I am not a huge baseball fan, I am sure that is blasphemy to many Americans, but I am just not. Now don’t get me wrong I can enjoy baseball, it’s great to go to the ballpark grab a beer and sit back and watch the pageantry of any sport. I love sports! I also have become a great fan of Rachel Spangler’s books, and I was intrigued by the vastness of this books ratings.
Sarah Duke is a female sportswriter. This is no easy feat. This particular career is heavily dominated by men. A female will have to work twice as hard if not harder to break into this field. Sarah, who really only goes by Duke, has just landed her dream job working for majorleaguebaseball.com, Duke is working as the sports commentator for her beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Baseball is her life, literally and figuratively.
Molly Grettano is a single working mother of two boys. By day she waits tables and any other moment she has is dedicated to her children’s happiness. Her oldest child, Joe, is somewhat of a baseball savant. Joe’s childhood is not playing sports or video games. No, he is a lover of baseball. He doesn’t excel at rounding bases or catching pop flys, no, Joe loves the statistics and math of the game. He knows batting averages, win-loss averages, which pitcher is needed for which opponent. So, Molly fosters that love and takes her sons to any Cardinals game she can. A chance meeting with the journalist Sarah Duke is a treasure for Joe, she fills his heart with more of his passion of baseball. This accidental run-in brings Duke into the lives of Molly and her two sons.
The third character in this book is baseball. Yup, this book is heavy in baseball, quotes, stats and life lessons learned from America’s pastime. Duke and Joe’s obsession with the game is heavy and it reflects as much in the book. In my opinion the third character takes over much of the book, leaving the main characters progression towards romance rather thin. You can only have so much of one subject before it becomes overwhelming.
I had a hard time believing that Sarah Duke would ever get out of Molly Grettano’s friend zone. Don’t get me wrong Duke is nice and sweet, she is great with the boys but she is more like a teen than a thirty-something woman. Her singlemindedness was frustrating and I could not believe Molly would fall for someone who would put her so far second behind her career. She only spoke in baseball metaphors for goodness sake, who would find that attractive. Cute for a while maybe but after time it would be grating! I did not believe this happy ever after.
I love Rachel Spangler’s writing style. I liked this book, but it is definitely not my favorite of Spangler’s. If you are a baseball junkie, you will love this one. If baseball is not your thing, you may struggle a bit. For me it wasn’t a strike out, but it wasn’t a home-run either.
3 out of 5 stars
Heart of the Game
by Rachel Spangler