Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Allison Ashley - Perfect Distraction

Lauren Taylor isn't thinking about love, especially not with the impossibly attractive man she accidentally spilled coffee all over. He's out of her league and she's focused on finishing her oncology pharmacy residency. She's sworn off men who are too handsome for their own good, anyway.
Andrew Bishop can't stop thinking about the gorgeous redhead who crashed into him and then disappeared, even though he should have way more on his mind - like dealing with his Hodgkin Lymphoma diagnosis and finishing out his last year in law school. When Andrew and Lauren run into each other at the cancer center where she's working and he's being treated, they try to keep it professional. They can be friends, and nothing more. But sometimes life has other plans…

Comment: I decided to read this book because it would feature someone going through the treatment of an illness. It might seem quite morbid, I know, but I'm always on the hunt for something different in the contemporary romances I might try and I was interested in seeing how the author would treat this subject.

In this novel we meet pharmacist Lauren as she is about to get a coffee and after noticing the good looking guy behind her, she gets flustered and when turning she spills her coffee on him, which is awkward and even worse it gets when she realizes he is a patient at the clinic where she works at because he has cancer. It seems obvious they feel attraction for one another but although Lauren only gave Andrew information and went on to a different specialty she feels conflicted about spending time with him. However, she can't ignore he is someone she likes to talk to and she feels she has a duty to help anyway. But what will happen when they both seem to be falling in love?

This was a sweet story. I liked reading it, although closer to the end, it seemed the conflict got heavier for plot reasons and not as much because the characters really followed that path but this didn't ruin the experience for me.

The story isn't complicated, it focuses on Lauren, a pharmacist who doesn't have such a good relationship with her father and she prefers to stay at the clinic instead of having to go back to work at her father's pharmacy. She is still hoping a place can be created for her and that means dedication and professional behavior, which also means hands off the cute patient whose type of cancer thankfully has good chances of being cured. Most of the conflict is centered at the doctor-patient issue and how much Lauren allows herself to love someone she might not end up close to (especially if the job doesn't pan out).

Andrew, the hero, is characterized as a good guy, and he has some traits I found endearing. I liked how he liked his family and how they were there for him, although he too has problems with his father because of expectations regarding careers. Like Lauren's, his father also hoped he would carry on the family business but Andrew really wants to be a lawyer. One could suppose, with such similar family issues, that the protagonists would bond over this too but I was happy to see there was more to them than just background.

I liked how they were as a couple, how carefully they seemed to take things at first, and nothing improper happens that I would feel Lauren was being unprofessional or that Andrew was forcing her into such a position. I think their relationship went a careful but steady pace and the often presence of Andrew's family members and Lauren's friends made things seem more realistic as opposed if they were always together alone.

Another factor I feel was done well enough - for the type of knowledge I have, which thankfully isn't much since I haven't anyone close to me in the same situation - was how the cancer treatment Andrew goes through is portrayed. There are several scenes with tubes and drugs used and when this happens and that happens to make me believe the author has studied or followed the procedures and when they are supposed to happen, so that what Andrew lives through can be seen as realistic. I can't really know, it's true, but it feels that way.

This is a romance, so the story ends well and despite some scenes which felt a little bit sugary, I was happy with how things turned out for Lauren and Andrew. I think their bond was portrayed as well as it could, they shared many cute moments, shared tastes, inner jokes, stressful situations... I think, even if one ignores the less than good elements, the romance really worked out here.
I might try something else by the author in the future.
Grade: 8/10

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