Monday, April 24, 2017

Necessary Medicine by M.K. York

With intelligence and humor, debut male/male author M.K. York delivers an emotionally charged slow-burn romance set in a prestigious Bay Area teaching hospital

In the high-intensity world of hospital residency programs, there's no room for romance. So it's a good thing for first-year surgical resident Neil Carmona that his crush on the gorgeous cardiologist Eli Newcombe is sheer fantasy. Not only is the sexy doctor Neil's superior, he's also recently divorced.

As Neil's skill as a surgeon grows, so does his friendship with Eli, and his silent, hopeless longing for more. It isn't until Neil's final year that Eli at last admits his own deepest desires. But Neil's joy is short-lived: Eli has no intention of pursuing a relationship. Their positions in the hospital would make it unethical, even if he was emotionally ready for someone new.

Wounded and furious, Neil is determined to forget about Eli once and for all. But when a near-tragedy strikes, a new question arises: Is a life without love—without Neil—a greater risk than laying his heart on the line?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Told from Neil's point of view, the story takes us from the first time Neil sees Eli in a coffee shop right before a lecture where Eli is the guest lecturer, to the end of his residency.

We quickly follow Neil to residency where we see the difficulties he faces and how hard you have to work to become a surgeon. Trying to find time to sleep is hard enough, let alone trying to have a social life or any kind of work life balance. Neil does makes friends at the hospital. Mark and Kristi, fellow residents, Pete, his mentor, and also Eli, as they work together to help improve diversity at the hospital, all help Neil as he moves through residency.

I devoured Necessary Medicine in less than 24 hours. I am a huge fan of medical drama shows like ER and Grey's Anatomy, so this story was right up my alley. Necessary Medicine is a slow burn and I loved it. I was engaged with the story right from the beginning. I loved the different characters and seeing life at the hospital. Of course, the highlight is the growing friendship between Neil and Eli and their move from friends to more, which was perfectly done. Necessary Medicine is a wonderful story.

This is one of the more realistic medical stories that I’ve read. The book follows Neil through the ups and downs of his grueling four-year surgical residency. The slow burn romance between Neil and Eli, one of the senior doctors in his hospital, runs alongside the story of Neil’s medical career.

I found the medical details in this story more successful than the romance. Neil’s grueling schedule brought back vivid and unwelcome memories of living with my husband during his years as a junior doctor in the UK. The American residency system is slightly different, but making high stakes decisions while sleep deprived is a common experience. It would be impossible not to empathise with Neil and his colleagues.

While this story tracks Neil’s residency with accuracy and honesty, I’m not sure it works as a novel. Four years is a long period of time to cover in a novel. Here, I felt that the author struggles at times to sustain an exciting pace through four years of repetitive and tedious medical study. With only the timeline of Neil’s residency to structure the plot, this felt at times more like a series of journal entries than a novel.

Four years is also a long time to stretch out a romance. Neil first encounters Eli as a medical student at a lecture. For me, Neil’s journey from quiet fandom to admirer to colleague to friend and finally to something more is just too drawn out. Any initial chemistry between these two died long before they actually got together. Eli’s hang-ups about his sexuality and his life in the closet complicate the romance and do nothing to make him a more attractive partner for Neil. Hiding in the closet makes Eli feel much older than Neil – I found the age gap between these two more off-putting than sexy.

While I appreciate the accuracy of the medical details in this story, it did little for me as a novel. Readers with a keen interest in medical dramas or medical careers will enjoy this for the careful detail. Readers wanting a sexy m/m romance should probably look elsewhere.

Michelle K. York is a medical student on the West Coast with a master’s degree in psychology. Necessary Medicine is her debut novel. Previous work includes fanfiction, as well as academic publications on the social perception of sexual orientation and the intersections of sexual orientation and gender identity with patient experience in the medical profession.

Connect with Michelle

Twitter  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Necessary Medicine by M.K. York to read and review.

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