The Long Season, by Michael Vance Gurley
Publisher: Bold Stroke Books
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
In Roaring Twenties Chicago, eighteen-year-old farm boy and hockey hopeful Brett Bennet is drafted to the big leagues of the city’s first ever team. His deepest secret catches fire when he meets the dashing but reclusive goalie, Jean-Paul Moreau. As they circle one another finding out who they truly are, their lives are changed in ways neither can control.
Brett will need the help of freewheeling flapper Margret to find a way to break through Jean-Paul’s ice, and to navigate the high stakes world of professional sports from the opening game through to the championship. Only together do they have a hope of facing the deadly threat of a man who can bring it all down with one word.
Sports Romance (Hockey)
Fair warning to y’all before you get this book: it is very hockey heavy and is extremely slow to get to the romance.
I am very torn about how to review this book. As a novel/work of fiction I really enjoyed it. You can 100% tell that Gurley did his research. However as a romance I don’t know if it really worked for me.
The biggest problem for me, in the romance department, was that Brett and Jean-Paul didn’t really have any chemistry or sexual tension. It seemed more like a romance of convenience than one of either lust or love.
Brett ends up becoming the whiny, clingy, gay n00b and Jean-Paul is the special, sexually-experienced bad boy. Jean-Paul’s friend Margaret was great for the most part, but there wasn’t really enough character development all around in my opinion. The added characters seemed to be plot catalysts more than real people sometimes. It got kind of cluttered at certain points.
It was weird that Brett never really hung out with the other teammates. He came over with his best friend, Mickey MacKay, but then they only really saw each other on the ice. There was a reason given as to why but it seemed shallow given Brett’s relationship with Jean-Paul, a notorious troublemaker. Why hang out with one troublemaker while judging someone else’s habits that were less intense? Meh.
If you read this as a regular work of fiction it works really well though. Michael did his research and we get a good look into life in 1920s Chicago and the hockey and gay scenes of the time. I actually would have liked the book a lot better if he would have cut out the romance with Jean-Paul and made Brett just hanging out with him and Margaret getting into shenanigans. The romance mostly seemed forced and kind of ruined the flow of the book for me.
Michael was born in a Chicago hospital that was quickly condemned and torn down. He grew up and worked in the shadow of Capone’s house in a union hall, where he first discovered a love of gangsters and the Roaring Twenties. Being an avid hockey fan led him to kissing the Stanley Cup, and as an ardent traveler, he kissed the Blarney Stone, both of which are unsanitary and from which he’s lucky to only have received the gift of gab.
Find out more about the author and his books over at Bold Stroke Books (Click here!)
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.