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REVIEW: Breakaway by Deirdre Martin

Dear Ms. Martin:

My favorite books have always been your hockey books and I’ve recommended “Body Check” to any number of readers looking for a modern contemporary romance. We were given locker rooms scenes and game scenes and while none of it may have been authentic, it felt authentic to me.  We then detoured into a number of books involving non hockey players and found ourselves in Ireland.  “Breakaway” attempts to bring the hockey to Ireland but unfortunately the only real sports connection is that the hero is a hockey player.  The focus of “Breakaway” is on the reunited lovers theme.

Deirdre Martin New York Blades Hockey BreakawayThe male protagonist is Rory Brady, the first Irish born hockey player to play for the New York Blades.  He dated a girl from Balleycraig, Ireland, for eight years and promised he would marry her.  When he left for the NHL, he was going to bring her with him, but once he arrived on U.S. soil he promptly forgot her caught up in living the high life as a professional athlete in New York City.

Erin O’Brien was stuck in her village, slaving away for her parents and dreaming of getting an art degree. She gave Rory an ultimatum that they marry or they are done. So he breaks up with her. He essentially leaves everyone in Balleycraig behind, including his best friend. Two years later Rory decides he has made a mistake.

I thought, based on the blurb and set put, that this would be a redemption story and that Rory would have to suffer consequences of his actions in order to win over his best friend and win back his girl. Unfortunately there was no comeuppance.  Rory waltzes in.  His best friend, Jake, forgives him.  Erin takes him back without almost no whimper. What makes it even more sad was that Jake, the nice steady guy, tried to woo Erin after Rory left her and at the cusp of the two of them exploring something deeper than a close friendship, Rory returns and Erin can’t take her pants off fast enough.

I didn’t understand Erin at all.  She had a wonderful man who was ready to commit to her, but instead she readily accepts Rory back into her life who left her two years ago. I didn’t feel that the depiction was consistent with Erin’s portrayal as someone stuck in a rut, unable to muster the courage to leave her village to explore the big world beyond and pursue her dreams. Settling into a marriage with her best friend Jake would have made more sense than sliding back into a relationship with Rory. Returning to Rory’s arms with no resistance after stating that she was mistrustful and hurt led to a story with little conflict.

Eerin’s inaction creates a certain aura of passive aggressiveness. If she wanted to leave so badly, why didn’t she?  Unanswered was whether she didn’t love Jake because he represented stagnation and wanted Rory because he represented the incarnation of her own dreams – success outside in the big world, a conflict that might have retained some interest. Yet, if that were the case then the romance isn’t true because Erin doesn’t love Rory for who he is (and who would, really) but rather what he represents.

It is a small town setting but the small town relies too much on quirky characters to give it personality such as the three brothers who seem to be an Irish version of Larry, Curly and Moe. Three dumb and loose lipped individuals we see only in the Balleycraig pub and only as set up characters for Rory’s actions.

Rory seemed to exemplify the rich jock who treats everyone shabbily and gets only accolades in return. There wasn’t anything compelling about him. He never suffered or wanted for success, love, or even happiness. A conflict arising out of Erin’s fear of independence came far too late. A disappointing entry in the Blades series. C-

Best regards,


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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Sally
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 07:39:37

    Jane, you should change the grade in the tag line. It’s different than the grade at the end of the review. The C+ in the tag line made me think I might want to read it, the C- at the end made me take it off my wish list.

  2. cead
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 08:01:17

    Is “Erin” actually used as a given name in Ireland? I thought it was mostly used in the US and Wales (but maybe I was wrong).

  3. Jane
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 10:53:38

    @Sally Sorry about that.

  4. Courtney
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 12:37:42

    This is too bad. I love the reunited lovers theme and if done well, it always works for me. I loved Martin’s first four hockey romances (I think), but I quit reading her after one book, whose title escapes me, when it just didn’t work for me. It had something to do with an Italian restaurant? I’m always hoping a favorite author can recreate the magic that made me fall in love with their writing originally, but it appears based on this review that I’ll take a pass at this one…

  5. Becca
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 23:02:23

    This makes me sad. I think Martin needs to go back to hockey exclusively and stay away from Ireland and foreign accents. She just lost me when she did that. I had hopes for this one.

  6. Ridley
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 23:40:34

    You lost me at “Irish hockey player.”

  7. library addict
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 00:15:22

    Sounds like some major groveling should definitely have been in order. Thanks for the review. I will give this one a pass.

    Did you change the layout again? I was just getting used to the new one. Not that I don’t like this one, too. I love that the DA site is so uncluttered and sleek, but info is easy to find. I do miss the numbered comments though.

  8. Jane
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 00:22:42

    @library addict I’ve been modifying a mobile theme and in order to do that, I had to update my settings with the theme active so you’ve been seeing the mobile theme rather than the regular theme, however, we are going to move to a more streamlined, one sidebar look. I’ve hired someone to make the site even more readable and easier to use and believe that you will all enjoy it.

  9. Review: Breakaway by Deirdre Martin | Smexy Books
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 06:46:07

    […] Reviews Dear Author – C- Under the Covers – 3/5 Love to Read for Fun – B- […]

  10. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 08:58:08

    I love this cover. There’s another version on Goodreads that’s even better/more vibrant. I’m a sucker for the girl-in-jersey and shirtless athlete combo.

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