Something to Prove
I’m always a bit nervous when reviewing a debut novel. While I want to expect the best, debuts are often a disappointment. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this time; this debut novel held my interest throughout and left me eagerly looking forward to future books by the author.
Amanda Jensen is at her sister’s wedding at an Italian ski resort when her pre-wedding preparations are interrupted by a call from her office. She’s instructed to interview an Alpine skier who is also at the resort. Amanda is an investigative reporter and as a recent hire cannot refuse to take the job. But interviewing a skier is the last thing she wants to do since Amanda hates the ski world.
Amanda is estranged from her father, a famous ski coach. And her sister, an Alpine skier, recently suffered a career-ending injury that left her with permanent injuries. To make matters worse, Brody Jones, the skier she’s ordered to interview, once trained with her father. Amanda never met Brody but knows he and her father had a falling out and Brody has formed his own team. Amanda decides the smartest thing to do with regards to the interview is keep her link to her father a secret from Brody.
Amanda isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Brody and his agent are hiding some major ones as well. Brody has no desire to do the interview but the sports drink company sponsoring his team insists on the interview; good publicity for Brody provides good publicity for them. Brody has been off the circuit for two years after an injury and is back for reasons that he and his agent want to remain secret. The interview with Amanda poses a serious threat.
The author does a good job conveying the instant attraction Brody and Amanda feel for each other, as well as their reluctance to pursue a relationship. I liked that their attraction goes beyond the physical: they each sense the intelligence in the other’s eyes. I also liked that integrity is a key motivation for both Brody and Amanda.
I thought this was going to be a simple relationship in which Amanda hates all skiers because of her father, but it’s much more complicated than that. They each have complex issues. The author truly kept me guessing as to where this was going to go. Yes, because it’s a romance I knew they’d have a happy ending, but I just wasn’t sure what Brody and Amanda would have to go through to get there.
While the book’s focus is primarily on Amanda and Brody, there are some interesting scenes with Amanda’s sister and her sister’s fiancé. These scenes made me wonder if the author had written an earlier book featuring the sister. If so, I hope that it’s published eventually.
The book ran out of steam a bit for me toward the end and some of Amanda’s later actions were a bit confusing. Despite that, I enjoyed the book and will definitely pick up the author’s next book. This is a good debut novel.