After her brother dies in her trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. Broken-hearted and unsure of her abilities in the ER, Claire leaves the hospital, moves into her brother's home, adopts his gnarly cat, and embarks on a new career in nursing education, at a new hospital. Claire's plan to build a new life, and her vow to never again set foot in an ER, falls apart when she is called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heart-breaking day care center explosion. Unforeseen circumstances force her back to the ER where Claire immediately clashes with Logan Caldwell, the hard-as-nails doctor who resents her presence and belittles her new career, believing touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time - he has the failed marriage to prove it. Logan demands his staff be as tough as he is... yet he finds himself drawn to this gentle nurse educator who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.
Critical Care by Candace Calvert is the first book in the Mercy Hospital series. I only discovered Calvert last year, but am eagerly digging into her earlier works. I really enjoy Calvert's medical writing. It is very obvious she used to work in hospitals herself, as her work has a level of authenticity which adds immensely to the overall feel of the story. The overall impression you get while reading, is that it may very well be based on reality - a great feat for any author. Not once in any of the books I've read have I found myself thinking "this is unrealistic", "this is far-fetched" or "this is just too good to be true". Having a story so grounded in reality enhances the reading experience, placing the reader in the middle of the hospital.
The characters Claire and Logan are wonderfully real, flawed, hurting characters easy to fall in love with. I was rooting for both of them to find healing in the Lord and in each other the whole way through. The supporting characters are charming and add to the story instead of distracting from it. Calvert unfailingly manages to make the reader care about every character - the sign of a truly gifted author.
Claire's struggle to heal from the loss of her brother and her subsequent self-doubt, and Logan's cynicism following his failed marriage are very real driving forces in the character development. As they find comfort in each other Claire finally has someone she can trust with her secrets, and Logan finally has someone who just might soften his hardened heart. The question is, can they find a way to let go of the past in order to embrace the future? Can they get out of their own way and learn to trust in God's plan for their lives instead of their own?
Critical Care by Candace Calvert is a very enjoyable read I finished in just two days. I highly recommend any work by Calvert; she's an author who just won't let you down!
Title: Critical Care
Author: Candace Calvert
Number of pages: 304
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
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