The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: November 22, 2016
The Dare and the Doctor is the third book in Kate Noble’s “Winner Takes All” series. It’s a regency romance about an amateur botanist, Margaret Babcock, and her friend and frequent correspondent Dr. Rhys Gray. Nobody wants to believe they’re just friends, and when they’re both together in London (at Rhys’s invitation so that Margaret can show her new hybrid roses to the horticultural society), their family and friends keep trying to push them toward romance.
For me, this story really worked for several reasons. First, I really believed that Margaret and Rhys were actually friends, which is so important for a friends-turned-lovers plot and which is so often missing. We can see some of their correspondence at the beginning, but even their behavior when they’re together makes it clear that these two share a genuine, platonic affection for each other.
Second, when things did turn romantic, I could believe it would happen. They’re particularly well-suited and they do seem to have physical chemistry, even if they don’t always act on it, something that I was pleased to see. There are so many regency romances where the characters are unexpectedly promiscuous, and while I have no problem reading steamy romances, in a historical context they aren’t always believable.
Finally, I really enjoyed the wrench thrown into their budding relationship. Having an obstacle besides their own arrogance or reluctance was nice and made for an interesting read.
The characters were interesting and I liked that even though they aren’t exactly “ordinary” people, their lives were full of something besides parties and balls and calling cards. I like that they met outside of that world and that their romance thrives in quieter locations.
I’ve been in a terrible reading slump, and this is the first book I was really able to power through in a while, which is definitely saying something. It’s light, it’s quick, and it’s done well, and I recommend it to fans of historical romance.
*ARC from Pocket Books via Netgalley