Out Of Practice by Penny Parkes


Out of Practice is based around a large country medical practice, which proves to be a hotbed of rivalry, resentment and romance – and that’s just the doctors. Think James Herriot meets House.
Meet married mum of two and successful GP Holly Graham as she relocates her family to join the team at The Practice at Beckerford, hoping to find the peaceful life she craves, despite the chaos that comes with her two year old twins and the troublesome state of her marriage. It will certainly be a challenge to keep her private and professional lives separate in such a tight-knit community.
Her colleagues have their own issues to contend with. The gorgeous Dr Dan Carter is struggling with to focus on work and the last thing he needs is any more stress; having his ambitious ex-girlfriend Dr Julia Channing working alongside him isn’t really helping. Thankfully, the rather delectable Dr Taffy Jones is on hand to distract Holly from the escalating situation at home.
Feisty octogenarian and resident celebrity, Elsie Townsend, is Holly’s favourite patient and saving grace. Elsie’s inspirational Life Lessons come at the perfect moment, as The Practice is suddenly under threat of imminent closure and Holly rediscovers her voice and her priorities just in time …


Other than seeing the cover on twitter, I hadn’t heard anything about this book before the Books and The City Spring Blogger Event. However once learning more, this book quickly rose to be one of my most anticipated releases this year. It sounded just my type of book, and I love discovering new authors.
Larkford was a wonderful setting with tones of familiarity (especially as the area it’s described as being in is just down the road from me) with regards to the community and general setting. However my imagination sets a certain gloss over Lankford than it does my own town.
The writing really makes you connect with both Larkford as the beautiful idillic setting and the people that reside there. Each character is unique, but they all have qualities and habits in people we all come across and know. We all know someone who reminds them of Dan, Lizzie, Elsie or god forbid, Milo.
While Holly is the main character, we are treated to the odd chapter from other people’s perspectives, such as Dan, Taffy and Julia. It helps you understand them better, had they been omitted from the book it would have been far too easy to judge some of the characters, but it goes to show that you never really know what’s going on in a persons life to make them behave that way.
Holly has left her job in a hospital for Larkford’s doctors surgery as a GP, and it is clear she is well suited for the job, as she is friendly and warm, and able to put you at ease. While she is the picture of calm and collected at work, her personal life is in a bit of trouble, hence the move to Lankford in hope of a fresh start for her family, spending more time with the twins, and also working on her marriage to Milo.
I could write a whole essay on precisely how detestable Milo is. From the moment he is introduced and steals Holly’s toast (though that particular incident is the smallest of all the issues I have with him we see him commit), he becomes a character that is simply unlikeable.
He is unbearably selfish with the biggest superiority complex humanly possible, especially when he’s writing his damn precious book that he clearly thinks is going to be the most important book to grace this earth since Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’. Always bossy, and uninterested in anyone but himself, unless he see’s something he dislikes and feels the need to make spiteful comments, or the whim takes him to make sure everyone understands how hard done by he is. I don’t think I’ve hated a fictional character more, and I’ve read some wonderfully villainous behaviour before.
It’s really hard to see why Holly is with him. I realise she wants to try because of the twins, but she must have the patience of a saint because within about 2 pages of meeting him I felt the need to punch him in the face. I think Holly’s journey to become the ‘old’ Holly from pre-Milo days was great. This was obviously helped a lot by Elsie. I think you can learn a lot from this character, like ignoring the word ‘should’ and striving for what you want rather than ‘making do’ just to please other people. Despite her eccentricity, Elsie is very wise indeed.
Elsie is without a doubt the funnest character in the book, if there’s a scene that makes you smile, Elsie will be there for minimum 98% of them. While her age may not be my typical friend age, she has such the character that you will want to know her in real life.
Now onto the men I don’t have any violent feelings towards, Dan and Taffy. From initial expectations, I was thinking that I would be championing Dan as my favourite doctor, but it was Taffy that won my heart. Not that Dan was average, far from it, a great friend, funny and caring, but it was the lovable cheekiness of Taffy that won me round.
This book was an absolute joy to read from beginning to end. It was so easy to start reading and lose complete track of time. A fantastic debut novel that leaves you wanting more from the Lankford bunch.
Ebook available now
Paperback released 28th July
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review
View Book on Goodreads
Order on: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository

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