For a how-to-read guide, for an amusing idea of a story, for a book that embraces cliches by giving them a tongue-in-cheek twist
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
I’d been looking forward to this release for a while, and had been planning to buddy-read it with a friend. Note – a good friend who I’m comfortable with, because holy sex scenes! But we’ll get to that. It was even better than I anticipated, in part because it was done a bit differently than I expected. I laughed a lot, and blushed a time or two as well. The cast of characters all work so well together, and the technical aspects of how it was set up worked perfectly in making you love each of them.
It alternates chapters between Gavin and Thea’s perspectives, which ensures you understand them both and can root for them each. In this way it brilliantly avoids demonizing either of them, since their pain and motivation is evident. Their background together of the accidental pregnancy and early marriage come into play a lot, and the way Gavin handles it is truly quite touching. Turning the “trapped into marriage” thing back onto himself is a vulnerable and genuine move that makes you think about your own actions twice.
Oh, my god, did I mention how FUNNY this is? I laughed a ton, and that is often a measure of a good book for me (depending on genre, of course. Hopefully I’m not cackling away reading Gone Girl). The premise of a bunch of super-macho dudes getting together to read romance novels is obviously rife with opportunities for humor, but the impressive part was the sensitive moments woven in for each of them. Yeah they’re macho, but they’re also working hard on their relationships despite the difficulties of their professions. And when it comes down to it, sometimes trying is sexy.
Also sexy: the sexy scenes. And they are not shy about working them in, whether in the snippets of the novel-within-the-novel or in the main story itself! Sometimes maybe a little hard to believe, and sometimes also raised questions around what the hell they were doing in bed before all this, because the things that seemed to blow their minds seemed kind of like sex 101. But then again, I guess that’s what they were working on, so it makes sense!
A note that some people may be annoyed with having to read generic parts of the book that Gavin and Co. are reading in their book club. You only get bits of the overall story, but for anyone whose read similar period pieces, you’ll pretty much be able to fill in the blanks. It’s primarily a tool to use as a foil for Gavin and Thea, but I enjoyed them well enough that it wasn’t a problem for me.