The Doctor’s Secret (ParisDude’s Review)

Title: The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1)
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 23, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 256
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.80 stars out of 5


The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

At the age of ten, Wu Hong-Wei has immigrated from Taiwan with his family because his parents want to forge a better future for them all in Texas. Driven by his parents’ ambitious dreams and his own wish to be the best in any situation and at any time, Hong-Wei forgoes his passion for classical music and pursues medical studies instead until he’s become a brilliant intensivist surgeon. And yet, he can’t deal with the ego fights and the political scheming going on around him. So, he flees to northern Wisconsin, where he’s accepted to work as a general surgeon in the unprepossessing St. Ann’s Hospital in Copper Point.

Upon his arrival at Duluth airport, he’s welcomed (and immediately charmed) by his future colleague, surgical nurse Simon Lane, a young and handsome man who, as luck would have it, loves Taiwanese TV shows and Korean pop music. When he sees his new boss for the first time, he’s immediately smitten. Let’s say it’s love on first sight for both of them, but of course they don’t let it on at once. There’s some courting and half-assed steps forward/steps backwards-shuffling to be done before they finally realize they’re made for each other.

Now, if that were all the story-line has to offer we’d merely get another tepid variation of “they meet/they fall in love/HEA” with some sex scenes thrown in. Luckily, that’s not the author’s idea of a good book (because it’s not mine either). From the onset she adds a real Sword of Damocles that will be looming over our lovebirds’ heads throughout the novel. In fact, after some recent scandals the hospital has decided to establish a strict no-dating-policy between staff members. Anyone trespassing is immediately sacked. Of course, that policy is not endorsed for doctors as those willing to move out to that Wisconsin backwater are too hard to find. So, despite his apparent attraction Simon fights his feelings because he’s got so much more to lose than the new surgical prodigy Dr. Wu: his job, and therefore his home, which is his safe haven. The surgeon will need to be very convincing and patient and tender (spoiler: he is all of these three!), and he will need to find a way to make the hospital administration change their policy. Will he? will they? what will become of our two boys and their (love) lives?

I confess I didn’t expect much, I even expected the worst. The doc’-nurse-trope had me rolling my eyes in advance. Imagine my surprise when I was proven utterly wrong (I rather prefer my reading experiences to go that way than the other way around, by the way). This book is, yes, very entertaining as well as exceedingly cute. And well-written at that. Between the outwardly self-assured smartass surgeon Dr. Wu, who does have issues he tries to hide, and the subdued, ever-blushing, sweet nurse Simon with his teenager-like passions (Asian drama, K-pop), we have two different characters, each with his own insecurities, each with his own development throughout the book. They are both three-dimensional and immensely likeable, as are the secondary characters (well, except some hospital board members who even I wanted to give a piece of my mind at one moment). The story follows several ups and downs in the relationship between Hong-Wei and Simon (with some nicely hot “hot scenes”), but it never gets boring or too foreseeable. Then, at one moment, you think everything’s lost (Romeo and Julio, so to say, all over again…), until…

No, no, no, I shall not give it away. Go read it yourself. For those amongst you who like their romance novels cute (but not sugary), who like a little-town setting that feels genuine, who like strong but feeling characters with a past (and a past that, once explained, is rich and interesting and does explain the characters), this is a must-read. PS, I must admit this ole’ silly fool even felt his eyes get all moist when reaching that particularly touching scene where Hong-Wei… Ha! You nearly made me spill the beans.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of The Doctor’s Secret provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.


Dieter, born and raised in Austria, studied Political Sciences in Vienna in the early 90s. He’s living in Paris, France, with his boyfriend and working as a graphic designer. In his spare time, he loves to write, read, cook, take photos, and travel as often as possible. He’s already published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. His first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on Jan. 6, 2019, and is available in English, French, and soon German. Dieter is also writing reviews for Gay Book Reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude.

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