All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Doctor Calling by Meredith Appleyard

on February 29, 2016

Doctor CallingThe Doctor Calling
Meredith Appleyard
Penguin Books AUS
2016, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {courtesy of the publisher/}:

What Laura was about to do wasn’t easy. To become embroiled in a family’s grief, their anger, their secrets, wasn’t safe, or clever.

Rebuilding her life again after unexpected tragedy, GP Laura O’Connor flees Adelaide, and her medical career, for a quiet life in rural Potters Junction. She’s looking to escape her own family dramas. The last thing she expects is to become caught up in another’s.

Jake Finlay is a man with a troubled past and a passion for risk-taking. After years away from his small home town, he’s hell-bent on keeping his distance. But his father is dying and this could be the last chance they have to make amends.

As Laura and Jake come together over the care for the frail man, they experience an irresistible attraction. Will facing death help them both to grab hold of life? And might love be just what the doctor ordered?

This is Meredith Appleyard’s second novel, A Country Practice being her first and set in the same area as this one. I didn’t read A Country Practice and even though the main characters do appear here briefly, it’s not necessary to have before reading this one.

Laura is a GP who has taken a leave of absence from her Adelaide practice and come to the quiet town of Potter’s Junction, a place she spent holidays in as a young child. Under the pretense of doing up an old cottage she and her sister have inherited, Laura is taking a break from the medical world and all the complications that can go with it after to very big personal losses very close together. She keeps fit by running, taking with her the dog of her neighbour, a man who is terminally ill. She’s out running one morning when she’s almost run over by a guy on a motorcycle – a guy who turns out to be her neighbour’s son.

Jake lit out of Potter’s Junction years ago and would’ve been happy to never return. He’s harboured a secret deep inside him, something that’s been eating away at him for years and he’s attempted to put distance between himself and what he found out. When his sister calls him home, Jake doesn’t want to stay long. He’ll put in a few days and then it’ll be back off on his next overseas adventure. He doesn’t seem to understand the severity of the situation, or doesn’t want to.

I have to admit, I didn’t love this book and part of that….it might just be my situation and where I am in my personal life at the moment. I read to escape, to get away from some of the things that drag me down in daily life and this book? It’s kind of full of one of the things I’m so desperate to escape right now. I actually almost marked it a DNF because it was making me pretty depressed but I felt like I was projecting my own issues onto the book and plowed on. Apart from the thing that was making me depressed and down, the biggest problem I had with the book was the character of Jake.

Jake is a 40yo man with a giant chip on his shoulder and a hefty streak of arrogance. I found a lot of his early interactions with Laura really quite awkward, the way he kept popping up and inviting himself in for coffee. In the beginning she really didn’t seem to be wanting to get to know him and he’s doing things like thinking about how good her ass is just after she tells him that she’s a widow. I found it very unappealing and I couldn’t really get into their romance at all, before it got off the ground or after.

In some ways I understood Jake’s attitude towards what he found out so many years ago – but only up until a point. Your attitude at 40 should be a bit different than your reaction at 19 and the years in between I thought, would’ve mellowed Jake and allowed him to see what a gift he’d actually been given but it seems as though he really doesn’t want to focus on the good of the situation, only the perceived negatives. He deserved a good kick up the backside, except he kept everything bottled up inside so that his family had no real idea why he’d taken off and was so obviously reluctant to ever come back and visit. I felt a lot for his father, who seemed like a wonderful, patient and very giving man. He was my favourite character in the whole book.

I didn’t mind Laura either, I admired her because I think that she’d had a lot to deal with recently and she was taking some steps she needed to heal. Although she was on leave, it didn’t take long before her professional training kicked in and she found herself helping fill in for the local doctor, a man nearing retirement age. She was clearly good at her job, very vigilant and concerned about her patients, and she seemed to develop a good rapport with them as well. The medical stuff was interesting at times…..but quite skewed towards that thing I was trying to avoid! I would’ve liked to see some few more things featured, rather than just different versions of the same disease.

All in all, this one was just okay for me.


Book #30 of 2016


Book #17 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016


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