When falling in love comes with the risk of falling flat on your face …
Former Olympic skating champion Katie Saunders is well known for her ‘ice queen’ persona in the press. On the face of it, perhaps Katie should have forgiven her former skating partner and ex-boyfriend, Alex Michaelson, for the accident that shattered both her ankle and their Olympic dreams – but she just can’t seem to let it go.
When Katie reluctantly agrees to take part in a new TV skating show, it’s only because she’s desperate for cash. What she didn’t count on is the drama – not only is she partnered up with infamous love-rat rugby player Jamie Welsh, but one of the judges is none other than Alex Michaelson himself.
As the show progresses, will Katie be shown the hard way, once again, that romance on the ice should remain strictly off-limits?
Titles in the Spotlight series includes — Strictly on Ice – Celebrity SOS: Love Survives –
Title: Strictly on Ice
Series: Spotlight #1
Author: Helen Buckley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: March 9, 2021
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Don’t be sidetracked by the lovely cover or the idea of an ice skating/ice dance competition show – Strictly on Ice packs a powerful, long-lasting emotional punch as we discover the reality behind the headlines of these two formerly famous (now infamous) sports professionals. Katie was on her way to a probable Olympic Gold medal along with her boyfriend and partner, Alex. But that was before the fall that ended Katie’s dreams and her career. She has blamed Alex for the accident and has never spoken to him from that disastrous moment onward. Jamie was riding high on the anticipation of a major rugby game the next day and let himself get so caught up in the moment the night before that one mistake would cost him everything. He’s lost his wife and his career.
Each agrees to go on the reality show for slightly different reasons, and neither expected what would develop between them.
Strictly on Ice is so many things wrapped up in one story. A romance, yes, but also a look into the darker side of sports the one beyond all the sparkly glitz that the public sees on competition day. And also, another look at just how badly the media can spin nothing into something that can destroy lives. I think if you pick up this book thinking you’re getting a nice little romantic adventure then you’re going to be gobsmacked rather quickly.
Katie and Jamie are real people in the sense that I’m sure we all can look at a celebrity we think we know all about because of the press… but the reality is far, far different. They have dealt with what happened to them in their own personal coping manner – neither is right nor wrong, it just is their way. As we continue through Strictly on Ice we’ll have the story of their developing relationship and the current competition… but we’ll also get (towards the end of that same chapter) a flashback look at what brought them to this place, Katie’s devotion to the ice above everything else and Jamie’s reality vs the media coverage. We’ll get to see what really happened slowly, surely until it all clicks together.
I, frankly, devoured this story in one night. It’s eye-opening at times, hopeful at other times, and filled with possibilities for the future. I think this story will surprise many readers, perhaps open a few eyes to the world behind the sport they love watching. There are very real issues discussed within this story, some will break your heart. Yet that only made Katie’s and Jamie’s journey more realistic, believable, and gave us the chance to have a bit of empathy for them. I enjoyed myself in this world very much. I hope you’ll take a chance on their romance, you’ll be surprised but you’ll also love every moment spent in their world – even the difficult ones.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available in audio or for your favorite e-reader
This definitely sounds like its a heartfelt read that showcases the reality of these sports. Happy to see it was represented so well.
I’ll admit to being surprised at the depth… in a very good way. Knowing now, for example, how far different Princess Diana’s life was from her reality and the press coverage was very close to my mind while reading parts of this story. As observers, we’ll rarely know the absolute facts – and sometimes those pesky details matter very much. I enjoyed my time in that world and would definitely recommend it.