A good story, intelligent banter that had me giggling, a touch of suspense, and a woman determined to use the talent God gave her in spite of other’s opinions. That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake has quite a lot to offer for readers who love historical fiction or romantic comedies.
“Heard a bunch of knotheads traded lead at the Nugget,” Velma said as she entered the house. “Reckon we’re gonna have to patch you boys up outta the goodness of our hearts because you’re just too plain stupid to stay out of trouble.” (page 196)
Gooding, Texas, is looking to hire both a doctor and a veterinarian, and they find both in twins Enoch and Taylor Bestman. The problem: they failed to read the part that clearly states Taylor is a woman, and in 1892, that is still largely unacceptable.
What I Liked
The banter between Taylor and Karl, one of the town’s smithies, is often laugh-out-loud funny. Each make good points against the other, but the debates carry on, usually with each giving in to the other just slightly.
The pace was good, as was the timing. A couple of the transformations seemed a little rushed near the end, but overall things seemed to happen as they naturally would. Some people conceded to the new doctor easily enough, others struggled a bit, and still others struggled tremendously. But things came to a good resolution within three months, the length of the books. Not everyone came to the good doctor’s side, which is appropriate given human nature.
The scenes seemed realistic for the time period and location, and she did a good job of aiding in enough medical details to make the story realistic without overwhelming the reader with too much gore.
What I Didn’t Like – SPOILER ALERT
The main bad guy didn’t sit well with me. He never showed himself within the story, and even though he’d previously been run out of town, I found it difficult to believe that he apparently came to town more than once during the story.
A couple of times, I got lost in who people were. I couldn’t remember if they’d been introduced before or who they were in relation to the town. Once or twice I also got lost in who was speaking. This surprised me as I don’t remember having this problem in others books of Ms. Hake’s that I’ve read.
The Bottom Line – 4 stars
This book was an enjoyable read, and even with my minor issue with the bad guy, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. If you enjoy historical romances with some great laughter moments, then I recommend giving this book a try.
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DISCLOSURE: I purchased this book at a bookstore and was not asked by either the author or publisher for a review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”