Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Play For Me by Libby Hubscher
Published by Berkley on June 20, 2023
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
When her new job takes her to a New England boarding school, she’s surprised to find her roommates are all men – including a very handsome one who plays by his own rules.
Sophie Doyle has her dream job as the head athletic trainer for her favorite baseball team (go Red Sox!), a handsome boyfriend, and easy access to the finest cannoli in Boston. When she loses all three and the World Series to boot, she’s forced to apply for the open trainer position at an arts-focused boarding school in New Hampshire. The only available room is a glorified closet in an apartment with three guys: Jonas Voss, the aloof and attractive orchestra teacher, and his two rambunctious roommates.
Sophie knows that training a bunch of privileged high school kids whose idea of a play is A Chorus Line instead of a walk-off homer is going to be a big change from the pro athletes she’s used to. She wasn’t expecting that these students would have big-time talent and even bigger-time problems. Sophie has troubles of her own—Jonas is a full-fledged grump who clearly doesn’t want her near him or the precious piano he never plays.
With sunny optimism, Sophie sets out to win over Jonas and help the kids she’s growing attached to. But when her relationship with Jonas moves to the major leagues and plans change at the end of the season, they have to choose whether they are playing for keeps
Music and Sports in a boarding school setting? Of course, I had to read it. I was delighted to plunge in to a new to me author’s debut for what looked like a lightly sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance.
Sophie Doyle is at her lowest when she arrives as the new athletic trainer at a boarding school in New Hampshire after staring in most Boston Red Sox fans and organization’s hall of shame. She feels like she has let down her dad who she couldn’t help, but was so proud of her making the pros. She had to see him sell their house and move into a home. There’s no way she can tell him the truth of getting fired from her pro trainer job with the Sox.
Now, she’s staying in a faculty apartment and the music instructor, Jonas Voss, with his starchy manners and British accent and The Rule about touching his piano is none too pleased about having her only separated from him by a wall. For him, it’s about the music with the kids and she’s about the sports. Oil and water, right?
Its possible Play For Me was the right book at the right time because of how much it resonated with me. I absolutely loved it. I was cheering for Sophie and Jonas and bought into their personal comebacks and their slow burn romance. Jonas’ past with his parents broke my heart especially since Sophie had such a great and supportive dad and a ‘ride or die’ bestie in Astrid. I melted each time her dad called her ‘Sunny’ and when Jonas made up his own version of ‘Tessie’ and played it for her.
This gently paced character-driven romance touched on some important issues that students with more than one talent face, the pressure of performing at optimal level for people like Sophie and Jonas in their separate careers, but also, sadly, when a child is practically abused like Jonas was to further a parents’ ambitions. This was a great summer read- any time read, really, that I can recommend to contemporary romance fans.
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