Dr. Reilly Jones is desperate - desperate enough to sell everything and move to a small town in the middle of nowhere where he may possibly take over another doctor’s practice. Ever since Reilly’s wife died he doesn’t care about much of anything, but he knows he has to find something to do for the next few decades.
Janey McBride is one of Dr. Dan Michaels’ favorite people. He thinks she would be the right person to make his potential new associate feel better about coming to town. Janey is happy to help out Dan. But when she shows up with a homemade cake, Reilly is sick of what he sees as one more woman coming on to him. He lets her have it.
Janey is stunned by his anger. She’s the last person in the world to try to come on to the new doctor in town. At 37, she’s been on only two dates in her life. To put it mildly, she’s never seen men as a priority in her life. Reilly soon realizes that and while trying to make his apologies, he gets more and more involved in Janey’s life.
Not too long after that, he decides to become Janey’s first boyfriend and teach her to meet a man who will care for her the way she should be cared for. He, of course, can’t do that since he is still devastated by his wife’s death.
Given that the plot made me groan - older virgin meets caring though wounded doctor - I was stunned to discover I was reading the story with interest. The story might have been cliched, but the main characters made me want to keep going and soon the secondary ones were equally absorbing. The McBride family is a close-knit, charming one. The parallels and insights one family member would have with another were always neatly done. I could even deal with the Christmas theme lurking in the background since it wasn’t too heavy-handed or cutesy.
I did have to wonder about Janey - although she is uncomfortable and confused about her new excitement in being around a man, I wanted to know more about why she thinks she’s so plain (apparently a good haircut is all that’s needed to pretty her up.) She is a caring woman whom everyone seems to genuinely like - couldn’t even one man work up an interest before this? While the explanation for her total lack of sexual experience is that she’s never met a man who interested her before, I think she’d have wondered a lot, more than we’re shown, about why all this has happened now - and why nothing happened until now. I sure did.
The subplot, where Janey’s mother finally realizes she loves Dan Michaels, seems more real, but I give credit to the author’s skill. Despite my quibbles, I read all the way through and enjoyed the story a lot. There may not have been much new that was offered here, but what was presented was well done entertainment.