Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
Let’s begin this review with what Meghan Quinn’s The Strike Out isn’t. It isn’t a romance where the hero and heroine fall in love and then find themselves separated for years, feeling the hurt of that separation before reconciling and living happily ever after. It isn’t a disappointed hero who meets an independent, feisty baseball guru of a heroine who helps him overcome the challenges of his baseball playing. It isn’t about a care-giving, home-building baseball and a heroine with a secret crush. It’s isn’t a baseball player and his best friend falling madly for each other and having that disrupted by the baseball player’s feelings of inadequacies. And it isn’t about a traded baseball player and the conflict of falling in love with a girl who is forbidden. It also isn’t about two baseball players turned high school phys ed teachers, one who loves his baby mama and the other whose story is yet to be told.
What this story is, however, is a story about one of my favoritest of favorite Quinn heroes and his tenacity in breaking down the walls of a relationship reticent heroine. I’ve loved Quinn’s Brentwood University baseball players, but her characterization of Holt Green in The Strike Out tops the rest. Holt is the type of hero that you can’t help but love because he’s sweet, inappropriate, mostly emotionally-mature, tenacious, and patient. Yes, he has his foibles: he is wildly possessive over his heroine and he makes some choices that put his health in danger. Yet, even when he’s struggling in his relationship, he is so darn sweet that you can’t help but swoon. Holt Green stole my heart in this story, and I couldn’t stop reading it because it made me feel good…and that’s all you can ask for with romance.
This story is also about a heroine, Harmony (how much do you love the alliterative couple name: Holt and Harmony), who has big dreams, she wants fame, but fame costs…oops, I devolved into a Fame quote. But she really does want to transcend her lower middle-class, predictable past with an eventual exciting career in the big city. She’s a journalist, she sits on the lower socio-economic scale, and she has had to work hard for her college education. She doesn’t need a relationship to derail her goals, and Holt Green is wealthy, seemingly privileged, and an athlete. However, as Holt begins to chisel at her emotional walls, she begins to see his perseverance and pursuit of her as his way of love. When she stops judging Holt for his family and their wealth, she realizes quickly that he is a dream of a man. Once she accepts the goodness of Holt Green, their relationship progresses quickly. As you read the story, you keep waiting for the climax, the moment when all romances fall apart. You honestly don’t really see it coming because it happens late in the story. Instead, Meghan Quinn treats her readers to this almost fully formed relationship from early in her book, and it’s strange to read a romance where the couple is so adorable for much of the story. It’s possible that I’ve been reading quite a bit of angsty contemporary romance as of late, so that’s why it caught me by surprise. But it was quite lovely to read a romance where the couple’s struggle is overshadowed by their big love. In fact, it made it the highlight of the book.
I love me a sports romance, and Meghan Quinn’s Brentwood University baseball players have provided me many hours of delicious sports romance. Holt Green and Harmony Styles are no different in Quinn’s The Strike Out. If you picked up the first part of their story in the Team Player 2 Anthology, and you wanted more, well, Meghan Quinn did right by them. The Strike Out is one of the sweetest books I’ve read in a long time.
In love and romance,