Candace Calvert’s Step by Step

51y3+7mwCzL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Okay, I have a confession to make.

I’ve read a few of Candace’s books before, and while they’ve been good reads, they haven’t been favorites. Her medical-themed inspirational fiction is good, but not really my taste unless it catches my attention on the “New Arrivals” shelf at the library. And for about two-thirds of Step by Step, my opinion hadn’t changed. I was fully prepared to check this novel off my TBR list, scratch out a review, and probably not pick this one up again.

But then I read the last third or so of this book. Somehow, the slight boredom slipped away as Taylor and Seth each finally moved forward with their respective faiths, grief, and emotions. Each of these characters had lost a spouse rather traumatically; they had their own shared history; and each was trying to figure out his/her future, along with some confusing but growing romantic inklings toward the other. The crisis care team element was interesting and played a prominent role in character development and action. I thought it would take forever, but all the pieces of their individual characters and their shared feelings finally came together to finish the puzzle.

To be honest, this novel read like a Christian novelization of a season of Grey’s Anatomy. A lot of secondary characters had their own drama, and we stepped into the perspectives of more than just the two protagonists. The head-hopping was a bit dizzying, and not all the heads seemed necessary. Taylor and Seth would have been sufficient, and maybe crotchety nurse Sloane because of her history with both lead characters and place in the story line.

Also, if some of the smaller plot trails were going to be included, like Kasie and Daniel’s relationship or the danger haunting Sloane, they could’ve been amped up or at least resolved a little more. Perhaps those characters will be featured in subsequent novels??

Step by Step is a strong novel about medical personnel who devote their time on and off the clock to caring for others’ well-being while struggling to resolve their own conflicts and histories. It started out slow, but the last third showed more dynamic change in the characters and their relationship actually moved forward. A bit pokey at times, a bit frustrating at other moments – I really wanted to fling mud at Dr. Halston, just to see how the mess disturbed his perfectly put-together little world. But a good story, nonetheless. You may enjoy it more than I did, so go on and check it out!

My rating: 3/5 stars

Recommended for: those who enjoy medical fiction with strong faith and romance elements; fans of Candace Calvert’s books.

Note: I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

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