cover image The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Secret

Heidi Cullinan. Dreamspinner, $7.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-1-64108-100-9

Cullinan’s auspicious first in a planned trilogy of hospital-set contemporary romances is filled with delightful characters. Taiwanese-American surgeon Hong-Wei Wu has left his family in Texas to practice at the small St. Ann’s Medical Center in remote Copper Point, Wisc. While en route, he worries that Copper Point will be “bad in a sitcom kind of way,” but when he arrives and is greeted by his handsome surgical nurse, Simon Lane, Hong-Wei is smitten. Simon falls hard for Hong-Wei, too. However, St. Ann’s prohibits staff members from dating each other. Their creative ways of navigating this policy and keeping their relationship (hopefully) secret—from limiting themselves to friendly elbow touches to starting red herring rumors—build their romance and make their love grow stronger. But Hong-Wei fears that if stealth isn’t enough, he’ll have to leave Copper Point, which he’s coming to love. A constant stream of well-meaning racial microaggressions from white locals is offset by his new friendships with people of color, including a Latina lawyer, an Indian music professor, and a Chinese restaurant owner, as well as with a handful of relatively clueful white people. Cullinan weaves themes of racism and Asian culture, family pressures, and the value of friends, home, and love into a deeply satisfying romance. (Apr.)