The Doctor Wore Spurs

Expecting His Child

The Secretary &
the Millionaire

Bride of Fortune

His Majesty, M.D. by Leanne Banks
(Silh. Desire # 1435, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-76435-9
Cute title. Okay, this series is The Royal Dumonts, and here we have the story of a prince who wants to dodge marriage and focus on his medical career, and an heiress who is tired of men pursuing her for her fatherís money. Oh, and thereís a lost older brother prince out there somewhere, presumably to be cleared up in future books. Silhouette sticks close to the Lost Royal formula on this one.

Prince Nicholas Dumont had to fight his parents in order to make it through medical school, and now his focus is on setting up medical clinics in the rural areas of his country, Marceau. The last thing he needs is yet another unwanted marriage prospect to squire around. And this one has economic implications for his country: sheís Tara York, daughter of a billionaire resort magnate who may be interested in investing in Marceauís tourism industry with a new resort. Nicholas decides heíll be polite, but distant, and Miss York will soon tire of him.

Tara York is no more interested in a royal match than Nicholas. Sheís struggled to complete two bachelorís degrees, while keeping it a secret from her over-protective father, and is working on her masterís thesis in psychology. Since sheís doing this via the Internet, her plan is to show up in Marceau as her fatherís emissary, disguise herself in ugly-duckling clothes guaranteed to turn off any man, and keep to her room with her laptop computer. Thick glasses and shapeless dresses do the trick, until Nicholas spies a light under her door at three in the morning and catches her in her normal state.

Nicholas comes up with a plan. How about a sham engagement to get everyone off their backs? Tara refuses. Then a former suitor shows up at the palace, and rather than telling him to just go away, Tara allows herself to be rescued to Nicholas as he informs the man that they are, in fact, engaged. Soon the sham engagement threatens to become a real love match.

Nicholas is a decent guy and his devotion to medicine is laudable. Heís also sensible, smart, and genuinely nice. He does seem to have an entire horde of brothers, most of who are only mentioned once in this story, just to remind the reader that their books are coming.

Tara was the difficult character in this book. For starters, how likely would it be that the daughter of a billionaire would suffer from vertigo all her life and never once be checked by a doctor? And how likely would it be that a lifelong problem would be cured with one doctor appointment? The explanations given just didnít wash.

But even more than that, Tara is one of those heroines who allows herself to be rescued rather than standing on her own two feet. The ex-suitor thing, for example. Surely there must be other ways to get Nicholas and Tara into close proximity than her inability to tell the guy to go away? And why doesnít she go see a doctor on her own for the vertigo problem? Why does Nicholas have to save the day and decide to whisk her off in the royal jet to Paris for an examination? ďWell, Iíve always been clumsyĒ doesnít work - it just makes her look stupid for not pursuing it earlier. And why would her father possibly object to her getting a college degree? Everything is so tidily - and quickly - resolved in the end that it looks like the conflict never existed. This girl needed two doses of spine and a shot of sass. Instead, she came across as a wimp.

His Majesty, M.D. is disappointing because Leanne Banks is a strong and creative writer. Iíve read any number of her other works, and Wimpy Heroine is not her style. If youíre into The Royal Dumonts, youíll probably pick this book up anyway (after all, isnít that the whole idea of a connected series?) but if not, I really canít recommend it.

--Cathy Sova

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