What they say:
‘If you keep looking back, you might miss what’s standing right in front of you…
Six months after a painful break-up from Gordon, Beth’s finally getting her life back on track. She has faith in her own scientific theories and is willing to work hard to prove them. She’s even beginning to see Hibs, her dedicated lab partner, as more than just a lousy lothario in a lab-coat and goggles.
So when Gordon arrives back from America without warning and expects to be welcomed back into Beth’s arms, she’s totally thrown. She also quickly begins to see that Gordon isn’t the man she thought he was – Hibs has always held a candle for Beth, but he can only wait so long for her to realise there’s more to life than being patronised and bullied by the one who’s meant to love and protect her.
Will Beth forsee the explosive nature beneath Gordon’s placid surface before he destroys everything she’s worked for, both inside and outside the lab?’
What we say – review by Nikki Mason:
Beth has always struggled with self-esteem after her father’s bulling, and now she finds it difficult to stand up to her boss at the lab in the university where she works, even though he picks on her unfairly. Add to that, the love of her life, her ex, Gordon, has forgotten her birthday and Beth is feeling a bit forlorn.
But she’s decided to pick her photography back up, which Gordon didn’t let her do, and she’s suddenly starting to see how handsome her best friend Hibs is. Maybe things aren’t all bad. She agrees to photograph twelve handsome men for a science department calendar and she’s starting to let her hair down and have fun.
But then, Gordon comes back and Beth falls willingly back into his arms. But she can’t help but compare Gordon to the loving and respectful Hibs and is beginning to wonder if maybe things in her relationship with Gordon aren’t quite all that.
I loved this book. Having been in a dangerous relationship myself, I was so pleased to read a story about a strong heroine battling a controlling and emotional abusive relationship. More women need to be aware of what isn’t acceptable behaviour from a partner and with Doctor January, Rhoda Baxter discusses this expertly.
Aside from this serious side to the book, the story is also sweet and fresh. It feels young, vibrant and full of love. And it makes science cool. What a feat!
INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RHODA BAXTER
What inspired you to write Doctor January?
I was having a discussion with friends about abusive relationships and how difficult it is for the person being bullied/abused to see that what is happening is wrong. Unfortunately, some books (like Twilight) unwittingly reinforced the idea that this sort of controlling behaviour was acceptable. By the time I’d finished, I realised that my two male characters effective represented the two sides of Edward Cullen – the kind, loving side and the slightly creepy, controlling side.
There are some serious issues discussed in the book, how did you balance these with the sweetness of tone?
Beth has her friends, who are loyal and supportive. It she didn’t have them, she would eventually be totally destroyed by the bullying. Luckily, the gang have a very friendly, light hearted group dynamic. I loved writing the banter between them. In some ways they reminded me of friends that I had when I was university – we could tease each other rotten, but when there was a problem, we were always there for each other.
Do you think we could make science seem more sexy?
We could certainly make science more interesting. I think the way science is taught in schools sometimes robs it of its magic. Science is fascinating. The world is full of amazing things and science helps us understand them and, maybe, adapt them to do even more amazing things.
As for sexy, well I guess that depends on what your idea of sexy is. Personally, I love a witty man. Clever is the new sexy, right?
Who is your favourite character?
In Doctor January? There’s no contest, it’s Hibs. He’s lovely.
In the whole world of fiction… I don’t know. Probably Bertie Wooster because he’s so wonderfully good natured. If I met him in real life, I’d be completely exasperated by him, but as a fictional character, I love him. Coming a close second would be Billy Blunt from the Milly, Molly, Mandy books. He’s going to be quite the hero when he grows up!
Did you always want to be a writer?
Oh yes. I’ve always read a lot and sometime before I was ten, I decided I really wanted to be writer when I grow up. My parents told me I needed to get a ‘real job’ so I studied science at university and got a job in science and now I write in my spare time.
I also wanted to be an astronaut and over five feet tall. I failed those other two, so it’s a good job I made it as a writer!
What is your daily writing routine?
I don’t really have an effective routine. I have a day job and two small children, so I tend to spend my daytimes dealing with those. Once the kids are asleep, I sit in bed with my laptop on my lap (appropriately enough) and try to write for an hour before bedtime. Sometimes I fall asleep and find I’ve written things like ‘;lksjeruhaongggggg’ or ‘lku9wroinybcccccc’, but if I stay awake, I tend to write a few hundred words a day.
What’s next for you?
I’ve submitted my next book to Choc Lit for consideration. Its provisional title is Please Release Me and it’s a paranormal about a woman called Grace, who falls in love with Peter, whose wife is in a coma. Peter’s wife comes back as a ghost and she’s very annoyed indeed…
While I’m waiting to hear about Please Release Me, I’m writing another light rom com in the same series as my first book Girl On The Run. That one’s about a grown up tomboy called Olivia and her landlord Walter. He’s arachnophobic and there’s a huge spider in his bathroom. He’s going to have to ask the girl from downstairs to rescue him… which is embarrassing.
Tell us a secret…
I like chili paste and golden syrup sandwiches. It’s a like the hot/sweet balance of Thai food, only more extreme.