I’ve been on a sports romance book kick lately and saw this book up for review. The blurb hooked me – football, small town and hot ex-soldier. Set in a small southern town, it has a very Friday Night Lights vibe to it.
Darcy Wilde loves her life as a librarian in Atlanta. She loves just being another person in a big city – so different from how she grew up. Darcy is forced to confront her past when her grandmother falls ill and she must return to her hometown of Falcon. Darcy’s goal is to get in, set her grandmother back to rights and get out of dodge as quick as she can. She might feel slightly guilty about her reluctance to come home, but it’s not about the woman who raised Darcy and her cousin, Logan. It’s more about wanting to escape the sins of the mother that are visited upon the daughter and the very long memory of small towns.
Things get bungled up from the start when a comment Darcy was making to a friend was misconstrued and Robbie “Dalt” Dalton, the new football coach’s, sexuality was called into question before the dinner bell rang. Apparently, this is still a no-go for southern football coaches. Darcy discovers that Dalt is Logan’s ex-Army buddy and feels beholden to get Dalt out of the mess. They agree to “fake date” to throw off any questions, though this is not a hardship for either one of them. The ruse turns real as they get to know each other while navigating small town politics and coming to terms with their past.
Darcy came off a little shrill at first but warmed up as her backstory came out and was lovely by the end. I was really interested in Dalt’s story as it was hinted that he was recovering from Army life. Unfortunately, aside from him waking up from a nightmare and having a service dog, this wasn’t really explored. These two certainly had some soul searching to do and they did a fair amount talking to each other, but I wasn’t totally convinced in their romance. They were nice enough, but I didn’t get that spark.
What is the shining light in this book is the fabulous cast of characters from Ms. Ada to Darcy’s cousin Luke to the three wacky mature librarians. The interactions between all these people were sometimes hilarious and sometimes bittersweet, but always full of heart.
I had some quibbles with the slow pacing and awkward sub-plot but not enough to detract from the lively and loving characters. I would definitely read another in this series to see if the author can work out the kinks. I’d recommend this book for those who are looking for a lighter small town romance with humor and heart.
*ARC provided by St. Martin’s via NetGalley
Click to purchase: Amazon
Slow and Steady Rush
by Laura Trentham
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s