I am not an animal person.

I’m not an animal person. At all. I suppose I could give most of the credit to my dad for this one, as he passed that gene on to me for sure. My friends all go, “What?! How can you not like animals?!” Then I just say, “I don’t. I’m not an animal person.”

Therefore, Cathy Woodman’s book titled City Girl, Country Vet was probably not the best book for me to buy. Yet guess what? I did it anyways. It was sitting on my shelf at home of “Books to Read” for a very long time, and then when I was home over break a couple weeks ago, I picked it up and it was over within two days.

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Now, that’s not a bad thing, necessarily. City Girl, Country Vet is basically a chick lit romance about an English veterinarian named Maz Harwood (who names their kid Maz is beyond me). A city girl, she’s surprised but excited when her closest friend from med school, Emma, asks her to take over her veterinary practice in the countryside for six months while she goes on a vacation with her husband. Eager to escape bad vibes at her city practice, Maz moves to the countryside and develops a strong attachment to the people in the quaint little town, their pets, and Emma’s practice. She’s also, however, developing an attachment to the son of the other family practice in town. It’s a beach read (or garden chair read) novel (if you can even call it that) about love and animals.

I didn’t like this book, to put it simply. Why? The plot is simplistic, the events exaggerating the attitudes of country people (both in positive and negative lights), and Cathy Woodman’s writing style doesn’t contribute a lot to the story. That, and I’m not an animal person, which meant I was rolling my eyes every time Woodman described (from Maz’s voice) about kissing all of the animals in their kennels and giving them love. It’s hard to stop rolling my eyes now as I’m writing this.

Cathy Woodman shows little sophistication as a writer, though that’s what I expect of the market of romance novels, particularly teen ones. I feel like I shouldn’t have to expect that, though, especially in books that talk about really smart women making their way in the world. Really? You can’t make her sound less love-struck and stupid for just one chapter? You can’t highlight the fact that she’s gone through med school and done all of these great things with her smarts and her life and instead have to highlight that she’s stupidly love-struck and just fell on the ground. Okay. I give up.

Well, I don’t give up on all ‘beach read fiction’ books like this, as much as I want to. I read plenty of them, a lot of them, in fact, particularly in the summers. Yet (and as much as I shouldn’t be ratting on the genre while reviewing one book in particular) I should be reading much better, much much heftier, denser things that can challenge my brain more. The most challenging this book got for my brain was keeping character names straight at first.

That said, there were a couple good piecing-together-medical-mysteries parts, and I thought the characters were relatable enough to make it readable. I found Emma the most relatable character for me, especially at the beginning, but all of the rest of the characters were just okay and kind of shallow, including the main character. Too many parts on “I’m not wearing the right thing for this event” type of stuff, which bothers me. Grow up already, romance novels.

So. Even if you’re an animal person who is spending some time on the beach or in a countryside somewhere, still don’t get this book and read it. There’s not much that isn’t said elsewhere in life or in romance novels, and while the writing may be enjoyable for some, I found no point to a narrative that could’ve just worked in third person. AB&AB gives City Girl, Country Vet one and a half stars.

Read something better than this, and have a great day.

-Nicole

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