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