When I published ‘Rosie’ two years ago, I thought it was a light hearted romance – after all, it has a conventional happy ending. Although Rosie is a spirited heroine, I didn’t see the book as having a feminist message, or dream that two years later, the themes in it, which include misogyny and harrassment, would become so topical. It was a first novel, written to amuse myself when my husband was ill, and I knew it didn’t fit easily into a genre. I had no experience in writing, but I thought some people might enjoy reading it for fun. I was quite surprised when one of my female friends said she thought it was a promising first novel, but she preferred the dark elements in it to the romance, because until then, it hadn’t occurred to me it was dark. So when I re-read it recently, to check up on some facts I needed for the next Rostershire novel, I was really surprised to find she was right, and that the book was right up to date.
In the book, Rosie has been brought up by her grandparents to believe that her schoolgirl mother was a disgrace to the family. But when she leaves home, a duckling turning into a swan, she finds her strict upbringing is no preparation for dealing with male interest. As a result, she becomes involved in some ill-judged affairs. She blames herself for her mistakes, though it’s clear she has also been exploited. In an effort to put her past behind her and concentrate on her career, she takes a job in a rundown provincial hospital, where the leadership is still chauvinistic. In no time, her new broom tactics have made an enemy of the sinister and lecherous medical director, while she finds herself irresistibly attracted to his protege, a brilliant young surgeon. Despising herself for becoming infatuated by this handsome, ambitious man, just as she had promised herself to become more independent, she brutally brings the relationship to an end as soon as she realises he does not quite live up to her high moral standards. Determined to be professional and not allow her personal feelings influence her job, she nevertheless sets out to try to help him gain resources for his research. In the process, she discovers his patron, the medical director, is involved in some kind of fraud. She has already had to put up with low level sexual harassment from him, and this comes to a head when he tries to use his power to stop her threatening his plans.
At the same time, events are forcing the young doctor to realise his patron is an unprincipled bully, and that, like most of his colleagues, he has simply been ignoring what was in plain sight.
Although the story has a happy ending, there is a final twist. Right up to the end, Rosie is prepared to risk her personal happiness in order to stand up for she thinks is right. Her success in shaking off her past is symbolised when she discovers the truth about her parents.
The novel also contrasts Rosie and the doctor, both of whom are talented and attractive. But whereas Rosie has been conditioned to undervalue herself, and puts her ideals above success, he has been encouraged to be successful from an early age, and has pursued his career singlemindedly.
This summary of the story contrasts with the one I originally wrote for this page:
Roster is a rundown Midlands Hospital. Management is weak, the Chief Medical Officer’s corrupt, and the pioneering young surgeon can’t get money for his research. What’s more, he’s fed up with Geraldine and carting her cello about…..and then along comes the mysterious Rosie, and turns everything upside down.
………‘I think the purpose is to help us to monitor our performance,’ said Miss Macfarlane helpfully. ‘We have had some criticism in the press about our treatment of elderly patients.’
There was an intake of breath, followed by a deathly silence. Somebody really did need to take her to one side. The problem with geriatrics was not something that was openly referred to. The back of Arnold’s neck was getting quite red. At this rate, the girl would be consigned to a back room counting bedpans in no time. ……….
………Rosie leant back in her seat……Things were not going to plan. Guy’s appearance and reputation had led her to expect him to be a cold fish, absorbed in his own affairs, so she had imagined she was quite safe involving herself in his problems. Instead she had found he was friendly and he hadn’t talked about himself at all…… He was lovely. She knew she had no desire to resist him……….
…….’You’d make Lady Macbeth look like a wimp,’ said Guy…….
Available from Amazon as a Kindle ebook here
What readers say
‘ Really easy to read, and found it very hard to put down although i didnt want to finish it either. A nice insight into the hospital world that very often made me smile, recognising similar situations and traits in people in my own world, and with one scene making me laugh out loud…..’ – Amazon customer
‘a smart, complex and snappy story about the relationship that develops between two equally strong and intelligent individuals…’ – Amazon customer