Best Practice by Penny Parkes
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: 22nd February 2018 (Hardcover), 28th June 2018 (Paperback)
Series: The Larkford Series #3 (read my review of “Practice Makes Perfect” here )
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
THE BRAND NEW BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF OUT OF PRACTICE
Love and laughter with the residents of Larkford is exactly what the doctor ordered!
Dr Alice Walker has become accomplished at presenting a façade to the world – to anyone watching, she is the epitome of style, composure and professionalism. But perhaps it was to be expected that the cracks might begin to show at some point. Thankfully Grace is on hand to offer both friendship and support when it’s needed most.
Meanwhile, Dr Holly Graham has her hands full both professionally and personally. Planning a wedding with Taffy Jones is challenging enough, even before some surprising news changes everything. At least beloved Larkford resident, Elsie, still has a few tricks left up her sleeve!
Dr Dan Carter, on the other hand, has decided to throw himself into his career – the best antidote he’s found to unrequited love. When tragedy strikes in the heart of Larkford, Dan makes it his mission to help the community.
From the first page of “Best Practice” I had a feeling that I’m back with my old friends – it was as if there was nothing between me reading this third instalment in The Larkford series and the two previous books. We are actually immediately thrown into the medical action and it really never stops. Theoretically this book can be read as a stand – alone but I personally think there is too much background to be missed if you jump straight and direct into “Best Practice” without reading the two previous stories.
It was really a great feeling to be able to follow the characters and to see how they moved forwards after the story finished in “Practice Makes Perfect”. There is a large number of characters in this novel but the old ones that we’ve already got to know and like are also there. The brilliant couple Holly and Taffy who are so tender and so brilliant around each other, and I really, really love their relationship. Is the big wedding really what they need? Dr Dan Carter, Taffy’s companion in so many silly games is distracted and has to face up a new challenge – the practice manager Grace. The big enigma Dr. Alice Walker, who joined the practice in the previous book is also there, and her plot was probably the one that I’ve read the most enthusiastically. She has to deal with her own health issues and there is this big question about her assistance dog, Coco. And let’s not forget Elsie, who this time showed the most gentle and tender side to her. All those stories were weaving seamlessly and effortlessly into one another.
I must be in a minority here but what bothered me so much was that there run so many parallel stories that I couldn’t find the main one. There were so many, many characters in this book, coming to the practice with their health problems, and while they were interesting I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that they’re drawing us away from the main plot. I think I get where the author was coming from here, emphasize the significance and importance of health service but on the other hand I was never sure if, and which, of those could be a turning point for the plot. Don’t get me wrong here, pretty please, I guess thanks to all the accidents and incidents the pace of the book was truly well paced but it is probably why I didn’t feel as much a part of the characters” lives and I just wanted more of the main plot – this about the rural medicinal facilities being shut down and the campaign going to keep them open.
It is truly a book that introduces us to many, many medical conditions and accidents and while it is obvious that the author truly knows what she’s writing about, it is all written in such an accessible way. This novelk links many issues and topics together. It touches upon love, friendship, patchwork families and heath. It is full of depth and this lovely, overwhelming feeling of kindness and support. Even though it is also about really serious stuff, there is this feel – good vibe to it and tons of heart.
“Best Practice” is a story that ticks many boxes for being a perfect summer read. There is humour and a lot of funny moments, there are plenty of poignant moments that will make you go weak at your knees and go “awwww”, it looks much, much deeper under the surface of politics, money, men in black suits to show what’s really important when it comes to deal with ill people. This, as well as this lovely, brilliantly captured sense of community and really well developed characters, must be ones of the strongest points of this novel. The author has also in a great way weaved the romance aspect and romantic sparkles that added lightness and were like a breath of fresh air. Truly recommended!