With writing that is “nothing less than brilliant” (Booklist) comes the third in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All series from Kate Noble!
Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—strictly friends. But over the course of the year, as they exchange dozens of letters, they share personal details that put them on the path to something more. When Dr. Gray helps Margaret realize her dearest dream and she comes to his defense in the uproar that follows, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But will their relationship stand the scruples of society and jealous intendeds, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?
The perfect novel for fans of Regency Era romance, The Dare and the Doctor is a clever and passionate love story worth sharing.
In Noble's insipid third Winner Takes All Regency romance (after The Lie and the Lady), Rhys Gray and Margaret Babcock start out as correspondents discussing academic topics and become friends bonding over common intellectual interests. When Margaret accepts an invitation from Rhys to visit London, love is inevitable, but the bland courtship is riddled with clich s. Margaret, smart but awkward in polite society, and Rhys, saddled with an inconvenient engagement arranged by his mother, embody familiar romance fare. The letters are entertaining and show how well the hero and heroine get along, but once they stop writing, their interactions are wooden and unimaginative. The obstacles keeping Rhys and Margaret apart are so contrived and flimsy that it's a relief when Rhys finally stops pouting and ends the plodding drama. The supporting cast their friends and family show some potential, but they are not fully developed and primarily act as cardboard props on the sidelines. Noble clearly did considerable research into botany and medicine; that time could have been better spent on plot, pacing, and character development. There's promise, but this romance fails to deliver.
Customer ReviewsSee All
All in all the book had its moments
3.5 stars – rounded
I adore my historic romance, and love a heroine that is different from the norm. And Noble does manage to make Margaret different in look (tall, not a head-turning gorgeous specimen) who has both brains and ambitions to become a botanist with more skills tan just simple garden design and faffing about with plants.
The story starts with an exchange of letters between Margaret and Rhys (the Doctor), as their gradual relationship develops from friendly acquaintances to friends….and then the story begins. Make no mistake, Noble packs plenty of story into this tale: lots of character development, plenty of twists and turns to keep readers guessing. And the relationship between Margaret and Rhys is plainly seen by readers: they are meant to be together, we all can see it, and they don’t take as long as some to see it for themselves. BUT
There were things that kept me from ooh-ing and aah-ing at their connection and relationship, and even at the story itself. This is a Regency era story, set in England: yet all of the writing is determinedly and decidedly American. Conventions and social norms are completely ignored, not simply rewritten, and the story is far too modern to actually be considered a Regency in my book.
Description, usually an element I long for more to set and fix visual imagery for me as a reader was ponderous. After reading, I discovered that this author used to write screenplays for television, and the oft-overworked and occasionally tortured descriptive moments, not simply ‘setting’ a scene for imagination to take flight but micromanaging that description, telling me WHAT to see, how to see it and in what order were far too frequent. It is, from my experience, a decided skill set not possessed by many screenwriters to understand and present descriptions that allow for a reader’s imagination and experience to fill out the details. It’s a hands-off approach that was missed here, and I think this book would have benefitted from less directed description and more attention to the “ooh factor” where Margaret and Rhys were concerned.
All in all the book had its moments: Rhys was wonderful and decidedly ahead of his time where Margaret was concerned. And Margaret was upstanding, loyal and completely out of the norm where the more typical heroines of this era reside. People new to historical romance, or those more focused on clever twists, the will they or won’t they moments are sure to enjoy this title.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.