THE ENTERTAINMENT CRITIC BOOK REVIEW, BY JAMES MYERS
By Leslie Carroll
Published by Avon A, an Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Publication Date: January 22, 2008
Four Star Rating ****
NATIVE NEW YORKER LESLIE CARROLL IS A MULTI-PUBLISHED NOVELIST OF CONTEMPORARY WOMEN'S FICTION, AND THE AUTHOR OF SEVERAL WORKS OF HISTORICAL FICTION UNDER THE PEN NAME AMANDA ELYOT. SHE IS ALSO A PROFESSIONAL ACTRESS, DRAMATIST, AND JOURNALIST.
“The Men rose to leave; Cap Gaines waited until the sound proof glass door had shut behind them with a sharp click. The bright room suddenly felt claustrophobic. I was certain Cap was about to tell me the young woman was Augie’s late-in-life by-blow, preserving her dignity by sharing this information with me privately, well outside of the Cheers guys’ earshot.
‘Ms. deMarley, I would like to introduce you to Sophie Ashe. Ms Ashe has reason to believe that she is your daughter.’
Olivia de Marley is in love and about to get married. Her life seems set and stable. Fate intervenes, and her life is changed forever. Her estranged father dies, leaving Olivia with his prized possession, a minor league baseball team called the Bronx Cheers, and a daughter, Sophie, that she gave up for adoption 20 years before. She could loose both unless she “closes the circle.” Her engagement fails as a result of her new responsibilities, but she makes a conscious choice to spend time with Sophie and get to know her better, as well as running the day to day operations of a failing and loosing minor league franchise.
Olivia is a girly-girl; Sophie is a tom-boy and a softball ace. The story revolves around Olivia’s struggles to maintain a relationship with both her daughter and the team. Olivia’s ideas to bolster her team are a bit unusual (raspberry pink uniforms). Like other explorations in to the minor, this book came as a refreshing surprise. It is a very funny, warm touching book. The book reminded me of Bull Durham or Major League.
Like the Barbara Streisand film The Main Event, where she is a fragrance manufacturer who ends up running a fighter, there just are some things in fashion that don’t fit in baseball. The relationship with her daughter goes a little better than that. Overall, this is a very good effort by Leslie Carroll. A good book, a promising young writer, and a quirky plot make this one a fun read.