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Book review: Historical romance Doing No Harm features finding love while helping Scottish refugee
"Doing No Harm" is by Carla Kelly. - photo by Elizabeth Reid
"DOING NO HARM," by Carla Kelly, Sweetwater Books, $8.99, 318 pages (f)

After years spent patching up wounded soldiers, Capt. Douglas Bowden is done with his life as a military surgeon in the historical novel Doing No Harm.

Determined to leave the violence behind, he seeks a quiet English village to set up his private practice. But soon, he finds himself immersed in the problems of a dying Scottish fishing town. Determined to help just a few of its inhabitants, Bowden decides to stay in the ramshackle village for a short while. After all, the town of Edgar is full of too many problems for him to ever find the peace he seeks.

But the longer he stays in Edgar, the more roots he puts down. The charming proprietress of the village tea room, Miss Olive Grant, comes to his aid several times, and the two find themselves plotting ways to help the refugees who were forced to resettle there. Bowden soon realizes he loves and cares for many of the inhabitants in this forgotten town, especially a certain lady whose heart is larger than her purse.

Author Carla Kelly has imbued Capt. Bowden with several realistic qualities, and his personality carries the book far. A man with high morals, he experienced a great deal of suffering during the Napoleonic wars and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Watching his personality unfold throughout the book is a pleasure and delight.

This volume is a great way to learn some history surrounding the Highland Clearances of Scotland, but while the first third of the book is enthralling and moves at a great pace, the rest of it lags. Kelly focuses a lot on the plight of the highland refugees and overtells several of their depressing stories.

Doing No Harm has clean language and romance. There are mentions of violence toward women and children, and there is a short fistfight.

Kelly has written more than 40 books and lives in Idaho with her husband.
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