Two of my favorite topics, romance and figure skating, come together in Jennifer Comeaux's novel, Life on the Edge.
Set in the world Olympic skating, it tells the story of an aspiring American pair team but, in a non-Cutting Edge twist, the romance isn't between partners (and the man isn't a macho hockey player who decided to take up figure skating after an injury ends his NHL dreams, because, hey, the two styles are totally alike, and jumps, spins and lifts can be picked up by anyone in a few months time; but someone who actually likes to figure skate and has been doing it for most of his life), but between the girl of the pair, Emily, and her Russian immigrant coach, Sergei.
Here is my main problem with romance as a genre: Since we know the hero and heroine are going to live Happily Ever After, I need a plot reason beyond will they or won't they to keep turning pages - because I already know they will.
I prefer stories with a mystery aspect to them or, at the very least, a unique problem to warrant keeping the couple apart for 200+ pages.
Life on the Edge has that, and it's a good one, too. If word gets out that Emily and Sergei are dating, even though she's over 18, it might prompt the National Federation to censor Sergei, pull his credentials and forbid him from coaching. And then where will Emily be? She'd not only forfiet her own Olympic dreams (and the money and effort her parents have expended to support her), but that of her partner, too.
No, the stakes aren't life and death in the literal sense of the word, but they are damn serious, nonetheless, and not contingent on some silly misunderstanding that could be cleared up if only the two leads ever actually spoke to each other, instead of leaping to conclusions (a criticism that's been leveled, ahem, at my own book, When a Man Loves a Woman).
More importantly, the stakes are connected to skating. Often, a book's setting merely serves to provide some exotica, without having any substantial influence on the plot. Here, both skating and romance are front and center, making Life on the Edge a true skating romance, and a treat for fans of both.
Check it out by clicking the link below: