Title : Match Maker
Author : Alan Chin
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 344 pages (e-book)
Published : December 6, 2010
In the four years since being forced off the professional tour for being gay, Daniel Bottega has taught tennis at a second-rate country club. He found a sanctuary to hide from an unkind world, while his lover, Jared Stoderling, fought a losing battle with alcohol addiction to cope with his disappointment of not playing on the pro circuit.
Now Daniel has another chance at the tour by coaching tennis prodigy Connor Lin to a Grand Slam championship win. He shares his chance with Jared by convincing him to return to the pro circuit as Connor’s doubles partner.
Competing on the world tour is challenging enough, but Daniel and Jared also face major media attention, political fallout from the pro association, and a shocking amount of hate that threatens Connor’s career in tennis, Jared’s love for Daniel, and Daniel’s very life.
This is a book that I urge everyone to read. Seldom have I read a book that weaves so many elements together this seamlessly and evocatively. I am purposely going to avoid detail in this review. This story turned out to be so much more than I expected, and I’d love for everyone to experience it as fresh minded as possible. 🙂
What grabbed me first with this story was the narrative. The story is told by Daniel in a fairly gentle, matter- of- fact, and highly effective manner and pace. The story centers on Daniel and Jared, their relationship, and their re-emergence into the world of professional tennis. It is also so much, much more. Several key characters are introduced, and the reader becomes well acquainted with them all. Many types of relationships develop among the cast of characters: romance, friendship, professional, familial, you name it. The relationships are all budding and blossoming, or crashing and burning, against a backdrop of high stress, anxiety and more than a little bit of difference of opinion and beliefs. Following everyone on the journey of getting it all sorted, is a real treat.
The title can be considered a metaphor. Sure, the story revolves around the world of tennis, but that is just the backdrop. There’s a deeper message here. Many of the characters paired up in the story, be it professionally, platonically or romantically. They all had to work on those relationships while dealing with all that life was dishing out. And life was dishing out an awful lot!! This is a journey of the heart as well as a journey across the globe. As the story unfolded, I found myself wondering why more time wasn’t being spent exploring certain elements – the drinking, the disability, the taboo physical attractions. There were also several instances that had me worried (I was hoping not to be doing the eye-roll about some character’s actions) only to have these instances dispel without further comment.
What I realized is… this is great writing, keeping the reader engaged and guessing at the outcome. Ultimately, the heart of this story is believing in oneself, of seeking help and guidance from others, of overcoming adversity and injustice, and of working together toward a common goal. If it sounds cliché, don’t let that scare you away. As I have said, the writing is amazing, the characters will all (well, maybe not all 😉 ) have you cheering for them. You may even end up joining in the stadium sing along to “We Are Family”. I did. 🙂
This was my first book by Alan Chin. It definitely will not be the last!
Rated 5 stars by Dianne