Saturday, November 13, 2010

Match Maker




Title: Match Maker
Author: Alan Chin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
ISBN: 978-1-61581-588-3
Rating: Recommended Read
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Four year ago, tennis and life partners Daniel Bottega and Jared Stoderling had their sexual orientation became public knowledge, forcing them off the professional tennis circuit. Daniel now teaches tennis at a second rate country club, while Jared spends most of his time dealing with his overwhelming disappointment by drinking too much. The pain, frustration and discontent of their lives is putting a terrible strain on their decade’s long relationship, and Daniel isn’t certain it will survive.

The lives of both men takes on a sudden change when Daniel is given the opportunity of coaching a young tennis prodigy, Connor Lin, for the upcoming Grand Slam competition, and he takes Jared along as Connor’s doubles partner. Getting back on the circuit does several things to the couple. It opens their relationship up to media scrutiny, results in rumors that Connor is also gay and exposes the trio to unfair bias by homophobic judges and gets them numerous threats of violence. Most importantly, it leads to a return of Daniel and Jared’s competitive spirit that serves them well as they advance higher through the rankings.

Through all the strife, the three struggles past each new obstacle, every one capable of destroying their championship dream. Then the worst possible thing happens and a unsympathetic tennis association official’s security inaction puts them in danger and Daniel nearly pays with his life.

Match Maker is the first book by Alan Chin that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and it won’t be my last. In fact, I’ll be making a concerted effort on finding others he’s written and watch for new releases.

I have to admit that sports aren’t my thing - far from it - but that didn’t stop me from being fascinated by the blurb for this contemporary M/M romance. While I might be sports-knowledge-challenged, it’s apparent immediately that Mr. Chin doesn’t have that same problem. He knows his tennis and he’s not afraid to use the information, peppering the story with technical terms, coaching styles and the stress of traveling and competing on the national and international level. To this, he’s added two great three-dimensional characters in Daniel and Jared - long term lovers struggling to make a happy life in the face of homophobia and bigotry induced disappointment. With creativity and flair, he’s blended these components together with beautifully described locales and interesting secondary characters and turned the whole into a realistic and gripping story that I couldn’t put down.

I really can’t say enough good things about this vividly described and well-written and well-plotted story. It’s an alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming story that has won a spot in my keeper file. Give this one a try. You won’t be sorry you did. Read and enjoy! I most certainly did.

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