There are several reasons I asked to read The Game by Jan Gayle. First, the cover really attracted my attention. Never underestimate the power of a good cover. I enjoy sport romances, especially when the sport is one I like, and I do like golf. I even tried to play the game (emphasis on the word tried) for fun in my young adult days. This is also the first book I’ve read by this author, and I wanted to read something new.
This review is going to be a mixed bag. The premise of the story is a good one. The idea of a retired golf pro (Ryan Gibbs) meeting a current LPGA golfer (Katherine Reese) and being asked to help her get ready for a major tournament is a great way to put the two mains together. Add in past angst in both their lives and an enemies-to-lovers trope, and you have the makings of a really good romance. Place the main setting in beautiful Los Alamos, an area the author does an excellent job describing, and that should help even more. It didn’t.
The novel starts out very slow, and that slow pace lasts through most of the tale. There was nothing to really grab my attention at the beginning. The first couple of chapters seemed more like an info dump.
I did like Ryan. Her character is well-developed, and I connected with her pretty quickly. I had trouble with Katherine. She seemed very shallow at first, but I eventually saw the person the author had created. It was hard to see the chemistry between the two until late in the book, well past the halfway point of the novel. They also jumped into bed way too soon for me. They were still in the “I hate you” phase of the story and having sex. Remember, I couldn’t see any connection at this point in the tale. I know, this is my own subjective observation. Others may like this.
The last half of the book did improve. I finally saw the chemistry between Ryan and Katherine. The story also picked up a bit, and I did enjoy the ending. I can’t recommend this particular novel, but I will be looking for more from this author.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.