Author: Nicki Edwards
Emergency Response is the second rural medical romance by real life emergency room nurse Nicki Edwards. I reviewed her debut, Intensive Care, earlier this year and loved it.
We met Mackenzie Jones in Intensive Care when she was working with Kate in Sydney. She is an ICU nurse starting to burn out in the big city and ready for a change. Watching her good friend Kate basking in happiness after her tree change makes Mackenzie begin to wonder if maybe that’s what she needs, there certainly isn’t anything keeping her in Sydney.
Mackenzie is very much on her own, she comes from a big family but she hasn’t been close to them since leaving her small town home as a teenager. She has been five times a bridesmaid and doesn’t think she will ever be the bride. Mackenzie fled home leaving trauma and loss that have seriously messed with her esteem.
I love Mackenzie as a character, she is tough and independent but she is carrying around a world of hurt. She knows her stuff and is confident in her professional role but forever second guesses herself on a personal level.
Talking to Kate’s brother at her wedding Mackenzie hears of a nursing position opening up in a small mining town in Western Australia later in the year. Mackenzie returns to Sydney and gives some thought to a major lifestyle change. The contract is only for three months so really, what has she got to lose.
Iron Ridge is a red dust town in the Pilbara, with a small hospital and a tiny airport. The culture shock hits from the moment she steps off the plane, among many a second thought.
Her first impressions at work aren’t much better. No-one is at the airport to meet her so Mackenzie catches a ride to the hospital with a local from her flight. She arrives to find a small hospital that’s seen better days, it’s a little outdated but it’s sparkling clean and impressively well stocked. The hospital is empty of patients, but not for long.
Mackenzie was employed by a nursing agency so her unisex name led the staff at the hospital to make assumptions, and she was not what they were expecting. In the short amount of time before she is thrown in the deep end Mackenzie needs to convince them that she has what it takes to do the job. She may come from a big city intensive care unit but that doesn’t mean she can’t excel in a small town emergency room.
An emergency before Mackenzie even manages to make it to her new house gives her the opportunity to prove herself, both to the staff and herself.
Mackenzie slides into Iron Ridge life well, being a mining town there always seems to be people coming and going and the lifestyle is certainly not for everyone, either is the heat.
A couple of weeks in she bumps into Kate’s brother at the local IGA. She hadn’t told him she’d taken the position, not wanting him to think she’d stalked him all the way to the other side of the country.
Nathan Kennedy, Kate’s older brother, has been quite happily working in Iron Ridge for years but as the years pass the pressure from his family to come home and settle down grows. Nathan has no aversion to settling down and starting a family but without the right woman he refuses to settle.
Mackenzie and Nathan have an easy rapport, and have done since they first met. Mackenzie also has an attraction she’s been trying to fight, not thinking she would have a chance. The two spend time a lot of time together in Iron Ridge and forge quite a close friendship.
There were elements of Emergency Response that were quite predictable and the romance element of the story held no real surprises, but that is not to say that it wasn’t an enjoyable read because it was. I enjoyed watching the story unfold and trying to predict what would come of the miscommunications.
I am still not quite sure how Joel’s twin brother Liam ended up in Iron Ridge though, perhaps that little tidbit just didn’t register. It will be interesting to see if he makes a cameo in the next book too.
Mackenzie went through so much in this relatively short book. We learnt about the events that caused her to leave her hometown and not return for almost two decades and that was painful enough to ponder, but then she had to go through so much more in the space of the story. All of her obstacles aided great personal growth and helped her to see herself a little differently, reflection helped her to see the events of the past differently and together she was able to make positive changes for a much brighter future.
Family is very important to me so it was heartwarming to see a family beginning to heal the rifts that have grown.
Emergency Response is an interesting read for it’s information about the Pilbara region, the emergency room knowledge and of course for the characters. I look forward to seeing what’s to come in the next book of the series.
Emergency Response is book #58 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.