Doctor January by Rhoda Baxter

Image description: The cover of Doctor January by Rhoda Baxter. A couple in silouette standing in the middle of some trees. The title is bright pink.
Image description: The cover of Doctor January by Rhoda Baxter. A couple in silouette standing in the middle of some trees. The title is bright pink, the background very light blue..

Earlier this year Rhoda Baxter kindly sent me a copy of her first book Patently in Love (since republished as Girl on The Run) to review and I really enjoyed it – my review is here.  She also answered some questions for me and was my first ever author interview on my blog – read that here.  A few months later I read her second book Having a Ball, flew threw it in one day on the trains to and from London and found it loads of fun (no review on this blog but I did post a few thoughts on goodreads).  So when she e-mailed to tell me her third book had been published and ask if I wanted to review it I was really keen.

That book is Doctor January by Rhoda Baxter.  It’s published by Choc Lit and I’d like to thank them and Rhoda for sending me an e-copy to review.

If you keep looking back, you might miss what’s standing right in front of you…

Six months after a painful break-up from Gordon, Beth’s finally getting her life back on track. She has faith in her own scientific theories and is willing to work hard to prove them. She’s even beginning to see Hibs, her dedicated lab partner, as more than just a lousy lothario in a lab-coat and goggles.

So when Gordon arrives back from America without warning and expects to be welcomed back into Beth’s arms, she’s totally thrown. She also quickly begins to see that Gordon isn’t the man she thought he was – Hibs has always held a candle for Beth, but he can only wait so long for her to realise there’s more to life than being patronised and bullied by the one who’s meant to love and protect her.

Will Beth forsee the explosive nature beneath Gordon’s placid surface before he destroys everything she’s worked for, both inside and outside the lab?

I usually share some idea of how long it took me to read a book when I write a review. Well, I have a confession to make.  I’ve been busy and stressed and not reading very much other than crappy articles on the net.  So it took me a week to read this book.  But only because I didn’t read it for most of those days.  Because it’s a quick, fun book and I read big sections each time. I think it took me two days and a brief bit on a third. Certainly I read over half of it in sitting because I was keen to know what happened.  I think it’s fair to say I didn’t find it “unputdownable” but when I was reading it I’d suddenly realise I’d read way more than I meant to. If I’d read it at any other time I may well have read the lot in one day like I did with Having a Ball.

I liked Beth a lot.  She’s been bullied most of her life by a lot of different people.  And she is a bit worn down but she was a really real character (yes that is a horrible description, I can’t think of a better one). Her flaws made me like her and didn’t make her seem pathetic and annoying like they so often can in other books.  I think that’s a sign of how good the writing is.

Bullying is obviously a tricky subject to tackle and there are parts what happens to Beth in the book which some readers may find distressing to read about.  These are taken seriously, well written and not used for shock value, excitement or simply to move things on.  They add to the plot, make sense and never once did I think they were gratuitous or unnecessary   The only thing I didn’t like is she’s seen dealing with two of her bullies but not the third (her dad – although to be fair he’s only mentioned not shown in the book). I think I’d have liked to see her stand up to him at one point.  Then again that is realistic because I think most of us have got the one person we’ve just never stood up too and told how they’ve made us feel.

Hibs is a really great character I’d love to see more of.  Several of the other characters made me smile and laugh.  I hated Gordon and I think he was deliberately written that way but he wasn’t a parody.

Definitely a good read and if Rhoda Baxter writes more books I’ll look out for them.



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