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Phillipa Ashley

REVIEW:  Fever Cure by Phillipa Ashley

REVIEW: Fever Cure by Phillipa Ashley

Dear Ms. Ashley:

I was looking for recommendations for contemporary romances and this Samhain title was recommended to me. By whom, I am unsure. While this is the first book of yours that I have read, it appears that you’ve been successfully publishing Chick Lit type of stories in the UK which are now being reprinted in the US by Sourcebooks. Jayne enjoyed “Dating Mr. December” and frankly from her review, it sounds like I would too.  I guess the main difference between “Fever Cure” and your other titles is that “Fever Cure” appears to be more explicit.

Fever Cure Phillipa AshleyThe two leads in the story are very likable but I felt the conflict didn’t hold up for the entirety of the story and that the unsolvable nature of the conflict was too easily resolved.  Keira Grayson has a meet cute with enigmatic British fellow, Tom Carew, outside the church where a fellow schoolteacher was getting married. The Honourable Doctor Thomas Edmund Jasper Carew is a passionate humanitarian working as a rural doctor in the Papua Islands. He’s back for a short break and then plans to return. Keira is a school teacher who has her own passion for her children, her teaching, and her permanent roots. Thus, the unsolvable conflict. Either Tom gives up his humanitarian passion and disdain for general practitioner work in Britain or Keira gives up her position as a school teacher and her desire for permanency.

Despite Dr. Tom knowing that he wants to return to Papua Islands as soon as possible and despite Keira knowing this as well, the two embark on an affair which deepens beyond the physical after each moment spent together. Tom’s family looks on Keira as if she is a gift from heaven, hoping that Tom’s desire and burgeoning love will ground him close to his family. His older gay brother also encourages the relationship knowing that no heirs to the title will issue from his relationship.

Tom comes off as bossy and presumptuous at times. This plays well because Keira finds it attractive and Tom sees it as a sign of his own social ineptness. He acknowledges that it is a character flaw and we, as the reader, get the vicarious thrill of enjoying a bossy guy without actually having one in the house irritating us constantly.

He checked his watch briefly, then said. “Right. Saturday. Seven thirty. Your flat. I’ll drive.”

“Now, just hang on a moment! I might be doing something!”

He just smiled, grabbed his bag and made his way to the door.

“Besides, how do you know where I live?” she called as he walked out into the corridor.

“I asked Carrie.”

“You’ve got a nerve, Tom Carew. Just who do you think you are?”

“A presumptuous git,” he shot back. “With a table booked for two at one of the best Italian restaurants in London.”

The dialogue between the two is funny and charming. But the conflict lacked enough energy to carry it through the novel length of the book and despite the fun dialogue and the sexy scenes, I wanted the movement of the book to speed up. The unsolvable nature of the conflict didn’t abate and when the solution was presented to the reader, I felt deflated. I hadn’t seen enough in the build up to warrant the ending.

Up to the end, both parties were very set in their ways and both seemed to have a true passion for their careers and their life’s choices but there was no easy resolution to their dilemma. The resolution, however, was only one that could have been made in romance. B-

Best regards,



REVIEW: Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) by Phillipa Ashley

REVIEW: Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) by Phillipa Ashley

“When a nice girl asks twelve men to get naked, it's sure to cause a scandal-

Emma Tremayne leaves her high-powered PR job and moves to the Lake District looking for peace, quiet-and celibacy. So perhaps it's not the best idea when, in the spirit of "community-mindedness," she agrees to help the local mountain rescue team fund raise by putting together a "tasteful" nude calendar. Especially since quite a lot of the community seems to mind what she's up to-including the tall, dark and handsome Mr. December, Will Tennant, who appears to have gotten the wrong impression about Emma's intentions. So how does she convince him that he's more than just the flavor of the month?”

Dear Ms. Ashley,

Your publicist had already contacted us about potentially reviewing your book, “Dating Mr. December” when we featured you in our First Sale series. That, plus the interesting information that there was a movie made from the book which would be airing soon in the US and also out on DVD got me moving on reading it. Even though it’s not truly a Christmas themed book, I still think readers will enjoy it for the holidays.

Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) by Phillipa Ashley The workplace issues/snake boyfriend/skank boss are a reasonable set up for Emma to leave her high paying job. It was more of a stretch to think she’d end up in Cumbria, which I gather is not far from the ‘back of beyond,’ but that’s required for the plot. Once there, I liked the local color though I’d love to know what a real Cumbrian accent sounds like.
I enjoyed the rescue team scenes with lots of male camaraderie and teasing about the idea of the calendar and then about the actual photos. But isn’t a nudie calendar as a fund raiser wearing thin by now? Do these things still sell or is the public surfeited with them?
Will’s reluctance about the calendar makes sense from his POV – he thinks it will make them look silly and a laughing stock and less professional – all guy concerns. At least he acknowledges that Emma has done a good job presenting the idea.

Will’s response of pushing Emma into absieling – indeed his response of pushing her, period – also seems so guy. A little boy response of teasing someone he’s actually interested in. But then he also does the guy thing of pushing her away when he’s startled by his attraction to her. I like that when he does realize what he’s doing – acting like a horny schoolboy – he decides he wants better in their relationship – he wants to earn her respect.

But I am appalled with Will that he initiates then continues with the foreplay while in Emma’s workplace. She maintains some degree of professionalism and given his status and experience as a businessman he should also. He only just redeems himself by being appalled too. His caveman actions are balanced a bit by the times when he feels clumsy and gauche in her presence. Brava that Emma decides that she wants – and deserves – more than she knows (at the time) Will is willing or able to give. She does keep her eyes open until she falls in love. And even then, she thinks her feelings are returned before giving in.

Will moves himself back into my good graces as once he hears the story of why Emma arrived in the area, he’s all man, wanting to defend and protect her. And also beat up the idjut who’d hurt her. For me it showed a growth of real feelings for her beyond simple attraction. He starts to understand her better and feels protective, showing her affection and respect – not just lust or manners.

I like that Emma believes in Will before she hears the truth about his broken engagement. She doesn’t automatically project his past onto their potential future and she’s willing to take the chance. The reason she’s so hurt is not what she’s been told he did to Kate – though she feels for Kate – but that he doesn’t ask her to stay. He doesn’t or can’t take the leap of faith in them to commit. That’s what hurts her the most and makes her leave.

But oh the lovely groveling scene when Will Reveals All (well, all except for his middle name) and finally gets out what he really feels for Emma. That plus the fact that his reasoning for not having told people what truly happened with his first engagement makes sense, again in a guy way, and that he’d be willing to move to London for Emma’s job leaves me satisfied. Since this was your first book, I’m hoping that I will enjoy the others you’ve written just as well if not more. B


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