Candace Calvert writes pulse-throbbing, action packed "hope operas" in the medical romance genre. She creates vibrantly alive characters we can relate with and wonderful character development where members of a medical team face daily personal, professional and spiritual challenges. You may not want to put the book down until you've read it to the end.
At Sierra Mercy Hospital the staff had dubbed Dr. Logan Caldwell "Dr. McSnarly." That reputation was on solid ground when Claire Avery suffered her first encounter with him in the ER. It was the worst possible time for her to be there since they'd just had an influx of emergency cases--a fire at a local daycare center. Claire wasn't there as a nurse, but Logan Caldwell didn't know that. With his caustic "Help, or get out of the way" comment still ringing in her ears, she went on to find the nursing director who had called her there. Claire was a nurse educator, on call to offer peer support and emotional well-being assessments of the ER staff. They had just lost a little girl from the daycare.
It didn't take long for Claire to determine that Dr. Caldwell had no use for counseling, intervention and especially prayer. In fact, his way of dealing with the stress of working the ER was just to soldier on when things got tough. He expected his medical support team to do the same. None of this touchy-feely stuff Claire was bringing to his ER. Claire considered the ER director's hard line attitude as part of the problem, especially with the high turnover rate and complaints from some of the nurses. Her job was to help "heal the healers." To do that, she would have to go toe to toe with Dr. McSnarly.
In developing the characters, the author reveals that there's a reason why Logan Caldwell encloses himself in a shell. We learn that Claire has issues of her own due to the loss of her fireman brother two years earlier. One of Dr. Caldwell's most efficient nurses, Sarah, is bearing up under a weight no one else knows about, and the charge nurse, Erin, is trying to hold together her team of nurses while dealing with personal insecurities. How all this comes to a head in an explosion of events is what makes this book an exciting read.
Another element besides the fast pace and great character portrayal is the author's use of metaphors. My favorite two metaphors have to do with a stump on Dr. Caldwell's property, and Claire's brother's rescued cat, Smokey, who has only one ear. The cat had lost a skirmish with a raccoon with the loss of one ear and his confidence. Now he refuses to go outside. Logan wants to build a home on his property, but the stubborn stump is in his way. He has spent hours hacking away at it with an ax, but it refuses to budge.
Digging deeper, there is an important spiritual message woven into the plot. Claire has made an effort to remake herself and her career after her brother's death by retraining to become a nurse educator. It all fit into her plans to recover from the devastation of her ER experience of the past. This plan is reflected in her prayers for healing. So why was she suddenly thrust back into the ER as peer counselor to stressed staff when she herself was barely recovered from her painful memories? What was God doing, changing her plans?
I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed this one. I highly recommend them to readers who enjoy medicals dramas, humor, seemingly impossible romances and Christian content.
I recently discovered a new author (to me) and would like to share that information with all of you. She already has four books out, which is terrific, because now I don't have to wait to read the second in the series. I read her first book in less than a week, not because it was short, but because I couldn't put it down.
Candace Calvert has the power to captivate with words, storyline, and characters. She allows the reader to "hear" the story through four of her characters, which brings the story to life at a much deeper level, at least in my opinion.
I started with Critical Care, the first book from her Mercy Hospital Series. It begins through the eyes of the main character, Claire, but then continues by introducing Logan, the hero. Erin, the head charge nurse, and lastly, Sarah, another character who is pivotal to the story, make up the last of the four people whose lives you get to experience firsthand.
Candace begins with intense medical drama that quickly draws the reader in, but then she slowly introduces the characters and events in their lives, keeping the reader wanting to turn the page. The medical drama continues to deliver, but you are taken so intimately into each character's background that their work is secondary and their personal lives become the primary focus. I found myself becoming emotionally involved with each and every one of the four characters that were developed so well. I eagerly anticipated how each event was going to continue to unfold and how their lives would overlap.
The author delivers from the first page all the way to the end. I cannot wait to read the second book in the series. I am glad it is already published so I don't have to wait very long.
I have already starting spreading the word about how great I think this series and (new to me) author is, but don't take my word for it. Why don't you go pick up a copy and see for yourself?
To make it easy for you, here is her first series in order, and the first book in her second series: Mercy Hospital (3 in series): Critical Care, Disaster Status, Code Triage
Grace Medical (next series): Trauma Plan (first in series so far).
You can also visit her website and read an excerpt from each book if you would rather. Just Google Candace Calvert and you are there. If you get a chance to pick up any in the series, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of her books too.
Claire used to be an ER nurse, but when her brother came in during her shift severely burned and died, she panicked and couldn't work the ER anymore. She promised herself never to set foot in the ER again. She took a new job at another hospital and tried to stay away from the ER. But when the ER team are dealing with a tragedy she is needed to evaluate the staff if they can handle the situation.
Dr. Logan Caldwell is not happy to see Claire counseling his staff. His experience is that counseling doesn't help. He thinks one must set their problems aside and do a good job. But with his gruff demeanour he's making working with him almost impossible.
When he is showing indifference to Claire's work she's not afraid to tell him the truth. For Logan that is a surprise. No one ever talked to him that way.
Both Claire and Logan are suffering loss and disappointments. Claire is a believer, but Logan doesn't believe in the power of prayer. He tried that, but it didn't work. Claire had her future plans worked out, but they're all falling apart.
Will those two hurting people find healingâ€”and love?
Secondary characters ER head nurse Erin and workaholic nurse Sarah are making the story more interesting. All the characters fit nicely in the storyâ€”even the one-eared cat is a character to love. :)
I really love reading Candace Calvert's work. She has such a pleasant voice and she knows how to captivate me. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series!