Who the hell wears tights on the Great Barrier Reef? The temperature never falls below 23c/74F even in midwinter.
We have here an Australian Mills & Boon “Medical Romance” where the heroine, Nicole Gardiner, in her silky “bare leg” tights, is a nurse on a resort island and the hero, Dr Sloan Reilly, is a doctor.
We also – for this is 1992 – have a gay character! Just in case we are in any way unclear as to his sexuality, it is spelt out for us with a sledgehammer:
“Darling!” said Murray Peterson, the resort manager, when Nicole greeted him. “I know what you’re fretting about.” He called everyone darling, including any man he fancied.
Murray then proceeds to call Nicole “darling” in Every. Single. Damn. Line. of dialogue. SIX times in one-and-a-half pages. Actually one is a “sweetheart”, but it’s the same, ghastly, parody-of-a-gay-man effect. I don’t know if the author had Australia’s Murray-Darling basin river system in her head, but seriously.
The main problem, though, is not Darling Murray, Darling (who incidentally never appears again after this first scene) but the excruciating and numerous times we get into the hero’s head. I know people like MPOV. I get it. They want to know what the hero is thinking about the heroine. But Dr Sloan just sounds like a twat.
There’s also the gross-out factor that the “meet-cute” involves Nicole mistaking Dr Sloan for a patient, and still getting sexy vibes while treating him. For their first “date”, Nicole chooses:
…a demure brown dress with a cream lacy collar and elbow length sleeves.
There’s a reason we Brits adored Neighbours (soap opera) when it arrived in the 1980s. Because the clothes and hair in it, even for the eighties, were rather ghastly. Australian ghastly. Bad perms, mullets, frumpy stuff. And this book is a good example. Dr Sloan wears a suit and silver-and-maroon striped tie for his first night on the tropical island, though it’s clearly summer (30c/86F) since people are swimming and swanning around in mini-skirts.
Dr Sloan has a 16-year-old daughter, Lucy, who is “difficult” because her mother died three years ago. Yawn. In between exceedingly dreary kissing and caressing and nipples, the main plot is Lucy’s difficult relationship with her father and Nicole reconciling them. Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.
Then there’s a cyclone. Sadly no one dies.