A story with fast-paced medical scenes and low angst romance
A medical romance by Radclyffe is always a cause for celebration. If it’s part of the Pennsylvania Medical Center (PMC) Hospital Romances series, even better.
Ren Dunbar is not the typical surgery resident and she knows it. Graduating high school at thirteen and med school at nineteen makes her feel as if she never belonged anywhere so she prefers to focus her career on research. She wants to win the Benjamin Franklin Prize in surgery to show her potential to everyone. Dani Chan comes from a family of researchers who are disappointed in her choice of career in clinical medicine. If she wins the Benjamin Franklin Prize she might be able to win their approval and affection. Ren and Dani are set to win but they didn’t count on their mutual attraction…
This is book 6 in the PMC Hospital Romances series formed also by Passion’s Bright Fury (prequel), Fated Love (book 1), Night Call (book 2), Crossroads (book 3), Passionate Rivals (book 4) and Unrivaled (book 5). They are all standalone romances and they don’t need to be read in order though I recommend doing it as the whole series is very enjoyable. Fated Love, written in 2004, is not only my favourite of the series but also my favourite of all of Radclyffe’s books. There’s something to be said about how Radclyffe captures the tenderness and heat of a love story with the exciting setting of an emergency room.
Like the rest of the books in the series, Perfect Rivalry features some of the main characters from the previous books with a special emphasis on Honor and Quinn from Fated Love. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with their relationship and their family, it feels like visiting old friends. They always steal the show for me.
The main focus is, however, the relationship between Ren and Dani. Ren is Saxon Sinclair’s younger sister. Saxon’s story is featured in the prequel of the series Passion’s Bright Fury. Like Sinclair, Ren is a superachiever, highly intelligent and very dedicated to her career. But for all her professional accomplishments, she’s very reserved and guarded in her relationships. She keeps to herself and is an enigma that Dani is willing to unveil.
Medical romances are hard to pull off, especially when trying to mix the technicalities of the medical scenes with the build-up of a romantic relationship. Some authors find it hard to balance the page space between medicine and romance as it’s difficult not to go overboard with one aspect or the other. In Perfect Rivalry, Radclyffe hit the right spot and made the medical subplot as important as the romance. I trust the veracity of Radclyffe’s medical scenes implicitly as the author is a retired surgeon with lots of experience as a writer. In this case, I found that she also nailed the human aspects of medicine in the interaction between patients and doctors.
Regarding the relationship between Ren and Dani, even though it’s not the hottest of Radclyffe’s output, it’s appealing enough to get the reader invested in them. The synopsis suggests more rivalry than what the book delivers but I personally didn’t mind it at all. Radclyffe manages to present a story low on angst and a relationship that develops organically without huge dramas or big gestures. In Perfect Rivalry, the adrenaline-pumping moments are provided by the medical scenes.
If you are looking for a story with fast-paced medical scenes and low angst romance, then this one is for you. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.