More Than the Game

More Than the Game
by Jenni Bara

My review:

I started reading “More Than the Game” knowing it was a ‘fake relationship’ trope story. In reality, however, author Jenni Bara has created a book that is much more than that.  This is a story about the family that we are born into and the family that we choose for ourselves. It’s about how we don’t have to let the blood in our veins define who we are. And it’s about choosing love.

Beth is an Olympic gold medalist, a young widow, a mother, a sister, a friend, and a humanitarian.  Her father is a high-level career politician. When Beth was still a teenager she was embroiled in a huge, salacious scandal that almost completely severed her already shaky relationship with her father and his ‘family values’ political persona. Media attention at the time completely tore apart her life.

Marc had a very successful career as a pitcher in major league baseball.  Life experience (particularly witnessing the marriage of his parents), has taught him that there’s no such thing as happily ever after.  His image on social media is that of a party guy playboy, which has not bothered him at all – in fact, he welcomed it. Now, though, it’s hurting his chances of getting a non-playing job in baseball and that’s a big problem for him.

This book has a multilayered plot I certainly don’t want to spoil for you, but as you know from the book blurb, Beth and Marc end up paired off as a temporary solution to several problems after cameras catch them together. Beth needs to create certain optics to not damage her father’s current political campaign.  Marc needs to be seen as a more serious and reliable man. But what happens when feelings get involved … ?

There are lots of strong emotions in this story, balanced nicely by moments of passion, laughter, and fun. Secondary characters in the book are fantastic. They include the many brothers of Beth’s late husband, who she considers her own brothers. They also include her children with their great personalities, and her boyfriend from a long time ago, who happens to have a connection to Marc. Oh, and Marc’s agent and his wife are also excellent. Even the unlikable characters are depicted so clearly that you can practically see and hear them in your mind. Once I started reading this story, I couldn’t put it down, and I think that’s the biggest compliment I can give. It seems likely that we’re going to get books about the brothers, and I can’t wait!

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