A Medical Affair by Anne McCarthy Strauss

 A Medical Affair by Anne McCarthy Strauss
Self-published September 2014 through Booktrope

I want to thank you Anne McCarthy Strauss for sending Grab the Lapels this reviewer’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

*Read by guest reviewer Caitlyn Faust

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a preconceived notion about what romance novels are and aren’t, regardless of whether it’s actually right or not.  When I started reading A Medical Affair by Anne McCarthy Strauss, I was somewhat convinced it might be a sappy girl-gets-the-guy story with lots of fluff and drama.  For the first chapter or so, I seemed to be right; the character of Heather was seemingly perfect physically and was instantly attracted to our other main love interest, Jeff.  They met when she had an asthma attack that landed her in the hospital, into his care, and couldn’t keep each other off of their minds.  I was very happy to be wrong, as both Heather and Jeff were well fleshed out as real people, both of whom, at a certain point, I was rooting for.

At a certain point in the story, the narrative turns and makes it obvious that this isn’t about love; this is a story about what is ethical and right in regards to doctors and patients, something I had never put much thought to before.  The point that hits home is that it’s unethical to have a romantic relationship with your doctor while they are still your doctor.  Strauss, the author, had done painstaking research in creating a fictional story that mirrors what can (and has) occurred in real life, involving lawsuits and the legal aspects that can go into people being violated by doctors.A Medical Affair Strauss

The narrative style of the story is mostly well composed; the perspective is third person semi-omnipotent, switching focus mostly between Heather and Jeff, with another character as needed for the plot.  Precisely why the author chose third person semi-omnipotent is unclear to me; while it works well enough for the book, it could have just as easily been switched for first person with little lost.  While the perspective focuses mainly on Heather, I thought it was clever that the author used other points of view to better see the situation in a larger sense.

There were a few points in the story during which I questioned the relevance; Heather occasionally brought up her Christian religion, the fact she wore prayer beads, and that Heather and Miguel (her best friend) stopped at Mass before going elsewhere.  In the spirit of Chekhov’s gun, I was pleased to see this was later relevant in the plot development between Heather and Jeff, although I won’t give away why here.

The author of the novel is a victim’s advocate, and according to her website, has spent the last decade educating people about the hazards of these types of relationships.  With this book as a tool to get the story of the potential consequences out in the public, I’m sure she’s informed many more people of the problems that can occur when you’re not careful.

*Caitlyn Faust graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a BFA in Studio Arts. By day, she works at the University of Notre Dame as an IT Help Desk Consultant. By night, she has many interests, including knitting a pair of socks originating from yarn dyers from each state (that’s 50 pairs of socks, folks).


  1. Ohh, great! I love that as you kept reading it managed to change your mind. The ethical aspect seems particularly interesting, I had never thought about it either!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was going to write a comment about the book, saying that the whole ethics around doctor/patient relationships is indeed a minefield. But frankly I’m so stunned by the whole socks thing that it’s taken over my whole mind… 50 pairs!! That’s enough for an entire centipede!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can totally see this type of storyline being all fluffy and romantic without touching on the ethical issues that arise. I’m glad to see that this one surprised you, I myself am always a little skeptical of novels labeled romance, but I’ve tried to broaden my horizons a bit this summer. Not sure I’ll ever wander into the romance section at bookstore, but I can understand its appeal. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never really thought about the ethical aspect of this kind of relationship. The teacher-student one is obvious but this one has never really crossed my mind. I like how the author tackled it and from your review, it doesn’t sound like she took the preachy approach. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you heard of the book Tampa by Alyssa Nutting? It’s a complex student-teacher relationship, and the book got a lot of attention because the teacher is female, so characters see it more that the boy “scored” instead of seeing the situation as abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I have never read that but I am definitely interested in that because I haven’t read any books with the teacher being female. I read This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done but its male teacher-female student. It was a tough read.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The books with female are always tough and feel icky, which is why, according to Nutting, she wrote Tampa like she did. Everyone is excited for the 14-year-old make student instead of having icky feelings.


  5. I love that the author totally flips the reader’s expectations. I have to admit, from looking at the cover I probably would have written it off as a medical romance, which isn’t really my thing (because of all the issues this story seems to address).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooh, this sounds really interesting. When I worked as a nurse, I was in paediatrics so it was always very clear-cut!–however, ethical issues still cropped up regarding how nurses and parents relate. In paeds, especially medical paeds, you have a *lot* of long-term patients, and parents often come to treat the nurses almost like friends. That is so kind of them, but it’s unethical for a nurse to return that friendship-makes it incredibly complicated if, for example, the hospital and the parents end up going to court over how to treat a child. That’s obviously a worst-case scenario, but it shows up all the time in little things, and it’s sometimes harder to navigate the little things. I think I’ll be checking this out of the library 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey!! I haven’t heard from you in a long time! I believe it’s a self-published book, so likely it won’t be at the library. You bring up some interesting issues I hadn’t thought of because babies seem like very simple patients.


Insert 2 Cents Here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s