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The Doctor's Discretion by EE Ottoman
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it was ok
bookshelves: historical-romance, lgbt-romance

The blurb sounded so interesting: an interracial romance between a black man and a transman set in 1830s New York? Sign me up! Tack on a race against time to save a man unjustly confined to an asylum and I was so ready to love this.

The story starts off well enough: Blackwood and Hill are brought together to catalog a Doctor Russell's collection of specimens and notes after the man's death. Neither have met him and yet here they are, working together in close quarters in his big, drafty house filled with eyeballs floating in jars. Naturally the two end up spending time together and sparks fly.(view spoiler)

And then Henri Moss is introduced. Upon hearing that Moss is about to be treated as a research subject in the hospital where he works, Doctor Hill, who is trans himself, obviously feels compelled to come to his aid. (view spoiler)

What follows is Blackwood and Hill having to hide Moss until they figure out a way to get him out of New York and away from the doctors who are now looking for him and the lawmen who aim to imprison him. Why haven't they thought of this before? Not sure. Once Moss is out of the hospital, the narrative just stalls while the characters sit around and occasionally grapple with what it means to be black, or trans, in 19th century America. Then for some reason they decide that taking Moss to Doctor Russell's home is a wise move... for some reason. Presumably so the dreaded Thornton can show up and be menacing?

Goodness, it's taken a while, I think to myself at this point, but I'm glad this book finally has a villain.

Ha. No. (view spoiler)

This book doesn't just lack a villain (even saying ~society is the villain doesn't hold, because society doesn't do anything villainous short of Moss's arrest and that happens off the page) it sadly also lacks a plot. Characters sit and talk, travel by carriage, eat in various eateries, and have sex. They briefly engage in some Oppression Olympics, followed by an apology and forgiveness. There is no climax, no conflict, plot threads are introduced and discarded or otherwise tied up in wholly unsatisfying ways. The editing also leaves a lot to be desired and there were more than a few instances where the typos were quite jarring. I am disappoint.
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Reading Progress

August 28, 2018 – Started Reading
August 28, 2018 – Shelved
September 1, 2018 – Finished Reading

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