The Doctor’s Sleigh Bell Proposal by Susan Carlisle

The Doctor’s Sleigh Bell Proposal by Susan Carlisle
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (185 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

His surprise Christmas promise

Dr. Ellen Cox goes to South America to break the shackles of her confined life. But she never imagined replacing them with bonds of desire for her new hotshot boss—Chance Freeman!

Guarded Chance, although sorely tempted, tries to keep Ellen at a distance—and when the dangers of their jobs are ramped up, he sends her home to safety. Then he realizes his mistake and heads for snowy New York, determined to win Ellen with a very special Christmas proposal!

The premise of a doctor practicing medicine in the wilds of Honduras is compelling. The men and women who volunteer their time and skills to try to make a difference are truly heroes, so it made perfect sense to write a romance about two such amazing people.

I liked getting inside the tent, so-to-speak, in order to get a sense of the quiet drama and emotional fortitude the doctors and nurses experience hour to hour, day to day. It’s rather daunting from a layperson’s point of view but the author did a wonderful job of depicting the courage, conviction and dedication that imbued her characters from the outset.

A reader meets Chance, the hero and doctor in charge of the Traveling Clinic, early on and it’s made clear that he has some personal issues that will stymy any attempt at love. Then comes Ellen, a/k/a Dr. Cox, and she’s running from a few issues of her own. Both Chance and Ellen are professionals at what they do and the author makes that crystal clear by sharing with readers some tense, medical dramas that show the strengths of both the hero and heroine in their field. Then Ms. Carlisle teases out from her characters what makes them tick, what personality weaknesses they are hampered with and what strengths come to the fore when they are together. The ultimate revelation occurs in the waterfall scene. That was actually romantic, if a bit unusual because of their circumstances.

The part that confused me in the story was the conflict precipitated by a bite. If I’m not mistaken, the heroine wasn’t lax in making sure nothing could access inside her clothes – yet it happened. Was that through the fabric? Or was it on her skin? What exactly did she shake when all they took off were their packs? I even Googled those bugs from Honduras and although there were some really creepy but amazing species over there, I could not find proof that they could go through clothing. Or, did I miss something in the story? Then there was the dialogue between Ellen and her dad; some if it felt flat to me. Then a part that jarred me was Ellen thinking mushy thoughts in her head but vocally hissing and acting a bit vicious. I didn’t like the dichotomy.

All that being said, those drawbacks didn’t color the whole book. The entire romance amid the backdrop of practicing medicine in the wilds worked and did engage me. I did enjoy the slow, seductive way they courted each other even while refusing to admit that that is what they were doing. I liked how Ellen and Chance challenged each other to face their fears and in doing so, found the strength to embrace a future they thought out of reach. There are so many positives about The Doctor’s Sleigh Bell Proposal that I can easily recommend romance readers to give this novel a whirl.

The final moment that brings about the happily ever after is life affirming and romantic. All the emotional loose ends are tied up and Chance and Ellen’s future looks bright – busy, but bright. The Doctor’s Sleigh Bell Proposal is an ideal afternoon read to relax with. It’s an easy book to devour and I enjoyed it.

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