A contemporary romance about a buttoned-up English professor who falls for her polar opposite, the football coach.
Anna Jeffries, a quiet, humble Shakespeare aficionado, has always been most comfortable inside her own head. She teaches a class on the Bard at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is fighting for a tenured position. Her newest crop of students includes one of the school’s most promising football players. Unfortunately, the guy is self-conscious in Anna’s highbrow class, and he’s not doing well thanks to his reluctance to participate. His coach, Dane Spivac, seeks Anna out in the faculty lounge, hoping to intervene on the player’s behalf. Anna and Dane take an immediate dislike to each other. She sees a snarky jock, and he sees a pedantic snob. After their contentious meeting, however, neither can forget about the other. Anna and Dane cross paths over and over again, arguing anew each time and driving each other crazy. As they work together to help to nurture their student, Anna and Dane slowly begin to acknowledge their attraction and appreciation for each other. When Dane finally makes a grand gesture to declare his devotion, his actions have the unfortunate side effect of angering the tenure committee, jeopardizing Anna’s career and rendering her relationship with Dane even more tenuous. As Ewens (Vacancy: A Love Story, 2016, etc.) depicts Dane and Anna dancing in circles around each other, she also fills her pages with humor, playful dialogue, and copious, but well-placed, references to Shakespeare plays. The narrative is fast-paced and accessible, with many deeply touching and unexpected scenes about loss and emotional health. As Ewens toggles between the ivory tower and the college football field, a few moments become clichéd. Even so, the romance that builds between Anna and Dane is sufficiently suspenseful and nuanced that readers will continue turning pages with glee.
A wholesome tale about playing football, taking chances, making the grade, and sometimes even wearing a little glitter.