Both Frazer and Cora are heads of department at a hospital in Perth, Australia. Frazer heads up the midwifery department and has been fighting to introduce a new programme for high-risk patients, to improve their lives in the lead up to the birth of their babies and put them in good stead afterwards as people. As you’d expect that comes with budgetary fights and it’s suggested that she gets Cora’s support for the project as she’s head of the social work department.
Frazer buries herself in her work. She’s had a bad break-up and isn’t looking for anything serious despite her friend’s attempts at convincing her otherwise. Cora is married and is in the process of discovering she’s in an emotionally abusive marriage. As they begin to work together they discover they have an attraction to each other that neither was expecting, especially Cora who has never been attracted to a woman before. The affair is complicated by the fact that Cora is married to Frazer’s boss.
Neither are proud of their relationship, but recognise the power it has over them. Whilst I didn’t always agree with how they went about things, I was so absorbed in the writing and pacing of the book I was drawn to keep turning the page to find out what happened next.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I really appreciated how once they are found out their affair changed and forced both of them to look at life differently. I also appreciated that those that found out didn’t only provide judgement, they provided support and friendship too.
I liked the ending for the two of them. It felt authentic and focussed on themselves first, which I think must be harder to express and write successfully.
I love how Benson always includes a veritable array of characters who identify as LGBTQ+ as side characters in the narrative and this book is no different in that regard. Frazer’s friendship group and their insistence on setting her up provided some much-needed light-heartedness at times. I also really enjoyed the scenes with Frazer’s sister, especially when she has her own big reveal.
I felt that Benson’s depiction of one of the high-risk patients, Jack, a pregnant trans man, was done in a sensitive, engaging way that would encourage lots of people to think differently about someone facing this situation (or to think about it for the first time perhaps).
I’d definitely encourage romance fans and fans of character-driven books to give this a try.
I received an e-ARC directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.