Review: Beautiful Potential by J Saman

Reviewed by Joanna

Alert! Wounded hero who can’t be with the heroine but can’t keep away Klaxon! Sigh. This is my absolute favorite trope, and Dr Finn Banner is just sumptuous in the alphahole role where I wanted to simultaneously throttle and hug him. But as I also want to be best buddies with the heroine, I imagine she might not be so keen on that. Hmm.

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. Gia Bianchi has just graduated as a midwife, having already qualified as a nurse. Her parents don’t show for her graduation ceremony, and when she calls them she finds her father is in hospital having had a heart attack.

He doesn’t make it, and Gia is given the facts—and a bit of comfort—by a handsome doctor, who tells her how his own father died. They share a little moment of bonding, then go their separate ways.

A year on, and the same guy appears at her hospital having not long started work there himself. And it seems he remembers her just as much as she recalls him.

They have that super chemistry thing going on, and the air crackles when the other is near. Mmm, shivers.

But as much as our handsome doctor craves his favorite midwife and can’t keep away, Finn has a dark and sad past, and refuses to commit. He plays hot and cold with Gia, including layering on the tender—see a very sweet scene where he stitches her elbow after she takes a fall—then leaving her in the lurch when he just can’t take the next step with her. It’s almost like he’s trying to overcome a phobia—get as close to the scary thing because it’s fascinating and you can give it control, but, oh wait! It’s moving! Run!

He smiles and I decide I hate his smile. It’s misleading. It’s the sort of smile which says you’re all I think about and a lot of those thoughts are deliciously dirty. It’s the sort of smile you can’t help but feel in the pit of your stomach as well as a few other key places. I want to tell him his demeanour is false advertising…

And as kind and lovely as Gia is, she can’t take that forever. In fact, she takes it much more than most women would. Back and forth they go, Finn makes moves, crowding Gia’s personal space, bringing her daily coffees, making himself known, but then he runs away when it’s time to kiss.

When finally Gia calls him on his BS and dates someone else, Finn turns into a smirking, jealous idiot. He wants her, doesn’t want her, wishes he never saw her, and God help anyone else who tries to love her.

His saving grace is that you can tell no matter how much he messes Gia around, he wishes things were different. And the short interludes into his past show the reasons why he is the way he is.

I get the messed up. I would be too.

But of course love can’t be contained. And oh. My. God. The scene where he first tells her he loves her? They speak in different languages—him French, her Italian—and it’s casual, diverted, meaningful and so gorgeous.

This book had my chest aching for unfulfilled love, and overall it has a pacey and lovely vibe. There are lots of bar scenes and tired shifts in the busy New York hospital. Clearly Saman works in the medical trade or is an excellent researcher.

Rating: B+

Trigger warning: A scene details the birth of a very premature baby, who doesn’t make it. It is somewhat graphic.

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Beautiful Potential
by J Saman
Release Date: February 6, 2018

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