Sunday, 24 September 2017

Book Review - Practice Makes Perfect by Penny Parkes

Amazon UK
Title:  Practice Makes Perfect
Author: Penny Parkes
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 29th June 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

The Practice at Larkford has suddenly been thrust under the spotlight – and its nomination as a ‘NHS Model Surgery’ is causing the team major headaches. Dr Holly Graham should be basking in the glow of her new romance with fellow doctor, Taffy – but she is worried that the team is prioritising plaudits over patients, and her favourite resident, the irreverent and entertaining Elsie, is facing a difficult diagnosis. Add to that the chaos of family life and the strain is starting to show.

Dr Dishy Dan Carter’s obsession with work is masking unhappiness elsewhere – he can’t persuade girlfriend Julia to settle down. It’s only as Julia’s mother comes to stay that he realizes what she has been hiding for so long. Alice Walker joins the team like a breath of fresh air and her assistance dog Coco quickly wins everyone round – which is just as well, because Coco and Alice will soon need some help of their own. Can they pull together and become the Dream Team that the NHS obviously thinks they are?

Having read Practice Makes Perfect I’m not utterly convinced that the setting of Larkford and The Practice would be a perfect setting for a soap opera or sitcom. There is so much drama and so many different storylines and characters all of which are really interesting that it keeps you reading page after page. 

Not only do we see a return of the four main doctors, but we also see the introduction of a new young doctor Alice to the surgery in addition to her assistance dog Coco. It was from the moments they were first introduced that I could tell that they would be rather integral characters and rather special too. 

It is great to see the continuing stories of Julia, Dan, Taffy and Holly and wow do they manage to fit a lot into tot his book between them. Julia’s continual media ambitions, while struggling to contain her family demons. Dan is caught up in a turbulent relationship, but is another woman just starting to catch this eye, he is also big on championing the Practice in the Community project, and I loved hearing about some of the fundraising. While Holly and Taffy are adjusting to living together and the twins, Ben and Tom are a handful while being thoroughly entertaining. 

Of course it’s not just the doctors lives the book focuses on, there is also Grace the admin woman who seems to be great at firmly keeping the doctors in line. And then there are the people in the community, including some recurring characters that I was eager to see the return of like Major and Elsie. 
This is a story about realistic characters facing the everyday challenges that normal working people face, including their bosses entering them into a high profile bet for their unique management style, the tug between mother and daughter relationships, sibling rivalries, and loads of other examples of things that are easy to relate to. 

Yes this is quite a long book, but I really didn’t feel like a slog, in fact it was a delight to read, with Dan and Taffy providing a fair amount of comic relief, in a story that has many facets to it. I believe Practice Makes Perfect could be read as a standalone, as prior intimate knowledge of the previous books isn’t required. As a returning reader to the series, I was incredibly pleased to discover it really didn’t take long to feel like part of the community in Larkford again. 

I am already incredibly eager to read the next book in the series, and can’t wait to see what the charismatic residents of Larkford will get up to next! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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