Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19547897-hope-and-the-patient-man
Genre: Steampunk fantasy
Author: Mike Reeves-McMillan
Rating: 5/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.
I haven’t read any previous books in this series, but it lived up to the promise that the novel is a stand-alone. And I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The main focus is not on magic or politics, but on the relationship between Hope and Patient, and how Hope must overcome trauma from a previous lover in order to have a healthy relationship now.
Although the trauma has a magical cause (backsplash from a curse), it becomes obvious that it goes deeper into Hope’s emotions from the relationship and from her childhood. The interactions between the characters, and the help that they get from a “mindhealer” (therapist), are very realistic. There’s no easy magical cure for Hope’s problem, so she has to work through her issues, with Patient living up to his name by supporting her and waiting for her to be ready for each step of their relationship.
Hope is also lucky to have good friends who help her through her healing journey, and she gains a new friend who also turns to Hope for relationship advice, because of her inexperience. The subplot for Rosie is cute and amusing, and provides a more lighthearted counterpoint to the emotional depth of Hope and Patient’s work.
I liked to see the focus on characters’ relationships and communication, with magical developments taking a backseat in this story. I think it’s rare that I find fantasy with this much emotional depth and I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t fast or showing a lot of action, but many fantasy fans may enjoy the change of pace to something slower and more introspective. I’d also recommend it to romance fans because the love here is the main focus of the book.