Critical Care (Mercy Hospital Book 1) by Candace Calvert
Candace Calvert writes pulse-throbbing, action packed “hope operas” in the medical romance genre. She creates vibrantly alive characters we can relate with and wonderful character development where members of a medical team face daily personal, professional and spiritual challenges. You may not want to put the book down until you’ve read it to the end.
At Sierra Mercy Hospital the staff had dubbed Dr. Logan Caldwell “Dr. McSnarly.” That reputation was on solid ground when Claire Averysuffered her first encounter with him in the ER. It was the worst possible time for her to be there since they’d just had an influx of emergency cases–a fire at a local daycare center. Claire wasn’t there as a nurse, but Logan Caldwell didn’t know that. With his caustic “Help, or get out of the way” comment still ringing in her ears, she went on to find the nursing director who had called her there. Claire was a nurse educator, on call to offer peer support and emotional well-being assessments of the ER staff. They had just lost a little girl from the daycare.
It didn’t take long for Claire to determine that Dr. Caldwell had no use for counseling, intervention and especially prayer. In fact, his way of dealing with the stress of working the ER was just to soldier on when things got tough. He expected his medical support team to do the same. None of this touchy-feely stuff Claire was bringing to his ER. Claire considered the ER director’s hard line attitude as part of the problem, especially with the high turnover rate and complaints from some of the nurses. Her job was to help “heal the healers.” To do that, she would have to go toe to toe with Dr. McSnarly.
In developing the characters, the author reveals that there’s a reason why Logan Caldwell encloses himself in a shell. We learn that Claire has issues of her own due to the loss of her fireman brother two years earlier. One of Dr. Caldwell’s most efficient nurses, Sarah, is bearing up under a weight no one else knows about, and the charge nurse, Erin, is trying to hold together her team of nurses while dealing with personal insecurities. How all this comes to a head in an explosion of events is what makes this book an exciting read.
Another element besides the fast pace and great character portrayal is the author’s use of metaphors. My favorite two metaphors have to do with a stump on Dr. Caldwell’s property, and Claire’s brother’s rescued cat, Smokey, who has only one ear. The cat had lost a skirmish with a raccoon with the loss of one ear and his confidence. Now he refuses to go outside. Logan wants to build a home on his property, but the stubborn stump is in his way. He has spent hours hacking away at it with an ax, but it refuses to budge.
Digging deeper, there is an important spiritual message woven into the plot. Claire has made an effort to remake herself and her career after her brother’s death by retraining to become a nurse educator. It all fit into her plans to recover from the devastation of her ER experience of the past. This plan is reflected in her prayers for healing. So why was she suddenly thrust back into the ER as peer counselor to stressed staff when she herself was barely recovered from her painful memories? What was God doing, changing her plans?
I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed this one. I highly recommend them to readers who enjoy medicals dramas, humor, seemingly impossible romances and Christian content.