring. The author should have focused more on Daniel’s baggage, if you ask me, as his issues are far more compelling and poignant to follow than Samantha’s issues.
As for the rest of the story, it’s actually standard run-of-the-mill stuff from the author. Slapstick comedy, verbal repartee, old women behaving badly, incompetent villains played up for laughs most of the time, et cetera – fans of the author will know what to expect here, as there is a noticeable formula when it comes to Sandra Hill’s stuff these days. Still, the sexual tension is good, and the main characters are likable.
All things considered, The Cajun Doctor is quite a fun, if somewhat unremarkable, read.