Love is the biggest prize of all.
For over a decade, world-champion figure skaters Katie Nowacki and Brendan Reid have been partners in every way but one. But now that their electric on-ice chemistry has led them to Olympic gold, they're retiring from competition
As they cross America on an exhibition tour with their fellow athletes, Katie and Brendan's always volatile relationship becomes more turbulent than ever as they face down the media, their fans, and their increasingly nosy teammates
When Katie realizes she wants to go back to the farm she grew up on, leaving Brendan behind in the city where they trained, their fairy tale seems destined to end.
But will Brendan be able to convince her to trust him with the off-ice intimacy that only spelled disaster in their past?
McRae and Maltese (A Queen from the North) falter slightly with the tale of figure skaters Katie Nowacki and Brendan Reid, who win Olympic gold and then try to figure out what comes next in their lives. After a failed attempt at a romance years earlier, the skaters try to limit their sexual chemistry to the ice. Brendan's game for another relationship try during a post-Olympic tour, but Katie isn't so sure. When the authors attempt to show Katie's vulnerability and flaws, she comes off as a neurotic, mercurial jerk who drives her steady, reliable partner crazy with her blame games. After Katie's knee is hurt and she opts to flee New York and a series of business meetings rather than disclose the injury, readers will question why Brendan is even trying to forge a relationship with her. But Katie redeems herself somewhat while working with Brendan on her family farm and realizes that he is a steady partner in more ways than one. The figure skating details feel authentic, but the plot skims the surface of emotion. This ice needs a bit more fire. (BookLife)
What must it be like to spend your whole life—every waking moment—focused on reaching one monumental goal….only to achieve it and then realize, “Now what?” Because somehow life does continue even though you no longer have a plan. Maltese and McRae have written an extremely well-crafted novel about what it means to be ambitious, have anxiety (in general and about “what now” specifically), and attempting to navigate relationships when everything seems messy and upside-down. After the Gold is a fast-paced story with fleshed out characters who are just trying to figure how what the future holds AFTER. I love all the rough edges, insecurities, and bumps in this book—because isn’t that what life is about, even if you haven’t just won an Olympic Gold medal.
Touching, heartfelt story of two driven athletes
A fast-paced, deeply emotional tale of two people who don't know what they want for the future — and yet, know they can't live without each other.
I've never read a skating romance before, and sports romances normally aren't my thing. But McRae and Maltese have written an accessible, witty and highly engaging book that's a peek backstage into the world of high stakes, Olympic ice skating.
Like most of the world, I've watched some skating, and I've admired the athletes' focus, grace and sensuality. That focus is captured in After the Gold — the authors don't gloss over the details, and provide full, well-rounded characters that are clearly in top form, both mentally and physically. It's a joy to read about such competent characters. No cardboard cutouts here.
But the novel also goes deeper, asking the question: what happens when a two-person team of athletes in the public eye are at the pinnacle of their success, but can no longer continue in their sport? It's a fascinating and tender look at obsession and anxiety, of competition, and love — both for the sport, and for each other.
I devoured this in a day.