True Love and Other Disasters
True Love and Other Disasters is Rachel Gibson’s latest entry into the world of professional hockey players, and is just as enjoyable as her previous releases.
Faith Duffy is the former stripper, former Playboy Playmate, and just-widowed trophy wife of Virgil Duffy, a rich man 51 years her senior. In a surprise move, Virgil leaves Faith his hockey team, the Seattle Chinooks. Since Faith has no interest in hockey, she plans to sell the team to Virgil’s son Landon, who feels the team should have been left to him. But Landon doesn’t bother to hide his hatred of Faith, and after he goes out of his way to humiliate her, Faith decides she’s not going to sell him the team after all.
Ty Savage is a veteran Canadian hockey player and recent acquisition of the Chinooks, hired as the team captain a few months prior to Virgil’s death. His one and only goal is to win the Stanley Cup and achieve what his legendary father never could. The idea of a stripper-Playmate-gold-digger owning the team is seriously messing with his focus, and he worries about the embarrassment she will no doubt bring the team.
Whenever a novel features a “trophy wife” heroine, I expect to find the same old story of a woman who just happened to fall in love with a much-older man, didn’t really marry him for his money, and consequently has been totally misunderstood. I should have expected more from Ms. Gibson. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Faith freely admits that she married Virgil for his money, although in time she grew to love him. In fact, Faith is open and unrepentant about all of her previous endeavors. As for people who might judge her: they haven’t lived her life.
Faith is a strong woman who is really struggling to find herself. She no longer has to sell her body to survive, and she’s no longer a trophy wife constantly on display. For the first time in her life, she isn’t quite sure about her role. I didn’t expect to have much respect for a gold-digging stripper, and it’s a credit to the strength of Gibson’s writing that I did.
Ty as well is a strong and likeable character, even if he’s not much different from the standard athlete hero. And given that this is a Gibson book, it’s not surprising that Ty is all man. Few authors write male characters as authentically as Gibson does, in all their sexy, alpha, and often crude glory. And who knew a Canadian accent could be so sexy?
The only issue I had, which definitely had an impact on the grade, was that I had trouble believing the calamitous effect this affair would have on Ty’s career. This is a major point in the story, and though the reader is told several times that his career would be over should the affair come to light, no explanation for why that would be was really given. I definitely understood why Faith and Ty wanted to keep the affair secret, given the boss-employee relationship, but would it really end a stellar 15-year career? Given the deplorable behavior of quite a few pro-athletes — DUIs, manslaughter, rape, and dog-fighting come to mind — sleeping with the boss seems almost tame in comparison. Could there be a good reason his career would be over — say, a strict NHL no-fraternization policy? Sure, but I wasn’t given one. Consequently, when this issue comes to the fore late in the book, Faith’s actions come off as overly melodramatic and I just wanted to shake some sense into her.
In spite of this issue, I quite enjoyed another jaunt into Gibson’s world of manly-men hockey players and unexpectedly respectable heroines. The chemistry between Ty and Faith is blazing, though it takes a while for the romance portion of the book to get going. Because really, this is Faith’s story much more than it is Ty’s. But good characterization and a flowing storyline keep the pages turning and the reader interested.
While True Love and Other Disasters wasn’t my favorite Rachel Gibson novel, I found it definitely worth the read. I just love all that guy-speak and hockey action.