Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review: "A Great Catch" by Lorna Seilstad

Summary from BN.com: It is the beginning of a new century at Lake Manawa Resort in Iowa, but some things never change. When 22-year-old Emily Graham's meddlesome aunts and grandmother take it upon themselves to find her a husband among the resort guests, the spunky suffragist is determined to politely decline each and every suitor. She has neither the time nor the need for a man in her busy life.

Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer at Lake Manawa, Iowa, before he is forced into the straitlaced business world of his father.

When Emily crashes into Carter at a roller skating rink, neither could guess what would come next. Will Carter strike out? Or will Emily cast her vote for a love that might cost her dreams?

I brought this book to me to a recent church retreat and when I was asked what it was about my answer always was: Baseball and Women's suffrage. An unlike combination that you wouldn't expect but it actually works in this story. I was thrilled to read about women playing baseball. You don’t often hear too much of women playing baseball in general, it’s always about softball for the females. There's the whole "A League of Their Own" thing that happened during WWII, but you don't hear much about women and baseball before that. In fact I had never heard about the Bloomer Girls teams until this book. I found it absolutely fascinating since I love discovering these types of stories in US history. I really enjoyed seeing Emily take part in learning about the game and how it helped to develop her relationship with Carter.

If you know me, then you know that I'm not a big romance fan. For me to enjoy a story with romance (as opposed to a romance story) there needs to be lots of chemistry without cheesy dialogue or unrealistic actions performed by the characters. Unfortunately while Carter and Emily seem like a good fit, I felt the chemistry to be a bit off. I think it mainly had to do with the familiar story device of having characters keep things from each other which leads to suspicion. As I usually say, a lot of unnecessary drama could have been avoided if people had just been open about things. Also, I do wish that Emily hadn’t been portrayed as being clumsy all the time. While I’m clumsy myself, it’s not really a trait I’d like to see in a strong heroine. I felt that in order to present someone who is a good representative of women’s suffrage and equal opportunity in baseball, they should have been shown as not having to rely on a man so much to keep them in line with their beliefs.

Still, overall this is a cute historical read. I really like the cover and the design of the dress. It's a subtle way to include baseball and fashion together. If you haven't read the first book yet, don't worry. Even though characters from that book do make appearances, this book can be read completely as a standalone. This series is rather light but it's fun so I'll be looking forward to the next volume in it.

A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other books in the Lake Manawa Summer series that I've reviewed:

Making Waves (Book 1)

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