All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Doctors Beyond Borders – Georgie Tyler

on January 7, 2014

9780857991133_500Doctors Beyond Borders
Georgie Tyler
Harlequin Escape
2013, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Australian doctor Ariadne Tate is fleeing a failed relationship when she takes a deployment to Sudan with Médecins Sans Frontières. Romance is the last thing on her mind and in the country devastated by war, famine, crimes against humanity and disease, she vows to find a way to both make a difference and forget the betrayal she left behind. But she didn’t count on meeting American doctor Ford Gosden, also in Sudan.

Ford is too attractive for his own good and Ariadne, who has been called cold before, isn’t ready for what he can make her feel. She doesn’t want to get involved with him – she’s already had her heart broken enough and even if they were to give in to their feelings, it would only get messy. They live together and work together but only for a little while longer. When their deployments are over, Ford will go back home and America and she will go back home to Sydney. There’s no point losing her heart when nothing can come of it.

Ariadne throws herself into doing the best she can for her patients, inoculating them against disease, trying to treat them for the ones they already have and trying to get them enough nourishing food so that they survive. But as the political tensions escalate, Ariadne has caught the eye of a local militia leader who sees her as a prize he must have. When she is taken during a run to deliver supplies to communities, Ford cannot sit around and wait for MSF or the UN to attempt to negotiate her release. He’ll do anything he can to get her back…..or die trying.

I’ve never read a novel set in Sudan before but it’s an area that’s been in the news an awful lot recently. This book is apparently set before the creation of South Sudan (it’s talked about in the novel as likely to happen soon) but it’s set in the politically tumultuous region of Abyei, which even now, is the subject of fighting by both the northern (Sudan) government and the newly-created South Sudan. It’s been seized by the north and at the moment, seems to be held to the stricter rules of the Islamic authoritarian state. For the purposes of this review I’m going to assume that it’s all ruled by Sudan and each part of it is held to those rules, because I’m surprised that the doctors consumed alcohol often and kept it within their house, especially given that local militia often made drive bys in the night to intimidate them. Alcohol is illegal in Sudan – the consumption of, the making of, the importation of. And although regions of the more moderate south do make their own ‘moonshine’ type grog, it can often be laced with some pretty bad stuff and it’s a risk to even consider drinking it. To be caught either possessing or drinking alcohol is an offence punishable under Sharia law. I’m not sure if the MSF or UN forces would be considered exempt from this but I’d guess that if they’re going to be tolerated in the country providing aid then they’d probably have to adhere to the laws. Ariadne also spends a lot of time wandering around the desert in tiny shorts and singlet tops which seems a pretty awesome way to get skin cancer. But perhaps I just feel that way because I’m a ridiculously pale redhead with genes more suited to Scotland than Australia and I can get burned on an 18 degree day.

On to the actual story. Ariadne was involved with someone she worked with back in Australia only to be betrayed by him. She seems to have run away from that situation and decided to immerse herself somewhere totally different working for the greater good providing medical assistance to those that need it. But her vow against romance lasts for only as long as it takes her to lay eyes on Dr Ford Gosden and his emerald green eyes. Ford too is scarred by something gone wrong back in America and he’s also been the subject of unwanted attention from a MSF midwife as well. But he wants Ariadne (boy does he want Ariadne) and he sets about attempting to break down the walls she has constructed around herself. It’s not an easy task but Ford is very persistent and he keeps chipping away at her defenses. There’s very much an instalust situation going on here – Ariadne can’t stop staring at his eyes and fantasizing about his body and it seems to go both ways. Ford is a ball of hormones – randier than a teenage boy with his first sexual experience dangling in front of him! They certainly had a lot of sexual chemistry and passion but the transition to love does feel a little rapid. Their interactions are all mostly sexual or concerning patients/the situation in Sudan.

Ariadne was a prickly character, quite stand offish but she developed a good friendship with one of the other female doctors. However some of the characters in this book did odd things – Gabriella was such a stereotype it was almost embarrassing and some of the locals felt very cliched, especially when they waxed lyrical about their country and what it had done to them. Ariadne also does something incredibly stupid going off alone with just Jack, the driver, to deliver supplies. Why she’d even think to get that idea into her head is beyond me, especially when she’d already had a run in with the local feared militia leader and seen his rather sinister interest in her. Characters who make decisions to do such things in a foreign country, especially a foreign country as unstable and dangerous as Sudan (seriously, read the warnings about travelling both into the country and around it, it’s rather enlightening) frustrate me enormously. There’s wanting to help, and that’s fine. It’s her job. But there’s also a matter of personal safety. And not putting yourself in a situation where you can get kidnapped, raped, tortured and probably murdered.


Book #336 of 2013


2 responses to “Doctors Beyond Borders – Georgie Tyler

  1. I totally hear your frustration, Bree. I hate it when characters do stupid things like that, even when it’s not set in a war-torn country. Having read a few books set in Sudan last year, I could picture the story from your descriptions and have to agree with you on the issues of alcohol, inappropriate dress, and foolish decisions.

    Such a shame, because I love the premise of this – except for what drove her to go to Sudan. Why does there have to be a love-life reason? It makes her sound a bit … self-serving or something.

    I suppose that, had she been a woman who went there because she’s passionate about the cause and is selfless, she wouldn’t make stupid decisions or fall into instant-lust with a handsome man. Which would cancel out the romance.

    Ah gee, there’s the down-side of the formula! I still think you can write intelligent romance centred around intelligent characters, though!

    • I’m not very adventurous so I can’t picture myself visiting Sudan etc but I can guarantee that if I DID I would do my utmost to blend in, lol. I did find it really odd that they drank alcohol although there’s no mention of how they sourced it.

      I’m not really sure how the more remote tribal women dress but there is quite a large Sudanese community in Melbourne and Hunter went to preschool with at least one Sudanese child and the women all wore the very long flowing dresses/kaftan type things and headscarves which were also all very long, like down to their knees. Almost another layer of clothing. So I think that wandering around in denim shorts and a tank top would certainly be conspicuous as well as terribly ignorant of the weather conditions.

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