Review: Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

Reviewed by Shelly

I’ve not had great successes with romances that have a football theme, this might have been one of the exceptions. Jimmy Falconi is the QB for the Chicago Bears. He’s in a slump, a big slump and can’t seem to do what he needs to do to win a game. The fans are giving him heck and worse yet, his coach has given him a short window to turn it around or he’s not just back on the bench, he might not be on the roster at all. The thing about Jimmy is that when he was the back-up QB, he was fine and actually a good backup, but once he got the starting job, things started falling apart for him. He knows it’s time to turn things around. Mary Monahan is a physical therapist who thinks that it’s not always the physical that affects healing; the mind has a big part in it.

This story takes place over a short time – a few weeks. The crux of it takes place over an even shorter time – a few days. So yes, even thought the author does a lovely job in the story by having Mary announce that this is real life and there’s no ‘insta-love,’ there’s insta-love. There are quite a few insta things.

When Mary meets Jimmy at the boxing gym, she has no idea who he is. None. And for Jimmy that’s quite refreshing and he holds Mary in high esteem because of that. Well that and she’s quite pretty with a nice figure. After their go around in the ring, which Jimmy thinks is the best thing since sliced bread, he insists on taking Mary out to dinner. She accepts and they have a nice dinner getting to know each other and the sort. There’s some flirting and fun followed by a hearty round of sex. I know this is contemporary, but that first sex scene kind of threw me for a loop because I wasn’t expecting that they would go at it that quickly.

The emotions spring high between them and it’s quick. Jimmy can’t get Mary off his mind and the same for Mary. So he was quite shocked when he went to work and found out that his new PT for his shoulder is actually Mary. There’s a funny scene when he’s trying to walk to her and he trips, falls, and hurts his groin. So now Mary has 2 injuries to work on and Jimmy was never so happy. If you’re a football fan, you know that those groin injuries can really limit if not sideline a player so take it with a big grain of salt how that’s actually handled between Mary and Jimmy.

Like I said, things move quickly between these two. There are a few ups and downs as a couple that they have to fight through, not enough in my opinion, and they were too easily resolved. Mary’s learning curve is small because life moves quickly in the NFL, especially when it’s almost the end of the season and the Bears could clinch a play-off spot if Jimmy can pull off a win. His desperation for both a win and Mary gets more telling and the tension gets thicker.

I actually thought this story was done well, even though there were a couple things that bothered me. I thought the pacing was good – things moved along well and the characters were fun to know. Mary’s roommate Bridget was a good comic relief. Jimmy’s friend Valdez aka Bear was a hoot with his honey snacks and words of wisdom. Then there’s Jimmy’s brother Michael and niece Annie; I think of all the characters I wanted to know more about it would have been Michael.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC provided for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Hail Mary
by Nicola Rendell
Release Date: November 28, 2016

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