The Dare and the Doctor Book Review *Kate Noble*
Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—strictly friends. But over the course of the year, as they exchange dozens of letters, they share personal details that put them on the path to something more. When Dr. Gray helps Margaret realize her dearest dream and she comes to his defense in the uproar that follows, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But will their relationship stand the scruples of society and jealous intendeds, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?
A Kate Noble romance is full of warmth and cheer, much like an older Julia Quinn historical romance. So is the case with The Dare and the Doctor (Winner Takes All #3). We have a very independent minded heroine who loves all things flowers and plants. She’s awkward and a bit socially inept, but she owns her eccentricity and makes no apologies for it. Her romance with the hero starts as a friendship that blooms into a major attraction that causes both to question everything about one another. But the big roadblock for their HEA is because the hero may have to marry a former enemy’s daughter to make amends for what his exiled father did to his almost fiancé’s father.
We first met Margaret in the second book in this series when she was a gangly, strange teenage obsessed with plants. But in The Dare and the Doctor, she is like a breath of fresh air. Her intelligence and insight is the draw here. She doesn’t care what other’s think. What she does care about, next to her plants, is her correspondence with Dr. Rhys Grey. He is her one true friend who understands her. But when he is offered a chance to impress the more respectable botany group in all of England, she will go to London with the hopes of impressing her fellow botanists (all men), and see her dear Dr. Grey.
Rhys is just as excited as Margaret for her visit to London. But then his rambunctious and annoying family descends on the city. His mother is forcing him to finally become engaged to Sylvia Morton, the daughter of very rich merchant, and neighbor his father hates. His father dueled Sylvia’s father and shot her father in a dastardly way, making him and Rhys’s older brother to run away to Italy and remain in exile there until Rhys marries Sylvia. Rhys doesn’t want to marry Sylvia. He especially doesn’t want to marry her, even though she is pleasant and pretty, mainly because when Margaret arrives, he can’t stop thinking about her. He wants to be in Margaret’s company constantly.
Margaret enjoys being with Rhys, but as they grow close, their attraction for one another blooms. They share kisses and some caresses, but don’t go much further. Sylvia has become a big part of their lives, befriending Margaret, and subtly pushing Rhys into asking for her hand in marriage. Poor Rhys is backed into a corner because the only woman he wants to now marry is Margaret.
The Dare and the Doctor is your typical Regency romance but with some twists. The twist is because of Sylvia and what she does toward the end to force Rhys’s hand. Margaret is extremely patient, analytical and innocent when it comes to love and passion. The Dare and the Doctor works well with the undercurrent of sensuality, which is tossed for one love scene at the end, which threw me out of the story. It felt tacked on, as if Kate needed to add a sex scene because readers might be upset that Rhys and Margaret didn’t consummate their relationship at one point in the story. It would have worked better without these two making love because the overall tone of the story was more PG or PG-13. I was actually disappointed that a full blown love scene was written with less than 50 pages to go.
Overall The Dare and the Doctor was enjoyable because the HEA is a certainty with a main couple you root for until the very end. (Pocket Books)
Final Grade: B