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Women in Medicine in Romance Novels

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Carolina Ciucci


Carolina Ciucci is a teacher, writer and reviewer based in the south of Argentina. She hoards books like they’re going out of style. In case of emergency, you can summon her by talking about Ireland, fictional witches, and the Brontë family. Twitter: @carolinabeci

One of the biggest draws of fiction to me is the opportunity to dive headfirst into somebody else’s career choices. As someone who wanted to be a teacher, an actress and a ballerina all before the age of ten (never mind that I can’t act and my sense of balance is no more than a fond daydream), I learned early on that books allowed me to explore different careers while snuggled under a blanket on the couch.

Medicine is something that I became interested in as a very young kid, probably reading about it in the Reader’s Digest magazines my grandfather bought. I gravitated around the idea of becoming a doctor for years, until – once again– reality reared its head, and made me realize that, oh hey, I can’t stand blood and unpleasant odors gross me out. Doctor Ciucci was not going to happen.

However, I adore the fast pace of medicine novels, and I still enjoy hospitals – to me, they’re places of hope even more so than places of sorrow. So, without further ado, here we have some of my favorite romance novels featuring women in medicine.

Cover of Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh

Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh. As a highly respected scientist with the ability to heal at the cell level, Ashaya Aleine should by all rights get to pick her own projects. However, the Psy Council, a corrupt political organization at the top of the feeding chain, wants her to work on a prototype to turn all members of the Psy race into a hive-mind. Since she’s not cooperative, they figure kidnapping her son will give her a bit more motivation.

Enter Dorian Christensen, lieutenant of the DarkRiver changeling pack, who agrees to rescue Ashaya’s son in gratitude for her rescuing two of a packmate’s own. While Dorian and Ashaya fight their way into love, she’s on a race to protect the Psy from a project that goes against every single value she holds, as a scientist, as a Psy and as a doctor.

Cover of For Now Forever by Nora Roberts

For Now, Forever by Nora Roberts. Anna Whitfield is an aspiring surgeon in her last year of medical school. Trouble is, she’s a med student in the 1950s, a time where women didn’t often become doctors, especially considering their parents’ pressure to become wives instead. Anna’s journey towards achieving her goal isn’t made any easier by the entrance of one Daniel McGregor, a larger-than-life Scotsman used to getting his own way, in her life. Daniel wants her to marry him and give up her dream. Anna unapologetically wants to keep them both.

Cover of Vivid by Beverly Jenkins

Vivid by Beverly Jenkins. Think Anna’s journey as a female med student in the 1950s was hard? You would be right. But Dr. Viveca Lancaster’s journey to gaining respect as a Black physician in the late 1800s is a heck of a lot harder. Viveca, or Vivid to her family and friends, has to deal with racism, misogyny, and being a lot more qualified than the male doctor people keep comparing her to. She also has to deal with Nate Grayson, the mayor and sheriff of her new town, who’s as likely to question whether she’s up to being the town physician as he is to make her throat dry with just one long look.

Do you like career-driven fiction? What is it about them you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!