|Marie Ferrarella returns with another in her series featuring the Pulaski family. The five
daughters of the Polish émigrés are all in some stage of practicing medicine. Tania, featured in this story, is a fourth year resident in the emergency room in a Manhattan Hospital.
If you are new to this series, A Doctor’s Secret is probably not where you want to start, as the two principle characters Tania and Jesse Steele are developed with less than Ferrarella’s usual style and depth. Instead they are single layered and expanded only so much as is necessary to further the plot.
It starts as Jesse is crossing the Manhattan Diamond District on foot and responds to a “stop thief” call. He chases and tackles the fleeing thief and is able to restore a small bag of diamonds to the rightful owner, a diamond merchant, who is appropriately grateful. Jesse sustains some very minor injuries while apprehending the thief and the merchant insists that he be treated at the nearest emergency room.
It is of course Tania Pulaski who treats him. Making the small talk often used to put patients at ease, she finds the reason Jesse responded so quickly is that his parents were robbed and his father killed during the robbery.
Tania is perhaps the loveliest of the sisters but also the one who, although dating, has absolutely no intention of ever entering into a relationship. It is not her commitment to her career but rather the ugly and lasting effects of a date rape years ago.
However, Jesse is perhaps the best looking man Tania has ever met, and the intrigue begins to turn into something she has truly never experienced since the rape, an attraction.
A Doctor’s Secret is peppered with family incidents and chit chat that would be more entertaining if it were not so similar to the other books in this series. Jesse and Tania start through the getting to know you phase and while out one night return to find her apartment door unlocked. Who? Why? The novel is heavily laden with clues which are limited to only two possibilities, one from each of their pasts.
There is very little tension in this story, either on the suspense or romantic side as the
book unfolds in a very predictable way with slow pacing. With shallow characters engaging in trite dialogue, this story does not meet writer Ferrarella’s usual very high standards.