Sunday, September 25, 2011

Open Water by Pol Robinson

Publisher:     Bella Books

Pol Robinson's debut novel is an exciting and enjoyable story about competition, hard work, dedication and building a friendship before romance.

Cass Flynn thought she had lost her chance to be on the US Rowing Team at the Beijing Olympics.  A terrible accident threatened to take her career completely, but after long months of rehabilitation, Cass finds herself added to the team to replace an injured rower.  As the oldest member and someone who bears scars on her legs, she has to prove to the other rowers that she not only deserves this chance, but that she can win. Team Captain Laura Kelley has serious doubts about Cass's suitability, but her own issues consume her attention more.  Laura blames herself for the suicide of her ex-lover's sister and the guilt is interfering with her own performance.  As the woman train and battle their private demons, they begin to establish a relationship that, in the end, could be more important than any gold medals they might win.

Sometimes it's difficult to put a finger on why a book is so enjoyable.  It's not that any one thing stands out about it, but that everything combines to create an experience that is worth having.  Open Water is that type of book.  Pol Robinson has experience as a rower, so she is able to create the authenticity that captures the experience of training for and competing in rowing so well.  The reader can feel with each character what she is going through as she prepares for her races.  The strain that Cass feels in trying to recover from her injury and prove her worth to the team is very strong.  The anxiety that Laura experiences over how her personal life is affecting the team makes her character extremely well rounded.  These are women that the reader will recognize and identify with.  The reader may know women like them.

Open Water flows off of the pages.  The story passes smoothly and quickly, almost emulating the strokes of the rowers' oars.  The personality of each character contributes to the atmosphere of the book as well as the setting in Beijing.  It's also a very clean book with no mistakes or misprints in it.  That makes the reading even easier.  If this is an example of what can be expected from Pol Robinson in the future, then readers have some good books to look forward to.

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