From House Calls to Husband
by Christine Flynn
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1203, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-24203-4
***
From House Calls to Husband is the first of three "Prescription: Marriage" books which feature nurses who vow never to marry doctors. Susan Mallery's Prince Charming, M.D. will be followed by Christine Rimmer's Dr. Devastating. Those last two titles are clever enough that I can imagine people picking them up on the strength of the titles alone.

Nurses Dana Rowan, Lee Murphy and our heroine, Katie Sheppard, all make the following vow: We, the undersigned, having barely survived four years of nursing school, do hereby vow to meet at Granetti's at least once a week, not to do anything drastic to our hair without consulting each other first and never, ever–no matter how rich, how cute, how funny, how smart, or how good in bed – marry a doctor. Anybody want to bet money on how long this final vow lasts?

Katie Sheppard is a nurse without a backbone. She can't seem to say no to any worthy cause or charity. She's so busy that she's meeting herself coming and going. It's two weeks into January, and already Katie's broken four of her five New Years' resolutions. Unconsciously, she's about to break a vow she takes seriously; she's about to become intimately involved with cardiac surgeon Mike Brennan. What's surprising about this is that Mike is far from an unknown commodity. Katie and Mike have been childhood friends. Their families have been next door neighbors for as far back as they can remember. Mike is Katie's best friend. Why would she want to mess up a lifelong friendship with romance, for Pete's sake?

Mike is recently divorced from a gold-digger who wanted the fame and fortune that went with being married to an up-and-coming surgeon. She left when Mike wouldn't agree to her emotional and monetary demands. He knows that his life is empty but he's filling his time with work, almost to the exclusion of all else. This pattern of excluding everything but work is a habit that Katie has grown up with. Her dad, a pediatrician, had always neglected his family. When Katie sees Mike developing the same habits, she's glad that she's remained true to her vow of avoiding doctors as potential spouses. Now the fun – and the romance begins.

Well, the fun and the romance should have begun. My problem with From House Calls to Husband is its blandness. Mike and Katie seem to be next to each other on parallel courses, but they rarely ever reach each other emotionally. The sex scenes left me unmoved and feeling unsatisfied. These two seldom have fun together and that lack of fun translates itself into a story that left me very much a watcher, never participating in any way.

When Katie's dad becomes ill, it becomes that catalyst which allows Katie to release her feelings. Mike has known that Katie always resented her dad's lack of time and attention, but he hadn't known that Katie resented him as well. Her dad always had time for Mike but not her.

Because these two are friends and share a history, their resolution makes sense. Nothing is contrived, and we do believe it when they actually talk honestly and openly with each other. However, that blandness and lack of excitement permeate the book. Maybe an injection of humor would have saved it. Or a prescription for better sexual tension.

If you like doctor/nurse stories, then this story may be just what the doctor ordered. My medical advice, charlatan though I may be, is to take two aspirins and get a good night's sleep.

--Linda Mowery


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