Monday, August 29, 2022

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto, aka The Battle-Axe, was the best female tennis player of all time when she retired in the late 80s. But 6 years later, during the 1994 US Open, she watches Nicki Chan equal her 20 Grand Slam titles record. Carrie refuses to give up her legacy without a fight and decides to come out of retirement at 37 to reclaim her record. There's many hurdles to overcome: old injuries, being coached again by her father Javier (who she ditched at the height of career) and training with Bowe Huntley, who previously ghosted her romantically. Can Carrie beat the odds and succeed?

This is book 4 from Taylor Jenkins Reid set in the same universe of fictionally famous people. Book one was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, then Daisy Jones and The Six and finally last year's Malibu Rising. It's in this book we're briefly introduced to Carrie Soto. Carrie is a formidable character, cold and ruthless as an athlete  and the reason why she earned her title 'The Battle-Axe'. Her only friends are her father and her agent Gwen. But even though she's not very likeable, I did feel for Carrie and root for her. She shows moments of vulnerability and a portion of this book deals with that it's like to be a female athlete. The boxes you get put into, the sexism and condescension you deal with. Carrie has put a wall around herself to protect these vulnerabilities, which in turn makes her look like an icy bitch. It's the price she pays for her success. 

There's a lot of tennis in this book. Don't worry if you know nothing, it is explained at the beginning through Carrie's coaching as a child. As someone who likes tennis, I enjoyed this part of the book as I can sense the atmosphere and excitement of the court. But the book is mainly about Carrie's relationships: with her father, with Bowe Huntley, with her rivals. One thing TJR does so well in these books is making you believe these people are famous and wanting to look them up and Carrie Soto is Back was no exception!

Taylor Jenkins Reid has served another smashing read, perfect to round out the summer. If you've loved other TJR books then you'll enjoy this one too

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce Book Review

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce is a follow up novel to Dear Mrs Bird and picks up back in World War II London with Emmy Lake, who works for Woman's Friend magazine. The Ministry of Information has tasked the women's magazines of Britain to promote women workers for the war effort, something Emmy is thrilled to take part of and promote. However when Emmy and her friend Bunty are on a train one day, they start chatting to a young single mother and they discover that the reality of women working is a lot harder than Emmy expected. This leaves her torn as she feels it is her duty to encourage women to work but she feels guilty that she can't be one hundred percent honest about the realities. Can Emmy find the balance between being patriotic and also being a supportive friend?

I enjoyed this book just like I did the first book. They are a tonic, full of pep and jolliness, even when there are some harder storylines being tackled. This was an easy going read, though at times it did feel a bit slow and dragged more than the first book. We don't see any of Emmy's work at the fire station in this book, it mainly concentrates on her role in Woman's Friend, as well as her friendships and her relationship with her boyfriend Charles. I liked the setting and seeing a more female focused view of World War II and the realities that these women faced at home and in the workplace. A charming, if not almost overly sweet at times, story.

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