ROMANCE

Out on the Ice

Carina: Harlequin. Aug. 2020. 400p. ebk. ISBN 9780369701176. $4.99. lgbt cONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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[DEBUT] A summer coaching job brings Amy Schwarzbach, hockey star and social media darling, to retired Olympian Caro Cassidy’s training program—and into her heart. Amy, an out and proud bisexual woman, has nursed a crush since their days competing for spots on the national team. Caro, however, rebounded from a bad breakup by devoting herself to her work and keeping her lesbian identity out of the public eye. Caro has been seeing a therapist, and as both women are hyper-self-aware, they mostly discuss and avert conflicts that often arise between Amy’s oversharing and Caro’s desire for privacy. There’s a brief rift after a well-meaning hockey parent outs Caro on Facebook, but overall this is a smooth-sailing romance, in which each partner does internal work: Caro pushes against internalized (and familial) homophobia for the good of her training center, and Amy finds a healthier balance between her public and private persona. A diverse cast of friends pop in occasionally but aren’t deeply developed.
VERDICT With closed-door sex and limited conflict, this is a quiet and cozy romance that also frequently acknowledges that homophobia and biphobia make that coziness hard-won. A solid first book from newcomer Farmer.

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