The Love of the Game by Jeanette Murray – A Review
I got this Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
From Back of Book:
Chris St. James is ready for normal. After walking away from her pro tennis career and a toxic relationship with a star hockey player, she’s starting a new life as a teacher and tennis coach in a small town. Now all she needs is an average guy to share it with.
Brett Wallace is no average guy. Forced to retire from the NFL after an injury—and suddenly single after being dumped by his status-conscious wife—he’s returned to his hometown to coach the varsity football team. Wary of women interested only in his celebrity, Brett finds Chris’s indifference to his former career refreshing.
The last thing Chris needs is to get involved with another pro athlete, but she can’t deny the sparks that fly between them. So she agrees to a purely physical, no-strings attached affair. But the rules of the game change when she falls for him…
I really enjoyed this debut book by Janette Murray. When I was in junior high and high school, we had some very attractive coaches, so it was no stretch on my part to picture Brett Wallace. Now I confess we didn’t have a women’s tennis team (that I was aware of) but we did have a men’s tennis team but I only knew about that because I dated one of the tennis team. There were no uniforms, no stands for fans to watch the matches, etc so these elements of this story didn’t seem that urgent to me, but in today’s high school world, it’s probably realistic.
I liked the heroine, Chris St. James even though she enters the story with a huge chip on her shoulder. It was fun to watch the hero not only knock that chip off and watch as he wormed his way into her life. Now her parents? The WORST set of parents ever.
Chris’s ex-boyfriend, Dax, displayed many of the negative personality traits too commonly seen in professional sports stars. I had no trouble with his characterization, with the exception of all his money. Not being familiar with professional hockey, I’ll assume they are paid as well as portrayed here but flying someone across the country for dinner is really expensive! But as a gal who loves escapism, I love the idea.
I adored Brett’s family…all of them- his mother, brothers and sisters-in-law. The Wallace family was the complete antithesis to Chris’s family.
The book isn’t without its occasional hard-to-believe scenes, such as the football coach sending his players over to watch/support the women’s tennis team. Most of the football coaches I am familiar with are usually too involved in their own world and the stress to win to allow their players time away from practice. However, within the context of this story, it worked just fine.
My verdict: This is a wonderfully fun contemporary read that I can comfortably recommend.
p.s. LOVE the cover. Very yummy, don’t you think?