Back to the Rivers family Hospital and ex –army medic physician-assistant Glenn Archer is the permanently on call ER PA who works to atone for the lives she couldn’t save. She is the typical cut-off true romantic who no longer believes she is fit for anything except work. Mariana Mateo arrives in town to join the faculty of the new PA training program, leaving a home and family that has left her battered and bruised from rejection. She is determined to make a new life, but having never been part of a small town community, has no idea what to expect, or how she will fit in.
A very traditional romance, with two women with damaged hearts and souls, seeing work as their only positive, determined to create a life on their own, both with very different but equally valid reasons for being emotionally distant. On the one hand they fit almost seamlessly into the Rivers clan, Glenn as an adopted member of the family, Mari soon finding that she has found a perfect niche, but on the other both are outsiders having either come from or faced far tougher lives than those of the sheltered small town community.
Glenn and Mari are interesting characters. There’s enough angst to give the story impetus without being melodramatic. I always enjoy Radclyffe’s medical dramas and this one definitely kept my interest with it’s medical emergencies and the interplay of the ER team. The classic climax of the plot is well done, and there’s a good mix of romance and sexual exploration.
I enjoyed the read, I enjoyed, as always, revisiting well-liked and known characters and seeing the developing interaction between them. I admit to being an avid series junky, and the Rivers clan are a warm and welcoming bunch. Each novel adds a layer of events and knowledge to our existing characters and I particularly enjoyed seeing a little more of mother Rivers, the rock behind the family.
One has to wonder quite how many lesbians can work in this one fairly small hospital, how many lesbians you can fit into one family, and how many new romances Rad can work into the series. I would definitely vote to revisit, deepen and broaden the existing characters; any more incoming will push the bounds of suspended disbelief.
For me the Rivers Community Romance series is a solid and enjoyable soap, nothing too taxing or difficult, a gentle re-immersion into a familiar space. Not up there with the Provincetown and Honor Series, but still a very pleasant way to spend the evening in front of the fire.
(publisher review copy received)
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