Review: A Place in Your Heart by Kathy Otten

Reviewed by Jen

I am a big fan of historical romance, though usually my preference is for the Regency era or the occasional Highlander offering. But the blurb on this Civil War romance caught my attention. It centers on an Irish nurse named Gracie and the disagreeable surgeon who drives her crazy.

Charles constantly makes cracks about her tender sensibilities and insists that the medical ward is no place for a woman. What seems like arrogance, though, really masks a complete inability on his part to connect to other people. It is never explicitly stated, but I feel like he may have had mild Aspergers or fallen somewhere on the autism spectrum. He could not express his feelings; he did not understand humor. He was ostracized his entire life but just could not find his place. Except with medicine.

This is definitely an enemies to lovers story. Charles makes Gracie crazy, but over time she grows to appreciate his skill and realizes there is more to him than meets the eye. It doesn’t hurt that he excites her with his unbidden kisses. Still, she doesn’t feel like any man can ever replace her late husband. This is a slow burn romance for sure. (And a virgin hero, BTW.)

I liked Gracie and her unwavering commitment to her patients. I felt her frustration dealing with all of the sexist doctors she encountered. For that matter, I felt Charles’s frustration with some of the backward medical thinking of the time. Though I liked the hero, I still did not feel like I understood entirely his violent tendencies or exactly what happened in his past that got him demoted. Maybe I’m supposed to infer a little bit more about that, as I did with the autism, but I think I would’ve liked an explanation that was a little more overt.

There is a lot of time and attention focused on the medical elements of the book. Everything from the smells and sights of a hospital ward to surgical techniques and the damage various bullets can do. I don’t know a lot about the accuracy of things like that, but if you dig that level of detail, it’s there.

Then there is the mystery which pops up in the second half. I don’t want to spoil it, but it did not feel completely necessary to the story. It almost felt like an afterthought. It takes so long for this couple to really completely connect that I felt a little short-changed. They get together and then it’s all over. I know they have an HEA, but I wanted more clues about what their life was going to be like together. Maybe an epilogue would’ve helped in that way.

There were a couple of typos, but overall, I enjoyed the story. I’m glad I picked it up and if you are in the mood for a historical romance with a medical bent, you should consider giving it a try.

Rating: B/B-

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Place in Your Heart
by Kathy Otten
Release Date: May 21, 2018
Publisher: Wild Rose Press

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