Title: A League of Her Own
Author: Karen Rock
Genre: Romance, Sports
I’ve always been cynical when it comes to Harlequin romance novels. In my mind, they are bodice rippers with little literary value. However, in my search for baseball novels involving women, I came across A League of Her Own by Karen Rock. I was surprised to see that it was a part of the Harlequin Heartwarming series. Unlike other Harlequin novels, the books in the Heartwarming line are not of the erotic variety. They features characters struggling with personal challenges and clean romance with little in the way of sex.
A League of Her Own tells the story of Heather Gadway, a world softball champion who elects to become the first female manager of her father’s North Carolina minor league team, the Falcons, after the first manager quits. While trying to overcome her father’s disapproval and the resistance of her team, Heather falls for the mysterious Garrett Wolf, an ace pitcher and alcoholic looking to make it to the major leagues. Can Heather prove that she is the right woman for the job–and for Garrett Wolf’s heart?
My main interest in the novel lied in its premise. I was intrigued by the idea of a woman becoming the first female manager in the minor leagues. There are so many exciting places the story could have gone, but it didn’t. Granted, Rock did explore some of the obstacles Heather had to face when it came to being accepted by her team, but I felt like most of the details were glossed over in favor of the love story. This is fine if the love story is strong and unfortunately, the romance between Heather and Garrett leaves much to be desired. Just because Garrett is good looking and Heather is beautiful doesn’t mean that they should automatically be together. Yes, they did bond over having tough childhoods, but Heather spent most of the book prematurely judging Garrett because of her mother’s addictions. I understand her hesitation, but to not give Garrett a chance was unfair on her part.
Much of the book was repetitive and predictable. In almost every chapter, Heather would chronicle her conflicting feelings for Garrett. Stating this once or twice would have been enough. The space used to continuously repeat Heather’s feelings about Garrett could have been used to explore more interesting aspects of the story.
The only thing that kept this book from getting a two star rating was the writing. Aside from the predictable plot, I thought Rock did a good job moving things forward and creating interesting side characters. I guess my disappointment in this book is partially my fault. I expected it to be something it wasn’t. All Harlequin romance novels have a certain formula they must follow. Romance is paramount, interesting character development be damned.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a clean romance novel, but as a novel about baseball and women’s place in it, A League of Her Own falls short.