The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.
Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?
Penny’s debut novel ‘Out of Practice’ was one of my favourite books of last year, and one of my favourite debut’s of all time, so the sequel was highly anticipated, as I was dying to return to Larkford as everything about the first book was fantastic.
This outing to Larkford is just as charming and as full of character as the first book. About a year may have passed, but we are thrown right into the heart of the village, it’s the summer market which automatically put me in a good mood, despite Cassie’s best efforts.
Holly has a much calmer home life that in the first book, in most part because of the lack of Milo in her life, but she still has worries in that area, after all Milo is the twin’s father, which annoys Taffy a bit, because Milo is his normal useless self. I can see both viewpoints. Holly wants to be perfect and please everyone, while she is much more herself in this book than the first, there’s that little part of her that wants to do what she perceives as right, even if the other person isn’t acting correctly themselves. Seeing her overall more relaxed though was wonderful to see, and I think her relationship with Taffy had a lot to do with that, seeing how much Taffy adored Holly melted my heart.
Holly has seemingly never ending patience, and I can imagine that’s an incredibly important skill when being both a GP and a good friend. Julia isn’t always the easiest to get on with, but Holly’s good nature makes sure every effort is made and shows Julia support, who is prickly on the outside, despite clearly suffering inside.
It was great to see a new face or two in this book as well as catching up with familiar faces. Julia was once again the character I had conflicted feelings for. If we hadn’t had her viewpoint, she could easily have become a character you would dislike but when you hear from her, you begin to understand that all is not as it seems. Elsie was once again the charmer you’d expect, and it’s a testament to Penny’s writing that I was worrying about her health as much as Holly and all of Elsie’s other friends.
Once again I have absolutely adored the world that Penny has created. It is a read that is full of smiles with real heart at the centre of this book. It is a complete comfort read that I don’t want to put down, I need to make each page last as long as possible as I never want these books to end.
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Gratefully received from the Publisher for review