I’m having a hard time focusing on reading. It’s not that things are bad. Things are stressful in a way that uses up a lot of my mental and emotional energy. I’m working on a couple of books I received as gifts over the holidays (one from my uncle and fellow Cannonballer, degregorious), but the focus isn’t there. Beth Ellen’s review of From Lukov With Love plus the Olympic figure skating on my tv and all over my social media feeds gave me an urge to read it. I have a similar relationship with Zapata. The woman does need an editor. I don’t mind the slow burn romance nearly as much, and in this case, I was particularly comfortable with the slow build of the relationship.
Jasmine Santos is a pairs figure skater without a partner. After an impressive Juniors career, she hasn’t lived up to her potential. She has a reputation for being difficult and choking during competition. She needs a miracle or her career is over. She has a large mostly supportive family, but it’s the disapproving voice of her absentee father that sounds loudest in her head. Ivan Lukov trains at the same facility, owned by his family, and is at the top of his career. The two have an antagonistic relationship. For reasons, Ivan needs a partner for a year.
I am from a Southern climate, so the whole idea of voluntarily doing something in the cold is bizarre to me. Add on the whole strapping thin blades to your feet and then moving around on ice and I am backing away slowly. I once broke my leg walking down stairs while sober. I don’t follow figure skating, I don’t follow any sports, but if it’s in front of me I will watch it for hours. I don’t understand the physics of how they do those jumps, spins and throws. Look at the picture above. They look so easy and comfortable, but that should not work. The potential for injury and disaster seems high to me.
Zapata does a great job of telling the story of the intense work necessary to compete at the top levels of the sport. Or, at least, what I imagine is the intense work necessary. It’s probably even more intense. I enjoyed Jasmine’s struggle to give more of herself to her family while also maintaining a demanding training regime. There were a couple of illness and accidents that maybe didn’t need to happen. Jasmine, like Zapata’s other heroines, is beset on all sides. At least there were fewer bitches and whores in this one.
I leave you with the German pairs gold medal performance. It’s probably better than the book, but I enjoyed the book too.