I was recently asked to read and review Make Mine A Heel by Suenammi Richards. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this romance especially since it appeared to center around professional wrestling. I admit, I'm not much of a sports fan (OK I'm not a sports fan at all) and that I know absolutely nothing about professional wrestling but I began reading with an admitted bias. My bias was similar to that of the main character, Banner (Bay) Hemweigh, a sports writer. She felt, as did I, that professional wrestling was not a sport and did not deserve her time and attention when she is asked to write about this "sport." She does, however, agree to spend a week interviewing a professional wrestler. She agrees because if she does conclude that it isn't worthy of her time she'll get exclusive NFL coverage at her station.
Enter Keith Daniels, a professional wrestler known as Dominique "Dangerous" Dutton or 3D in the wrestling world. He is the current champ and a man that others instinctively seem to trust and respect despite his bad-boy or "heel" stage persona. What Bay and I discover (yes I know this is fiction), is that there is a great deal of athleticism involved in professional wrestling along with the high drama and hijinks. These men are well-conditioned athletes and put their bodies through more than most people can understand for the sake of entertaining their fans.
Bay is more than a sports writer and wants more from her life even though she doesn't feel that she deserves it. She is also coming to grips with her Latina heritage and getting to know her estranged Latin relatives. Keith is also much more than his stage persona and a professional wrestler. In many ways he is somewhat of a renaissance man in that he studies history (shy just a few credits from a Bachelor's degree), is educated in arts and music, and appreciative of different cultures and traditions. He is also shy and reserved as himself and doesn't feel that he deserves a loving relationship. He and Bay have a tumultous relationship even though they both know that they are right for one another.
This isn't a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). Will Bay and Keith get together? Will Bay accurately portray professional wrestling in her writing assignment? Although there were instances when I didn't quite grasp the intent behind the exchanges between Bay and Keith, it is quite easy to feel their developing respect and love for who the other person is on the inside. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I hope you'll enjoy it as well if you're into the romance genre.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the author. I was not required, paid or in anyway obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."