No one wears cheap scrub tops in Ann Patchett’s A State of Wonder because it is about a medical researcher who struggles to learn about herself in the depths of the Brazilian jungle medical cabinet. There is no shortage of drama here, but it is not the medical drama you may expect or want in a casual read.
- The market likes romance fiction set in the medical world, soap operas where characters have trouble keeping on their cheap scrub tops. From General Hospital to Grey’s Anatomy, television never tires of flooding the market with the tears and fears of vulnerable nurses and hunky doctors. These books are fast, fun reads that you can pass around the break room.
- You will find heroes, humor and an abandoned baby in SEALed Forever by Mary Margret Daughtridge. “Hot” on the sensuality checklist, it is a plot and character driven heartwarming romance. This far-fetched story has Navy Seal Garth Vale discover an abandoned baby, which he takes to the local doctor for treatment. Dr. Bronwyn Whitescarver takes care of the child immediately. Garth falls in love; and the struggle to make their love and careers work is on.
- In Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, Claire Randall is a married nurse in 1945 with a lover in the 1790s. During a second-honeymoon tour of Great Britain, she is transported back to war-ridden Scotland. She struggles with fidelity to her husband and desire for her Scot warrior. She is thrust into exotic and wild adventures among Scottish castles, lochs and enemy clans. And, after nursing her vital hero back to health, she will be caught up in a struggle between her modern marriage or her red-headed warrior.
Science fiction romance
- The book store is full of science fiction with a medical focus. There have been some first-class novels about the human response to contagion and mutation. In Blink Once by Cylin Busby, you get a paranormal page-turner. West is a high school boy totally paralyzed in a bicycle accident. Cared for intensively by his mother and Nurse Norris, he finds he can communicate with Olivia, the teenage patient in the next room. Olivia has the power to explain his wild dreams. The two teens form a paranormal bond that finds them trapped by fate and circumstance in their separate rooms. Their relationship is shaped and driven by the need for some companionship, understanding and, perhaps, love. The subject is love, and the plot plays with time, nightmares and isolation in a uniquely different romance.
- Dr. Bryony Asquith is the central figure of Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband. Bryony is a noblewoman and doctor in the 1800s. Unmarried in her late 20s, she becomes attracted to Leonidas Marsden, a younger man of wealth and genius, whom she has ignored since they were children. They marry but later become estranged. Leo, charming and easy to like, is also emotionally immature and unable to reach Bryony through her public barriers. They are brilliant and well-meaning characters who meet in the Indian subcontinent, travel and wrestle with the pulls back to England, back to their career strengths and back to their marriage. This short novel nevertheless develops Dr. Asquith’s passion for medicine and for the social costs that being a pioneer in her field invite. Her formal personality plays against Leo’s wit and sophistication—a mathematician, world traveler, and playwright. Each a strong character, each blunders in a big way. You can expect a love like this to end disastrously.
- Some of the greatest medical novels were filled with cheap scrub tops. Think about M*A*S*H and the diverse medical personnel who taunt each other with pranks to retreat psychologically from the Korean Conflict. There is also One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest about a sanitarium where the patients prove saner than the staff.
- Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper appears to be about leukemia. There is nothing physically wrong with Anna, but she suffers transfusions, surgeries and tests that help her older sister fight the cancer. Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for the purpose of helping Kate. But, at 13, Anna is struggling with her identity. If she decides to end her role, she risks Kate’s life and her family’s hatred. Picoult raises questions with uneasy answers.
These five medical dramas introduce characters who are handsome, beautiful, and strong.
Except for the occasional medical jargon, medical practice rarely gets in the way of their lives and loves.