passion rating: warm
Many a romance novel features an adorable small town, filled with people and places a reader might love to experience. Ballycraig, Ireland, the fictional setting of Ms. Martin’s latest New York Blades series, is not such a place. The people there, in general, are economically struggling, tend to drink too much, make self-destructive decisions, and are routinely nasty to each other. The town has little charm. I, like the heroine of Breakaway, Erin O’Brien, wanted to get out of there as soon as I possibly could.
Erin has lived her entire life in Ballycraig. She once had plans to leave, plans that fell apart when Rory Brady, the love of her life — they began dating when she was fourteen — broke his promise to marry her and bring her to New York City where he plays for the NHL. Rory smashed Erin’s heart so thoroughly it took her two years to recover. Even now, she, and the entire town, hates Rory Brady for dumping her. Now Erin is stuck working night and day for her demanding mother at their family’s B and B, and is determined to leave Ballycraig on her own. She’s been finishing up her degree — on-line — in art history, and as soon as she can, she’s moving to a city somewhere in Ireland, getting a job, and finally seeing the world.
Rory Brady, on the other hand, has just returned to Ballycraig after four years. He’s realized breaking up with Erin was the biggest mistake he ever made and he’s determined to win her back. He loves his life as a NHL star — he’s the only Irish-born player in the league — and he’s proud of all he’s accomplished. But, he believes there’s “a difference between achievement and contentment.” He won’t be content, won’t have all the success he wants, until he’s got Erin back and she agrees to be his wife.
I haven’t read the other books in the series, and as best I could tell, that didn’t matter. This is a stand-alone story, has nothing to do with hockey, and didn’t seem to have any parts that needed a back-story to make sense. Several of the books have been positively reviewed at All About Romance; I’d hoped this too would be a good read. It wasn’t. It was, to steal a phrase from the book, “feckin rubbish.”
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