Finding Dr. Right
by Lisa B. Kamps
(Silh. Spec. Ed. #1824, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-24824-5
***
Here is a debut author who shows lots of promise. The tale starts off strong but stumbles a bit and ends on a weak note. Finding Dr. Rightis fun, but not great.

Catherine Wilson is a single mother whose son Matty recovered from cancer and has had one leg amputated as a result. Catherine is a doctor and is in practice with her best friend Brian Porter. One of Brian’s patients is Nathan Conners, a famous hockey player in the major leagues. Nathan is recovering from knee surgery.

Nathan and Catherine meet and the sparks fly right away. Catherine has closed herself off from relationships since Matty’s illness as she has concentrated her attention on her ten year old. Nathan has been too busy playing hockey to think about anything beyond casual affairs, and he hasn’t had many of those. Matty is thrilled to meet the hockey player and is inspired by his efforts to finish rehab and get back on the ice. Matty is also inspired because he is to get a prosthesis and get back to being a normal kid again.

The story follows Nathan and Catherine as they explore each other and their relationship while trying to determine how much to trust and how much they are willing to open up. They fight and argue and then give in to their need to see each other. There are some very satisfying moments as they bond and start to form a family unit. There are some minor disasters, testing their newfound sense of each other. The story moves well and their relationship is engaging. Matty is a good balance between a kid who shows lots of spunk and one who could have been too good to be true. Brian is a good friend and provides much needed sound advice. He is intriguing enough to wonder if there is a story in his future.

There are many things missing here that detract from the overall picture. There is no indication of who Matty’s father is or where he is. We never discover if Catherine is a widow or divorced or what. Catherine is very uptight and this seems a little out of proportion. While it is understandable to be cautious with your child once he has lived through cancer, she did have a support system in Brian. Her sense of going it alone and being so strident about getting too close seem a little over the top. On the other hand, Nathan is struggling with what could be the end of his career. It is hinted at and he even goes through a rough visit to the doctor when it is all laid on the line. But other than providing an excuse for one fight, the rest is never really addressed.

Finally, the ending seemed rushed and the author resorted to a medical crisis to bring them all together, leaving me feeling flat; a sad result for what could have been a very engaging happily ever after.

Finding Dr. Right is a good story that just doesn’t quite connect on all points. Kamps shows promise, however, and I look forward to reading her next effort.

-- Shirley Lyons


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