Review of Hat Trick by Ali Spooner and KL Gallagher
Full disclosure, I’m the web designer who created KL Gallagher’s site so I was curious to read her debut book, Hat Trick, but neither the authors nor the publisher asked me to leave a review. Despite that Ms. Spooner has an impressive back catalogue, I’m ashamed to say that this is the first book I’ve read by this author so Hat Trick seemed a good place to start. I’m glad I read it because it was very enjoyable.
After ending a very traumatic relationship years ago, Alex Hawthorne is content to dedicate herself fully to her job as a junior partner in a law practice and having casual relationships. That is until she meets ice hockey legend, Janelle Leblanc, the first NHL female coach in history. Sparks of attraction fly but Alex is adamant to keep things casual despite that their mutual feelings get harder to ignore.
Hat Trick is KL Gallagher’s debut novel co-written with Ali Spooner. The story of how this book idea started is really cool. Ms. Gallagher placed a winning bid to name a character in a future Ali Spooner’s book and the author suggested writing it together (check KL Gallagher’s blog for the full story).
This was a very good sports romance focused on ice hockey. For those readers who like sports scenes in their books, Hat Trick won’t disappoint. Ms. Gallagher is not only an ice hockey fan but also an amateur player so she knows what she’s talking about. I admit that I have no clue about this sport but found the hockey matches scenes easy to follow and exciting. There is an ice hockey glossary at the end of the book for those readers who want to know about the game in detail. I’ve read other books that portray sports action well but this one also describes the behind-the-scene of hockey coaching, players’ internal issues and how to manage a franchise. I found all those details fascinating and gave the book a realistic feel.
In addition to the sports parts, this novel deals with serious issues such as sexism in the workplace. As both leads are very good at their jobs, they encounter a good deal of misogyny in their respective male-dominated work environments. There is also a subplot of domestic abuse (I’m not spoiling anything as it appears at the start of the book) which I thought was treated with tact and respect. There are parts that are not easy to read but it’s the type of story that needs to be told.
The romance was very well done, both characters have good chemistry together and the sex scenes are hot. The ubiquitous conflict at the 80% mark felt organic to the story and credible. I think that fans of both sports and romance books are going to enjoy this novel. 4.5 stars.