I loved this book. It tugged at my heartstrings and left an indelible impression on me. I had high expectations for this book based on my prior experience with the previous books in the series. I was not disappointed. In fact, this was my favourite of the series. It should be noted there is no need to read the books in any specific order as each can be read as a standalone.
Playing for the Save tells the story of Ryan Hudson veteran relief pitcher for the Phoenix Rattlers. At 38 years old, he is not looking to retire, even though he had suffered back-to-back injuries. He had no interest in being in a relationship as he feels that women bring noise and chaos and he loves peace and quiet. For him being alone was orderly and predictable, which was what he needed, but then he met Jamie Rush who would have him rethinking his views on women.
Jamie Rush is a thirty-two-year-old single mother of two boys, Ben (7 years old) and Drew (5 years old). Life has not been easy for her. Her five-year-old is autistic, and she alone has to deal with the challenges that come with raising him, as her husband decided that he was not interested in raising a child he considered disabled.
The connection between Jamie and Ryan was intense. From the moment they met, it was clear they had chemistry. Relating to them as a couple was easy as I felt everything they were both going through. They struggled with their feelings for each other. Each time when it appears they were taking a step in the right direction, something makes question their love for each other. Their relationship developed gradually which I appreciated, especially given their circumstances.
I adored Ryan. He is not the athlete to boast of his accomplishments. He is caring and thoughtful, which was demonstrated in his actions towards Jaime and her sons. The connection he established with her sons, especially Drew was captivating. He was keeping a secret, that he had no desire for anyone to discover, especially the media. He was afraid to tell Jaime for fear she may want nothing to do with him. It was not difficult to figure out the secret he was hiding. I was amazed at how he was able to keep it a secret for so long.
Jaime is a contradiction. There were many layers to her character, which when peeled away revealed who she was an individual. When it came to her sons ‘welfare, she would fight with her last breath to protect them. However, she allowed her ex-husband to control every facet of her life. She depended on him for the welfare of her sons and she accepted the poor treatment he dished out to her. She felt the need to control how Drew was cared for, but never once tried to wrest control of her life from her ex-husband. I loved that she evolved and took the steps needed to take charge of her life. It is such a pity it took a neat tragic incident to open her eyes to what was taking place.
The secondary characters were well portrayed. I enjoyed reading about each of them. Their actions were typical of who they were. My least favourite was Jaime’s ex-husband, Andrew. If you have ever imagined, while reading, to which into the book and punch the villain. Well, this how I felt in regards to Andrew. He was pure evil. I was glad to see him receiving what he duly deserved.
The story, which was well written, was mainly writing in the 3rd POV. There were some minor areas where it was written in the first person POV. I had a difficult time putting this one down. This is not just a story of a romance between the main characters. It is a story of unconditional love and embracing each other differences. It touched on issues of abuse and bullying. It highlighted how intolerant persons were towards those who are different from them. This book gave me a brief look into the effects autism not only on the child but on the parents as well. I learnt that it is possible for persons with autism to live normal lives if they receive the necessary help from an early age.
I cannot say it often enough ‘Playing for the Save was a book I absolutely loved. This is by far my favourite book for 2017. I cannot recommend this enough.