In the high-intensity world of hospital residency programs, there’s no room for romance. So it’s a good thing for first-year surgical resident Neil Carmona that his crush on the gorgeous cardiologist Eli Newcombe is sheer fantasy. Not only is the sexy doctor Neil’s superior, he’s also recently divorced.
As Neil’s skill as a surgeon grows, so does his friendship with Eli, and his silent, hopeless longing for more. It isn’t until Neil’s final year that Eli at last admits his own deepest desires. But Neil’s joy is short-lived: Eli has no intention of pursuing a relationship. Their positions in the hospital would make it unethical, even if he was emotionally ready for someone new.
Wounded and furious, Neil is determined to forget about Eli once and for all. But when a near-tragedy strikes, a new question arises: Is a life without love—without Neil—a greater risk than laying his heart on the line?
The synopsis for Necessary Medicine offered a whole host of promise that the book itself simply didn’t deliver on. Here’s the list . . . . .
Neil: To a great extent, Necessary Medicine is Neil’s story, his journey from his first days in medical school through the end of his residency. To become a doctor is a selfless act and Neil’s journey is full of hardship, ups, downs, no sleep, and the lapsing of nearly relationship he had prior to med school. The days and nights are long and often bleed into one another and if it weren’t for his staff mentor, Dr. Wending, Neil likely wouldn’t survive.
Neil’s relationship with Dr. Wending is the highlight of this very long and slowly paced read. Dr. Wending is far older than Neil and has been down the path Neil is travelling. Dr. Wending keeps Neil grounded, helps him stay focused, and provides some much-needed levity when it’s required. Dr. Wending is also instrumental in helping Neil navigate the personal side of his life, a thing that can be phenomenally tricky given Neil’s career path.
Throughout the read, Neil shows the most growth both intellectually and emotionally. Neil is good at his job and he soaks up every lesson he’s taught during his training. Emotionally, he is a bit of train wreck at times, but overall, Neil is the mature man in the group. In fact, when Neil meets The One, he is emotionally prepared for the relationship and though he is the younger of the two, he is the most emotionally stable.
Eli: For there to be a romance, there must be two people and Eli would be the second half of the equation. Eli is a respected cardiologist who is known for both his skill and his reserve. While most assume he is simply shy or a typical doctor with no bedside manner, Eli has intentionally kept his circle of friends incredibly small. Eli’s sense of propriety and perception is so strong, he has intentionally separated himself from most people so as not to cause or be the topic of gossip. While this has “worked” for many years for Eli, it has also caused him a great deal of unhappiness. The unhappiness becomes glaringly obvious when Eli meets Neil and develops feelings for him. Eli is terrified of crossing any professional lines and compromising he and/or Neil’s reputation so he keeps all interactions with Neil purely clinical.
Until the moment he is “caught” by Neil and his feelings are revealed . . . . .
Once Eli allows himself to become romantically entangled with Neil, he is so much happier and a far more interesting character. It takes time and a great deal of trial and error for Eli to recognize he can have his career and reputation as well as love without suffering negative consequences. Eli blossoms under Neil’s love and though he is the older of the two, Eli is new to M/M relationships and often takes his cues from the younger, more experienced Neil. This sort of role reversal is quite refreshing, but just not enough to save the overall read.
The Bottom Line: I stuck it out with this read, in large part, because I don’t like DNFing books if I don’t absolutely have to. Neil and Eli are mildly interesting characters (with so much wasted potential to be amazing!) and I wanted to know the end of their story. To get to the end I had to wade through a lot of things I sincerely think will turn away many, many readers. Honestly, if I weren’t so stubborn, I likely would have given up as well. First, there is the medical terminology. I’m a smart girl and there is a great deal of terminology in this read that I had no understanding of. I appreciate this is a book about doctors interacting with other doctors and they would totally understand each other, but this is playing out in a novel for readers, not other doctors! Next, there is the problem of how Eli and Neil are brought together. The whole equal opportunity/safe work place may be a timely issue, but it is forced in this read and there are so many other ways, especially in a busy hospital, that Neil and Eli could have interacted. Finally, there aren’t many happy moments and/or romantic moments in this read until the very end, and I do mean, the very end. While I was able to stick it out to the bitter end on this one, I don’t think this is a book that will appeal to many readers despite what the synopsis promises.