Fair Play Review
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Since Deirdre Martin’s books combine two of my loves—chick lit and hockey—I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist them for long. Fair Play, Martin’s follow-up to another hockey novel, Body Check, focuses on Theresa Falconetti, the co-owner of a shaky new PR firm. Still recovering from the trauma of date rape, Theresa has been slow to begin dating again. But when Reese Banister comes along, she’s willing to give it a shot—even though he’s the lawyer and nephew of a man who’s trying to force Theresa and her partner, Janna, into selling their firm.

Meanwhile, Michael Dante joins Theresa’s client roster. Michael not only plays hockey for the New York Blades but he also owns a popular Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, along with his brother, Anthony. Convinced that the restaurant is in need of some upgrading, Michael hires Theresa’s firm, though he does so with an ulterior motive—to finally get Theresa to go out with him. But no matter how hard he tries to convince Theresa, she wants nothing to do with him. Not only is he an athlete—who reminds her of his former teammate who once assaulted her—but he’s also an Italian boy from her old neighborhood. He’s exactly the kind of guy she doesn’t want. But with every rejection, Michael only becomes even more determined to win her over. And though Reese seems to be everything Theresa wants in a man, for some reason, she can’t stop thinking about Michael.

Fair Play wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. While it was a light, easy read—and the extra bits of hockey thrown in made it even more entertaining for me—I just couldn’t relate to the main characters. Though Theresa is obviously still recovering from a traumatic event—and anyone in her situation would undoubtedly have trust issues—her issues are extreme. She’s cold and unfriendly—and even mean. And the one man she does allow herself to trust is both related to and working for a man who’s trying to destroy her business. It just doesn’t make sense. And then there’s Michael, a sweet and well-meaning character who takes much more than he should. He’s convinced that Theresa is The One, and that’s all there is to it. His determination eventually stops being sweet and crosses the line to annoying.

Perhaps I’m being too much of a realist—but, even when it comes to chick lit, I need a story that’s at least a little bit believable. So while I loved the idea of Fair Play—and, to be fair, I did enjoy parts of the story—it just isn’t real enough to be a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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