Synopsis: Tess is a nearly thirty, newly retired, pro tennis star who was injured thus leaving her with no career, no direction, and flat broke. Trying to get her life on track, Tess ends up being asked to mentor an up-and-coming player who just moved from juniors to the big leagues. It may be a huge step down for someone with her celebrity status, but she’s perverse enough to do it if as it meant ticking off the newbie’s older brother.
Cover: The cover art certainly grabbed my attention, but ended up having rather little relevance to the story other than the fact there is a budding romance. While the cover impressed me, I would have been more impressed if it was on a different book and this one had artwork that was relevent to the story within.
Writing Style: Donna Kauffman writes in a rather conversational third-person. There is very little flowery phrasing, just straight-shooting speech, much in the same way as the main character’s personality.
Location: The story takes place in England around Wimbledon, partially at a nearby estate, but more often on the courts of the All England Club.
Plot: For all that this was labeled a romance, the novel has a lot more in common with chick lit. The storyline gears around Tess Hamilton’s life in a belated coming-of-age: her career ending unexpectedly left Tess unsure what direction her life should go. The book depicts Tess’s financial struggles, her job search, her dealing with numerous losses, and trying to balance all this with a budding relationship.
Character: Gabby is Tess’s mini-me of the tennis world, the next “big thing” to hit the circuit. She’s sixteen, and the usual combination of naïve maturity and responsible irresponsibility. Her presence is a shadow of Tess’s, for Gabby is learning how to juggle the various aspects of her life as well—from boys to her newly formed pro career. She’s a great character that I’d love to see more of.
Point of Interest: This is one book that loosely belongs to a series. The common thread in this and the related books is the Glass Slipper Inc, a company founded to help provide life-coaching for people, and ends up meddling in the lives of others… but only in a good way.
Romance/Relationship: Tess’s relationship with Gabby is just as important as both their relationships with Max. Gabby and Max are incredibly close for siblings, and that ends up being part of the reason Tess and Max butt heads—the other reason being because Tess and Gaby are so much alike. It is a love triangle of the best kind: Gabby loves her older brother and he loves her; Gabby also loves Tess as a coach and mentor, hoping her brother and coach fall in love; Tess and Max have a tempestuous attraction to each other that cannot be ignored as it would surely lead to love of a different sort.
Quote: She was no longer fresh? How mortifying was that? Not even thirty years old, and her shelf life had already expired?
The Verdict: I have been enjoying the stories in the Glass Slipper Inc series and eagerly awaiting getting my hands on this one as much as the others. As I mentioned before, the romantic story line was a bit weak for a romance novel, yet it falls wonderfully into the chick lit genre. Even if you don’t play tennis or care much for the sport, this book is still a fun read.