Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ARC Review: Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt

From the blurb:

When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear. Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name. Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long. 

Heather's rating:

I went through a lot of different emotions with this book, but I think my final feeling is that it pushed me too far out of my comfort zone.

This book is being marketed as "Outlander-esk," which is a very tall order, in my book. Outlander is my favorite book of all time, and anything compared to it would have to be spectacular. This book simply isn't at that level, but I see why the comparison is being made. We get Dr. Catherine Bennett, an independent, outspoken female physician at a time where that was an extreme rarity, similar to in Outlander. However, I think that is where most of the similarities end.

I enjoyed the historical setting and historical details of the story, as I always do in any good historical romance. I adored the medical aspect, though I think Diana Gabaldon by far has the upper hand when it comes to the precise and absolutely correct details of medical procedures. The writing was also very polished with the skills of someone who is an experienced writer. But this book was lacking for me in a couple important ways.

The thing that I had the most issue with was the amount of graphic violence in the story. I'm not a reader of things that are painful or sad, and the level of violence in this story pushed my comfort level. I'm okay with a few traumatic things spread out over a number of books, but this story just crammed them in, one after another. The ending was just gruesome for me, and absolutely turned me off of ever reading book two.

I also thought that the romance was underdeveloped. The feelings seemed to come out of nowhere for me, and the level of emotional intimacy that I was expecting wasn't quite there. I wanted more, and it left me feeling a little cold.

The final straw for me was the over-the-top story line towards the end. It was way too much, too much of a caricature and not something that could or would actually happen.

While this book was enjoyable for me overall, I wouldn't ever want to revisit it. It wasn't an easy read for me, and I think I was sufficiently scared away from the second book in the story.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*


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