The Race, Alice Ward

The Race by [Ward, Alice]

The chance of a lifetime or the love of a lifetime?  Sometimes we dream of having both but circumstances force us to choose.  But what if the choice for love opens the door for the chance?  If Emma and Locke both lack the courage to go balls to the wall to create the future they want they'll never know.

Emma is a fierce competitor.  But because she's a woman she was forced to take a back seat to her older brother on the track.  Their relationship suffered a bit because of the jealousy and animosity that simmered underneath the acceptance and support for a good friend that happened to be her closest sibling.  I was frustrated with their dynamic from the beginning and never warmed up to their supposed friendship.  His jealousy for her situation is understandable but maybe he should have taken a look at how she felt her entire life being forced to support him despite being just as good if not better behind the wheel than him but because she was born second, and a woman, she had to play support cast to him for years.  And his treatment of her when Emma and Locke were caught being intimate?  Total dick move.  Like, supremely disappointing.  And then his other unacceptable move during her qualifying race...ugh.  I know we're probably going to get his story but I don't think I can find it in me now or soon to want to read it.

But this story is about Emma and Locke, so back on track here...  Okay, so the way the sibling's dynamic played out in the story wasn't my favorite and there were many times it could have enhanced what was going on with her career, her relationship, the pressures of racing, the grueling training, being many ways it could have helped her evolution but instead it created a distraction and more angst that never let up.  Emma was captivating at the start and then aside from physical strength and finding girly aspects of herself that enjoyed playing up her femininity, she really didn't change.  For me she stagnated as a character and I wasn't all that impressed with her.

Her fearlessness, talent, determination, and take-no-guff attitude was fantastic and when the pressure got to her and she lost a bit of her fearlessness and determination I could understand it, it was just the way she got it back that seemed rather lackluster.  There wasn't something that changed her and made her realize what she could and should be doing to improve or fight those pressures, it was just Locke distracting her and taunting her so she could go back to showing some of her spirit.  And the take-no-guff attitude really just became more reactionary and showcased a fiery, hair-trigger temper rather than a focused, strong, low tolerance level for bull that had no problem calmly calling people out for it like she did with Locke when they first met.

Locke was interesting in the beginning.  He had a past that pushed him to the level of fitness and business success he currently enjoys.  I liked the transformation aspect, but his hatred of that part of himself was slightly off-putting.  I was hoping that by loving the all-natural, genuine Emma he would find a balance.  And the epilogue showed the emotional evolution he experienced throughout the story.  He was far more dynamic as a person than I felt Emma was.  There were aspects of his character that I wasn't drawn to but overall I felt like he achieved more in his personal revelations that kind of made up for it.

Having grown up watching NASCAR and my dad in the garage and his shop as a mechanic there was a ton of the story that I enjoyed and appreciated.  Any time we got to a race scene I was charged and loved the detail, the anticipation, the excitement of the race itself.  Awesome job with this part of the story.  The romantic relationship was pretty good with both characters being ideal partners for one another but lacked the overall transformation and settling most of Alice's characters undergo in her stories.  External drama was a bit bigger than necessary and didn't really have a satisfactory resolution.  But that epilogue...utter perfection.  Alice is the master at phenomenal epilogues that convey change, deep and abiding love, sexy times, and the utter happiness between the MC's.  So while I had some issues with the story, the epilogue made me almost forgive them.

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 The Race, Alice Ward

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