Kate Crosby is working for one of the most disagreeable women in the UK, it seems; she’s an underpaid housekeeper and cook for a cranky, self-absorbed old woman. But the Lady Cowder has the most interesting nephew! Dr. James Tait-Bouverie comes to visit from time to time, and seems very nice. But surely he wouldn’t want anything to do with the likes of her…
This story bears more than a passing resemblance to Always and Forever, by the same author: our hero is a doctor, and our heroine is in somewhat difficult straits from the get-go. Dr. Tait-Bouverie is quite good at arranging things to see that Kate (and her mother) are taken care of throughout the book.
It’s a good enough story, as a story, I guess, and I probably shouldn’t engage in invidious comparisons between these two stories. I can identify with Kate somewhat, who is described variously as “strapping”, a “big girl” having “generous curves.” Being writ large myself, the notion of the 6-foot-5 doctor showing up on the scene and being attracted to such a woman sounds quite nice, to me.
Kate’s frustration with her employer is amplified when the lady askes–nay, insists–that Kate accompany her on a trip to Norway for holiday. Kate really doesn’t get to see too many interesting things, until James shows up (he’s in-country for a conference, you see. How conveeeenient, she mutters to herself.). He takes her on drives and shows her a good time in the limited time she has free. He’s much-impressed with her quiet competence, especially when they happen upon the scene of an accident. He, as a doctor, is an obvious one to pitch in and help with the injured, and he just assumes Kate will, too…which, of course, she does.
Later on, after their return to England, Kate is at wits’ end with her employer, when James finds her another position, with another of his aunts–one more easy to get along with, natch. It’s a temporary position, but her mother can come with her, and the cats, and live on-property, so they can save up the money Kate needs to start her catering business, which has been her goal all along.
The good doctor even notices when Kate’s mother starts to look a little ill, and refers her to a colleague, and arranges for a hospital stay when it’s discovered that her appendix must be removed. This annoys Kate greatly, independent woman that she is, and she can’t see why on earth he should care anyway, since he’s marrying the god-daughter of her first employer, the cranky Lady Cowder. Or so she thinks. He’s been in love with her for some time, “hoity-toity miss, hiding behind her cook’s apron,” and afraid to admit even to herself that she was in love with him. They come clean to each other in the final pages. Fin.
As with Neels’ other book that I’ve seen, there’s nothing “steamy” about this one, in the conventional sense, at all. James and Kate don’t even kiss until less than a page from the end! There’s a certain bit of tension, watching them back-and-forth with each other, as they each sort out their feelings for the other, but this one just doesn’t rate as hot as it could in this department.
As I finished this, I couldn’t help thinking–and must ask Anne–if there’s such a thing as a Regency-styled contemporary romance. Because that’s what this work, and Neels’ other works that I’ve read, feel like to me. New setting, modern cast, but still a no-touchy love-story.
This is not to say that I won’t read another of Betty Neels’ stories; she is an engaging author, who writes good descriptions of people and places that are fun to visualize and imagine. All in all, Love Can Wait is a good, solid read. If you like a good romantic love story that’s not too steamy, then this one is for you.