Monday, November 7, 2011

Ecstasy Wears Emeralds

Ecstasy Wears Emeralds by Renee Bernard 1027

Dr. Rowan West is a well-respected, if not entirely conventional, physician in London who is working hard to do the best he can for his patients and to forget his past. Gayle Renshaw desperately wants to become a physician but all the usual means are blocked because of her gender so she resorts to blackmail. She knows that Rowan was involved with her cousin, Charlotte, back in Standish Crossing, and despite not knowing the specifics, she does know that everyone holds Rowan responsible. Rowan is in need of an apprentice anyway and he sees that she has potential so he succumbs to her blackmail and agrees to train her but only if she will keep their arrangement semi-secret because he does not want other physicians to get wind of what is happening. He immediately puts Gayle to work and while she finds the work exhausting she is excited and motivated and he quickly realizes that she is dedicated and will make a find physician. Gayle has been lead to think of Rowan as heartless, but he proves to be kind and caring and his patients love him.

Suddenly Rowan and his friends come into the picture as members of "The Jaded" a not-quite club of men who apparently met in India while they were all held captive by a mad Indian maharaja. Their experience bonded them and when they left they stole a huge pile of treasure and divided it by color and now someone is after them and trying to get this treasure. The men are trying to decide what to do, but do not know who is trying to hurt them and do not know how to go about smoking him out and making themselves safe again. Rowan needs to keep Gayle safe, even if it means never letting her out of his sight, and this proves far less annoying than he had expected and the two of them spend quite a bit of time together. Gayle still has doubts about Rowan because of what she had learned about his role in her cousin's death, but she has learned that she should accept nothing as fact and should form her own opinions and the man she has come to know could never have harmed someone. Gayle and Rowan have to faith the threats against them, both internal and external, before they are able to accept their love.

I admired Gayle's drive to become a doctor, even if her reason for doing so is kept far too well hidden until the very end of the book, but I felt like her method of going about it was a little off. She foisted herself onto a man she had never met, a man who she believes may have killed her cousin, and while her drive and ambition were intriguing, it was too weird a situation for me. She was intelligent and good with her patients but I did not feel like there was much about her outside of her becoming a doctor. Rowan was very intelligent, even if he could easily have told Gayle the truth about her cousin and saved a whole bunch of bother, and his willingness to take on a female apprentice was years ahead of his time and he obviously cared for his patients. There relationship was actually pretty well developed because they spent a lot of time together even if much of it was in a master-apprentice relationship and/ or as them being doctors and learning. They learned a lot about each other and they were able to work well as physicians together, which seemed like a nice basis for people to get comfortable and fall in love.

They were drawn to each other physically but they both resisted for a long time because of their unorthodox working relationship. While when they eventually had sex it was steamy and inventive I did not feel like it was hot, and that might be because by that time I was just hoping the book would end soon and it was coming so late. Maybe unsatisfied desire can only last for so long before I feel like there's no point in satisfying it. The Jaded plot in this book came across as just ridiculous because it popped up completely out of the blue about halfway through and was not explained at all. Elements that were necessary to make sense of it were left out and new details that had been left out of the previous two books were thrown in- like dividing up the treasure by color- and they seemed haphazardly added for no reason. Nothing was resolved in the novel, because it is very clear that there are more books coming in the series and past happy couples appear repeatedly throughout the book and everyone is so happy with each other and such good friends and it annoyed me.

Rating: I felt like the Jaded plot dragged down the romance which already had some issues and I could not get in to what was happening with these 2 characters.

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