Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: Rescue Team by Candace Calvert

Kate is the ER Director at Grace Medical, and she's struggling to pull her team of nurses together after a traumatic year.  Trying to live up to the image of Sunni, the previous ER Director, has her feeling defensive and hopeless. Her job is on the line, but the troubles of the hospital aren't the source of Kate's true problems; she's running from her past, and hiding a painful secret. 

Enter Wes, a rescue team leader and Texas well digger, who sees beyond Kate's prickly personality to a hurting person that needs to be rescued even if she doesn't know it.  Wes reaches out to Kate and they tentatively forge a friendship and romance, though the more they reveal about themselves the more glaring their differences. Will Kate's secret tear them apart?

Woven through their story are the questions surrounding Sunni's disappearance, the identity of the runaway mom, and the author of the "waiting for compassion" letters appearing in the newspapers. These mysteries add complications to the lives of Wes and Kate, but they are also the catalysts that propel them toward each other and God.

Rescue Team is meant to be a medical drama that brings hope to its readers. Maybe this just isn't the right genre for me, but I had a hard time getting into the story.  I was interested in how Kate and Wes' relationship would develop, but I didn't devour the book as I do when I'm really invested in the characters.  I do appreciate that the book wrapped up most of its little mysteries and troubles with happy endings.  Even though it's part of a trilogy, it didn't leave you with a cliff-hanger and a bunch of unanswered questions.  I had not read the first book in the trilogy, but I was able to follow the plot of Rescue Team without feeling confused about what I'd missed in the previous book. Overall, Rescue Team was a good book. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.

This book was published by Tyndale House Publishers.  A copy was  provided free by Tyndale Blog Network for review purposes. No other compensation was received, and these thoughts are my own.

Interview with Candace Calvert:   

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a veteran ER nurse, wife, mom, and proud grandmother to seven. Beyond writing, my passions include gardening, bird watching, world travel, and cooking —my new blog Authors’ Galley offers foodie fun, book talk, guest authors and giveaways.

2. Did you always want to be a writer? How did you get your start writing fiction?
I always wrote, evidenced by stacks of scrawled diaries and journals way back to grade school.
And I was one of those maddening students who looked at essay assignments as a treat. My journey toward publication, however, began in the aftermath of a serious equestrian accident that landed me in my own ER with a broken neck. The inspirational account of that event, “By Accident” appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, and prompted my writing career.

3.  Your novels have been called “medical hope operas.” What does that mean and how did you decide to write in this genre?
I’d long been a fan of TV medical shows, but was disappointed that the drama, though heavy on action and hospital lingo, rarely included elements of faith. As an ER nurse, I saw how many prayers were sent heavenward by patients, family, and by medical staff as well. I vowed to “help Grey’s Anatomy find its soul.” My novels are character-driven, giving readers a glimpse into the hearts behind the stethoscopes. Beyond the adrenaline-infused action, the stories include both romance and an encouraging message. I love being called the author of medical hope opera.

4.  Tell us a little about Kate, the main character in Rescue Team. Was her character based on anyone in particular?
When the book’s hero first meets nurse Kate Callison, he describes the interaction as “... about as friendly as brushing up against a cactus.” She is a fiercely independent woman who is driven to succeed, yet has a tendency to bolt and when her painful past catches up with her.  Readers soon learn that beneath Kate’s prickly exterior is a heart that longs to find a home.

5.  Name a few things that fuel your creativity during your writing process.
I find that alternative creative pursuits stimulate my writing: tying on the apron to whip up a tantalizing
new recipe, rooting around in my flower and veggie gardens, or even leaving the keyboard to pick up a paint roller -- there’s a small eggplant-purple wall above the guest shower proving that!

6. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about writing this story?
With Rescue Team, I especially enjoyed exploring the estranged relationship between Kate and her father
— in such contrast with the loving, tight-knit family of the hero. On a lighter level, I had fun with quirky minor characters, including an old plastic doll named Nancy Rae. The setting itself, “weird and proud of it” Austin Texas, almost felt like a character in itself.

7. What lessons or truths do you hope your readers will take away from the pages of Rescue Team?

This book explores the concept of “lost and found” on many levels. Ultimately, I hope readers see that
despite past mistakes, regrets, and tragedy, we are never really “lost.” God’s beautiful gift of grace and mercy is our lifeline.

8.  What is the most encouraging thing about being a fiction writer?
The relationships, for sure: with my agent, my long-time critique partner, fellow writers, the fabulous Tyndale House publishing team, and especially the relationship with my readers. It’s wonderful and heartening
— much like being back in scrubs again, touching lives in a positive way.

9.  Are you working on your next project? What can we expect from you in the future?
The third Grace Medical story, First Responder, is in production now. I believe it will be a spring 2014 release. Meanwhile, I’m working on a proposal for a new three-book medical drama series. Have
stethoscope, will write! 

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