Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Golf is a lot like love, I think. If it isn’t making you a little nuts, is it even real? Passion — good or bad, is how you can gauge what’s really important to people.”
I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to tell you all of the reasons why you should read Rebecca Jenshak’s Sweet Spot. There are many, and it’s made it a bit of a chore to put this review together because I love to go deeper in my reviews to the heart of the book and how all of its writing parts make for a splendid read. I think for this review I’d like to focus on feelings because it’s the feelings that explain why this book is so good. But let me backtrack and give you a little overview.
One of Rebecca Jenshak’s PAs reached out to me about a year ago wondering if I’d like to read one of Jenshak’s books. I was a newer blogger/reviewer so I jumped at the chance. Plus the book was a sports romance centered around basketball, college basketball to be specific. That book landed me in the “sweet spot” of Jenshak’s books. I fell in love with Wes, the hero of The Assist. From there, I became an adorer of Jenshak, reading Electric Blue Love, The Fadeaway, The Tipoff, and The Fake. Honestly, each new book showcased Jenshak’s ability to create a story that pulls you into her books. And each new book felt like a more improved version of Jenshak herself. Yes, I loved Wes’s book, but the more Jenshak has written, the more her books have developed. That, right there, is the reason that writing is so powerful.
When Jenshak announced the Sweet Spot, I, of course, knew I was going to read this book. I love her brand of romance, but this one intrigued me because, while still set in the Valley U universe, the sport is golf. I’m not sure because I’m still building my knowledge of romance, but I haven’t read too many golf romances. Even more, the heroine is the college golfer, and the hero, Lincoln, is quite a bit older. It would be unfair to say that Lincoln is only a swing coach. We’ve actually been introduced to him previously in the Smart Jocks novels, something I didn’t realize before going into the book. That is where my excitement began. Jenshak shows us quite easily that she’s invested in her book universe. While we aren’t on the court this time, we are still connected to her other books. And I love that.
The second point of excitement lies in her heroine, Keira. Keira personifies feminine strength. It is through her words where we are challenged about Title IX issues with women’s sports. It is in her actions where we see a passion for her game come to life, and we recognize the injustices against her, made by her coach. Keira is the impetus for Lincoln’s personal growth, and Jenshak gives her a steadfastness of character even in the face of pain. Honestly, it would be easy to say that this story is “made” with Jenshak’s handsome hero, but the grit of this story lies with Jenshak’s characterization of Keira. She is unlike Jenshak’s other heroines which is a lovely surprise.
Now, when I made the comment above about Lincoln, it is not meant to disparage his character development. Not at all. Lincoln’s journey is the message of the Sweet Spot. You see, Lincoln is living a life of existence; he’s not living an abundant life. He is a successful business owner who is hiding form relationships due to his past. To borrow from Jenshak’s title, while he believes his life exists in the “sweet spot” because his business is growing and exponentially successful; it is far from it. When Lincoln meets Keira and begins to help her with her golf game, Lincoln comes to life again. He moves closer to the sweet spot of living. Yet, as every successful romance has, there are always complications, and those complications exist with Lincoln. Jenshak uses his characterization to complicate his burgeoning relationship with Keira. Without Lincoln, there is no big pay-off/happy ending. His evolution entwines with Keira’s strength of character creating the “sweet spot” of this book.
And lastly, one of my favorite parts of Jenshak’s writing is her pacing. I flew through this book. Lately, I’ve been reading romances where I felt trapped in the story because the writer’s pacing is sluggish. It is only through diligence and perseverance that I escape to the better parts of the story. Not with Jenshak. She builds each moment in such a cohesive and enterprising way that she eases you through her story. Her romance isn’t an easy one; instead, her pacing drives you forward. Before I knew it, I had begun and finished her book in one big bite.
Additionally, Lincoln’s grandmother is a TREASURE in this story. When the story felt heavy, Jenshak inserts Gram to provide some levity. When Lincoln is being too hard on himself, Gram is there to dispense wisdom. When Keira is a little broken, Jenshak inserts Gram to help Keira know herself. I love when grandparents make their way into a book. Jenshak’s incorporation of her into the Sweet Spot offers the right balance between humor and wisdom.
Sweet Spot is a compilation of the best parts of romance: an insightful, strong heroine, a hero who needs a strong heroine to remind him how to live an abundant life, a couple of ancillary characters who lighten the story, and a message, which makes that connection to the reader. This book is a reminder that a life lived without passion is meaningless. Instead, we need to be on fire for something and let our passions light the passions in others.
In love and romance,