Samantha Sharp is a football agent, and a very good one at that. She's worked hard to get to the top in a male oriented world, and it's finally paying off. However, when Sam is set up and her beloved career threatened, she's determined to clear her name and get to the bottom of who wants to destroy her life. She's also afraid that if her bosses dig hard enough, they're going to find out about something about Sam's past she has managed to keep hidden for a long time, and something that she doesn't want to come out. Is Samantha going to be able to fight for justice for herself, or is everything she's worked hard to build going to crumble down around her?
I've been looking forward to this book for a while now, and I was pleased to receive a copy of it from the publishers Penguin to review. I was intrigued about it... the blurb on the back and online doesn't really give anything away, and the cover is way too wishy washy for my liking, but still, we're always told not to judge a book by its cover. But in this case, it's not just the cover we mustn't judge by. The whole synopsis is quite misleading - it implies that this is a love story about a woman trying to succeed in her life, and win the heart of the man she loves, even though he might be dangerous. In reality, this is a book set in the world of football, it's agents and some rather shady Russians thrown into the mix too. Why the publishers feel it necessary to dupe their readers I don't know, but I would certainly have been more likely to pick this up had it got a stronger cover that actually represented the story inside, and a blurb that told me honestly what the book was about. The title is also very odd, again it has nothing to do with the book, and I think they could have titled it so much better to reflect the story itself. This doesn't detract from Alison Bond's fantastic story and writing, but I feel she's been let down by her publishers big time here.
Anyway, back to the story because that is what the review should primarily focus on. In terms of story, this is a fantastic read that I really didn't want to put down. I returned from a holiday to my parents to find this on my large pile of books sent to me during that week, and I picked it up to have a look at the style of writing and to see whether I'd like it. An hour later, I was a quarter of the way through and intrigued to read more, it was that good. I loved that it was set in the football world because that set it apart from most chick lit out there, and the character of Sam Sharp was one that I really liked straight from the beginning. It didn't take me long to get into this book, and I think it's going to be an absorbing read for anyone who picks up a copy.
I really enjoyed the approach the author has taken to this book. We're told everything about Sam, her past, the history with her brother, and what's happening with her career. The fun parts comes when we realise that the other characters in the book aren't privy to this information and we are just waiting for it all to fall apart around her. However, she's a great character who is strong enough to continue this story with ease, and I couldn't wait to read the next chapter to see if the people around Sam would find out her secrets. There were times when I wondered why she felt she had to hide everything as it's not something people usually do, but of course it wouldn't be the good story if everything was out in the open. She's a great character, and developed more as the book progressed, and near the close of the book, I didn't want it to end because it would mean leaving Sam behind.
I'm not a huge fan of football by any means, I'll probably only watch the World Cup if there's nothing else on at the time yet this didn't hamper my enjoyment of this book at all. In fact, I found it quite interesting to read about being a football agent because I had no idea about that sort of thing, and Bond writes about it in a way that is very easy to understand and certainly doesn't put the reader off with any detail that isn't necessary. The other characters in the book were great too, I really enjoyed Sam's boss and sometime boyfriend , and also the lovely Ukranian character who was just fabulous and perfect I loved him! He certainly added a new element to the book, and was a great inclusion.
Overall, this is a fantastic book that I feel has been massively let down by its cover and lack of substance to its blurb on the back. Why the publishers feel it necessary to hide the fact the book is about football is beyond me - it's actually slightly patronising that they feel that, like its only men that could like football. Also, the cover is nice enough but doesn't in any way fit in with the plot of the book, and is again totally misleading. The writing itself is fantastic, Bond has done a great job of creating a very readable story with characters I really liked reading about, and I think the story itself is definitely worth a 5/5. However, because of the other factors which made me have a negative feel towards the book, I can only award this a 4, which is such a shame. Please do pick this book up though, and don't be put off the cover and blurb!
ISBN: 978-0141026817. Published by Penguin in May 2010. Pages: 448. RRP: £6.99.
Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.
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