Continuing with the 2019 Alphabet Variation Challenge:
My book group decided to read Rachel Spangler’s Edge of Glory, published in 2017. So, I decided that I would use it for my letter “E” in this challenge.
Edge of Glory is very much a sports romance. The two lead characters, as well as most of their friends and associates are either Olympic athletes, trainers, or managers. Twenty-five year old Elise Brandeis is a world class skier who is expected to medal, if not win the gold, at the Sochi Olympics. However, due to a terrible accident that injures her leg, she misses the podium and ends up in the hospital, possibly out of competitive skiing forever. Other than her trainer, Paolo, everyone abandons Elise. But, considering she’s been a loner, who has held herself apart and worked alone diligently, she’s not fazed by the abandonment, as much as by the thought that no one expects her to return, nor win a race again. Even her wealthy parents, who were there for her financially, if not emotionally, have basically given up on her. However, through hard work and with the approval of medical authorities, Elise and Paolo are given the go ahead to begin training again at an Olympic facility in New York state. There Elise meets a fellow athlete and team very unlike her own. Corey LaCroix is a Olympic medalist and world champion snowboard cross racer. Corey’s event had been fairly new to the Olympics, so the beginning of her career was spent at events like the X-games. Like her sport, Corey is wild, uninhibited, and edgy. She’s been known to party hard as much as she is known for winning. However, at the age of thirty, Corey is beginning to feel the youngsters in her sport breathing down her neck, and she’s also been feeling the need to party less and be more selective with whom she spends her time. Still, Corey, her manager/sister, Holly and her trainer, Nate, engage much more with their fellow athletes. And, in fact, when Elise arrives at the training facility, Corey senses an immediate attraction and vows to get to know “the ice queen”. As they each try to prepare for races that will decide whether they make the next U.S. Olympic team, they tentatively get to know one another, their training techniques, and most importantly begin to build a friendship which promises more. But, can Elise trust herself to a “wild child” who has been known to love and leave them? Can Corey convince Elise that she’s changed her ways and to give her a chance? How will their individual competitive drives and goals affect their relationship, especially as they reach separate milestones in their lives?
The author of this book must have done a tremendous amount of research in training and competing in these two winter sports. A huge part of the story is how these two athletes train, prepare themselves, and compete. Even though Elise and Corey’s romance is a important part of the plot, it often takes a back seat to the separate issues facing them as athletes, as well as their relationships with their trainers, family, and friends. An interesting subplot involves a young 17 year old snowboarder who is challenging Corey’s reign, but who also hero worships her. Corey eventually takes Nikki under her wing and she, too, becomes a part of their posse, and a friend to Corey and Elise. The romance, itself, is rather low key through two-thirds of the book but heats up towards the end, when events begin to snowball – pardon the pun. To be honest, I had mix feelings about this story. I so appreciated all the research and time that went into the building of this world, but it is slow going in the beginning. When the relationships are highlighted – both the competitive ones, the friendships, and the romance – the story does take off, literally! (I especially enjoyed the Nikki character.) And, I also appreciated seeing how both characters work through the next steps in their careers, the conflicts that causes between them, and the romantic resolution. I’d give this story a B.
The Alphabet Variation Challenge – 7 down, 12 to go (A, D, E, G, H, M, S …)