What happens when latent lesbian Dr. Natalie Jenner meets heart-stopping paramedic Charlie Thompson? Perhaps it’s just what the doctor ordered.
Natalie Jenner practices medicine and heterosexuality, though she’s much better at one than the other.
When Charlie Thompson, a heart-stopping butch 15 years her junior, joins the hospital staff as a paramedic, it becomes queer—er, clear—exactly which of Natalie’s practices isn’t making all that much progress.
Natalie’s urgent urge for Charlie delivers more shock to her system than a defibrillator ever could. Charlie is similarly smitten, even though she knows the prognosis is negative.
Because this relationship is hardly what the doctor ordered.
Natalie has a husband, a daughter with developmental delays, and a commitment to cheat on her life without compunction or consequence.
Their affair is touch-and-go in every sense. Even as Natalie emerges from her comatose lesbianism, she remains in critical condition, especially when she experiences what Charlie calls a “straight girl freak-out.”
Natalie’s freak-outs become frequent, her vow to do no harm applied exclusively to patients. But instead of drafting a DNR, the paramedic persists in performing CPR.
Can Charlie stabilize this relationship, or is it fated to flat-line?
Much like the characters’ romance, the pulse of the novel is low and slow. Sexual tension must evolve. Readers want to observe the accumulation of the characters’ ardor, not just its culmination. We want to discover what each woman finds alluring and appealing about the other.
This is difficult to achieve not only because the romance is rushed, but also because the characterizations are reminiscent of a hospital gown: flimsy and formless. We see no evidence of Natalie’s purported potency as a love interest. There is nothing about her that is laudable, let alone likeable. She is childish and churlish, aggressive and possessive. Conversely, Charlie is characterized as competent and confident, but that’s the extent of her.
When it comes to characters, an intravenous approach should be taken: in order for readers to invest in and empathize with Natalie and Charlie, we need to go IV-deep into their emotions and personalities. This would enable the dialogue to distinguish, not extinguish, the characters’ individuality. It would enable readers to cheer on, not jeer at, the characters’ relationship. And it would enable me to prescribe, not proscribe, Searching for Forever.