Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert
Tyndale House Books , April 18, 2012

Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to her former duties as an ER nurse. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? Determined to prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.

Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.

As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart.

I loved, loved, loved this book!!! I was laughing, smiling, giggling and crying throughout this book. I was also falling majorly for Dr. Jack Travis! My, what a presence this character has! At a few points in the book I was like: Can I please marry this guy?!

Now don’t get me wrong, Jack’s not some New Age Sensitive Guy, one might argue that he’s doesn’t have a sensitivity bone in his body. Aggression, passion, action and a long held anger at God and at himself drives him to push hard at every aspect of life. With Jack, there’s not much room for compromise – it’s his way or no one’s really. But that’s what attractive about him – his passion for life and his unwillingness to compromise. Sure, it’s not healthy and the reader knows that Jack, along with Riley is on a journey towards God, healing and each other but this is one journey that’s just awesome to follow!

My heart went out to Riley as she struggled to regain her normal life after a vicious attack. As she struggled to accept that God might have a different, better path for her. As she fought her attraction to Jack, got to see different layers of him and she couldn’t help but fall for him with his brashness and all. Watching them figure out their attraction to each other was just magical! Some of the best scenes in the book are when these two are together, hanging out, trying to keep from falling too hard, too fast.

This book is filled with some very realistic characters (like Critical Care as well). People do dumb things in this book, have skewed ideas about God, themselves, each other – but don’t we all? Step out your front door and the world is full of hurting people, hurting each other in order to avoid sorting out their own mess, but it’s real.

Thank you Candace for giving your readers real characters without making the book so heavy in emotional content that readers would struggle with it. Instead you have infused the book with enough romance, action and heartbreak to keep reader’s enthralled and captivated till the very last page, whilst still involving them emotionally!

A couple more things:

I kept picturing Keanu Reeves in the first few chapters…why you might ask? Well the name Jack Travis kept bothering me. Then it hit me. The name of Keanu Reeves’ character in the movie Speed is Jack Traven…close enough to Jack Travis to have me rollicking down memory lane. It’s funny though, cause Jack Travis reminds me a bit like Jack Traven from the movie with both his words and actions.

Finally, I once said if I could live in a fictional world, I’d marry Grady McKenzie from Sweetwater Gap, whilst that is still true, I think Dr. Jack Travis has stolen my heart…