34. PLAYING IT CLOSE, BY KAT LATHAM (Book 2 of London Legends)
Yet another re-read. I bought this along with Playing It Close, in a bundle. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have bought it if they had been separated and I had only the first one as recommendation. She did talk about rugby in the first, which was what interested me, but I didn’t like it so much as to become a fan of the series. This is the one that got me.
Synopsis: Tess is trying to get a break from a scandal at work. Liam needs some time apart from rugby to try and come to terms with his mother’s death. They both meet in Venezuela, and, even though Tess recognizes him immediately, she decides to let him keep his anonymity. Once their summer affair is over, Tess is offered a job working as a sponsor for Liam’s team. She can’t afford to refuse it, so they have to find a way to work together.
Overall enjoyment: I like Liam a lot better than I liked Spencer. On the other hand, there were a lot of similarities between this book and the first that maybe prevented me from enjoying it fully. I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn’t read the first (but then, I’m incapable of doing it; I always have to read series in the order the books were published).
Plot: Not very original, but that’s not a problem, in my opinion. Most romances follow the same line: they meet, they want to be together, they can’t for some reason, they work out their problems, they end up together. I also really don’t mind tropes, as long as they’re well done, and they were well done in this book (in my opinion, of course).
Characters: Like I said, Liam is a lot more likable than Spencer. I liked Tess a lot, too. It was nice to see how they are, in fact, very different characters than the ones in the first book. In this kind of series, it’s very usual to see the author re-writing the same book over and over, just changing the names; this is not the case. However, there are a few repetitions in theme that are a bit tiresome: namely, the fact that both Liam and Spencer dated lots of supermodels and groupies before meeting their counterparts, and that both Tess and Caitlyn had very low self-esteem when it came to their looks, even if for different reasons. Also, the repetition of the “angry ex” motif, and the women having to compete for the men.
World/setting: I mentioned it in my review of Keeping It Close, but I quite like how she writes about rugby. She doesn’t just happen to have a character that plays, she includes the sport in the narrative. Considering the biggest reason why I read these books is because of my love for the sport, that’s a big plus.
Writing style: Very pleasant to read.
Representation: There is an attempt, but it falls very short. I can’t help but think she could have done better than one paragraph containing a colored child and Liam asking Tess if she likes girls.
Political correctness: This was a lot less misogynistic than Keeping It Close, with Tess complaining about the sexism she suffers at her old job and calling other people (including Liam) out when they are sexist. But there’s very little representation, and she’s downright transphobic when she says that girls are born with a vagina.
One last thing: from a few comments I’ve had from the people I’ve recommended this book (not the XVettes, of course), I gather that people don’t know about this, but the calendar she mentions is very much real. It’s called Les Dieux du Stade, it is done every year, and it has sexy pictures of players from Stade Français, a French team. Here’s an example (hidden under spoiler alert because it's NSFW):
Up next: The Three, by Sarah Lotz