Fair Play
Deirdre Martin
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Fair Play

Deirdre Martin
368 pages
February 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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A slow business and the looming prospect of being swallowed up by the bigger and badder Butler Corporation leaves Theresa Falconetti, half-owner of a PR firm, with no choice but to accept the job of promoting Danteís, an Italian restaurant in the very Brooklyn neighborhood where she grew up. Being there makes Theresa feel out of place and guilty for having left her traditional Italian heritage behind, a fact her family relentlessly points out. But the worse part is that she perforce has to work with the restaurantís half-owner, Michael Dante, winger for the Stanley Cup champion New York Blades.

While Mike makes it plain how much he likes her and pursues her ardently, Theresa cannot get beyond the fact of his profession, thanks to a traumatic incident in her past. With Mike refusing to take "no" for an answer and her family and friends alike rooting Mikeís cause, Theresa is torn between her past and present. Then another handsome and very eligible man enters her life, and the story seems to take a predictable bend. Or does it?

Deirdre Martin makes Fair Play feel authentic. From the traditional life in an Italian Brooklyn neighborhood to the fast and furious game of ice hockey, every incident is filled with local color and realistic details. Theresa is a woman deeply scarred by a horrific incident in her past, and her struggles to cope with it and grow beyond it are powerful and moving. During the course of the novel, she meets two very different men, and the resulting dilemma in which she finds herself will have readers on tenterhooks as they wait for her to make the right decision. Secondary characters are also full of verve and make valuable contributions to the story. Martin has done an excellent job of capturing a wide range of emotions and conflicts in this book and holding her readers enthralled throughout.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Rashmi Srinivas, 2004

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