Button-front: Thrifted (Penguin) — Skirt: Thrifted (CAbi) — Shoes: Thrifted (Born) — Belt: Macy’s — Earrings: Gift from Katie!
For this month’s Literary Stylings challenge, I’ve got a love story. (Aw.)
Well, not just. It’s also a story about medical care, ethics, friendship, and really bad cookies: Acute Reactions, by Ruby Lang. [Disclosure: I’m internet friends with the author, but I was not asked to review this book and I did not receive any compensation for talking about it. I just know a lot of amazing writers.]
I really enjoyed this romance novel–allergist Petra’s professional and personal self-doubt felt very familiar, and her chemistry with former patient Ian was great. I did, however, have to get creative coming up with an outfit for it, seeing as how my one obvious idea (a blue-green dress along the lines of what Petra wears to a wedding later on in the book) was in the laundry basket.
It will probably come as a surprise to precisely nobody that I spent a lot of time in the allergist’s office as a kid. Me and my brother both, actually. We spent years, I can’t say how many, getting weekly shots for our various sensitivities; we’re both beyond needing injections now, but I remember those long minutes in the waiting room very clearly. Even though in Acute Reactions Ian’s allergy is to cats, I first-off went with a floral skirt in honor of the really gross plant reproductive matter that makes my mucus membranes swell even today.
My voluminous button-front shirt isn’t particularly conservative-looking, but as a second piece it was the closest thing I had to Petra’s professional, doctor-y workwear. I can’t imagine her wearing something with puffy sleeves under her lab coat, but what can you do?
Finally, I haven’t worn the heavy black belt seen up above in a while. When I pulled it out of the dresser, it reminded me of Petra’s attempts at rigid self-control and the difficult standards she holds herself up to. Her desire to push away her feelings and be a perfectly ethical doctor, and to prove herself in other parts of her life as well, causes a fair amount of tension between her and the potential love interest, Ian, so why not hold things together outfit-wise with a little restriction?
There are a lot of things to like about Acute Reactions: for one thing, it’s a romance novel where most of the main characters are people of color, which is dismally rare. Admittedly, I’m still a relative newcomer to romance novels, but I can’t think of too many other examples where the heroine is half-Indian, or where the hero is partly Latino–much less both in the same book.
I also really appreciated the amount of story dedicated to Petra’s relationships with her two closest friends Helen and Sarah (also both women of color); between their dynamic and Petra’s professional life, her world had a lot of depth to it. So did Ian’s, for that matter. They both had rounded inner lives that gave the story a lot of realism. Plus, you know, the smooching was pretty great.
So there you have it: Acute Reactions is a dang fine contemporary romance! It certainly inspired me to dig through my closet and put something together. Now then, go check out Gracey’s post on In Zanesville for her own literary style, and also the other folks who linked up. After that, go read a book. Go on, get!