Wednesday 20 September 2017

Guest Review: Out of Practice by Penny Parkes

Out of Practice is based around a large country medical practice, which proves to be a hotbed of rivalry, resentment and romance - and that's just the doctors. Think James Herriot meets House.

Meet married mum of two and successful GP Holly Graham as she relocates her family to join the team at The Practice at Beckerford, hoping to find the peaceful life she craves, despite the chaos that comes with her two year old twins and the troublesome state of her marriage. It will certainly be a challenge to keep her private and professional lives separate in such a tight-knit community.

Her colleagues have their own issues to contend with. The gorgeous Dr Dan Carter is struggling with to focus on work and the last thing he needs is any more stress; having his ambitious ex-girlfriend Dr Julia Channing working alongside him isn't really helping. Thankfully, the rather delectable Dr Taffy Jones is on hand to distract Holly from the escalating situation at home.

Feisty octogenarian and resident celebrity, Elsie Townsend, is Holly's favourite patient and saving grace. Elsie's inspirational Life Lessons come at the perfect moment, as The Practice is suddenly under threat of imminent closure and Holly rediscovers her voice and her priorities just in time …

Review: This is the first book in the Larkford Series from Penny Parkes. As a romantic comedy award winner, it sounded right up my street. I haven't read anything by Penny Parkes before, but there are more parts of this series to look forward to for those enjoying this one. I was happy to find this book was available as an audio version which I could listen to while getting on with jobs around the house. It certainly held my attention from the word go. 

The story is based primarily on events taking place in a medical practice situated in the town of Larkford, and in the lives of the staff working there and also of the local residents. Central amongst those characters is Holly Graham, the newest GP on the staff. Previously employed in the A&E department of a Reading hospital, she has arrived in Larkford with her 2-year-old twin sons and husband Milo, who is on a 'sabbatical' from his lecturer post following an indiscretion with a student. Despite having moved closer to her best friend, Lizzie, Holly really wonders what she has got herself into, finding herself in an environment that is very different from what she has just left. However, she soon warms to her colleagues and the local residents and becomes involved in the community spirit evident in the town. Other staff at the medical practice include doctors Dan Carter (Lizzie's cousin), his ex Julia Channing and Taffy Jones (would you believe that he's Welsh!), all of whom have very different personalities and interesting back stories. 

I found a great deal of humour in this story. It deals with some serious aspects of course and there are quite a few dramatic events, but some of the interactions between medical staff and their patients are most entertaining. A great source of amusement is local elderly celebrity Elsie Townsend, who comes out with some utterly outrageous stories from her past and is a source of inspiration to Holly. She was certainly one of my favourite characters in the book. I found Holly surprisingly naive, considering her responsible role. I frequently wanted to tell her to pull herself together in the beginning, especially in her relations with Milo. However, as well as dealing with her patients, Holly does have a lot on her plate, trying to save her marriage, her friend, Lizzie, and, in the end, the whole practice. 

I have enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next one in the series. I'm sure it will appeal to anyone who enjoys a romantic comedy and a bit of medical drama. At almost 500 pages, it's not something to read at one sitting, but well worth curling up with for a few sessions. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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