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.
The 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-