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Wheeler Kindle Edition
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Readers who are familiar with professional cycling will doubtless appreciate Zalesky’s attention to the sport, and even readers who have no prior knowledge will enjoy learning about the strategy, training, and teamwork involved in cycling. Zalesky expertly creates a believable and enthralling team dynamic, following Loren and her team through both victories and crashes. Crafting relatable characters and developing story lines over the course of the novel is one of Zalesky’s strengths. Though the first half of the story feels rather one-dimensional with clichéd characters (the hyper-driven female athlete; the handsome, Shakespeare-quoting actor; the jealous ex-boyfriend), Zalesky develops her characters so that by the second half of the story, each of these characters has a well-defined history and far exceeds expectations.
Whirlwind romances are, of course, fun to read and daydream about, but the almost instantaneous and passionate relationship that Loren and Graham form feels forced. Their relationship is full of Shakespeare quotes and French puppy-love nicknames (hundreds of variations on mon amour and ma cherie are tired after awhile). But midway through the novel, Zalesky seems to hit her groove and relies less on these easy wordplays for content, allowing Loren and Graham to have more meaningful conversations. This is pleasing for readers, who may not have realized the novel they were reading would have more Shakespeare than they had read since high school.
Overall, Wheeler offers readers an intriguing literary escape into the intense world of women’s cycling and creates a protagonist that readers will consider a good friend by the end of the story. While few people could withstand the physical challenges that Zalesky puts in front of Loren, it is the emotional challenges she faces that make Loren such a wonderful character. Wheeler examines challenging topics such as emotional and physical abuse, the difficulties of balancing work and relationships, and familial estrangement, and does not shy away from painful moments. Multi-dimensional, inspiring, and sometimes heartbreaking, Loren will have readers rooting for her successes and looking forward to a second installment. Hopefully Zalesky’s second novel will come soon, as Wheeler’s abrupt end may catch readers off-guard, feeling almost as if they’ve fallen off their bikes unexpectedly.
Wheeler is one half romance and one half sports fiction. Most of the book is written as romance. We get to see deep inside the thought process of a woman who has been through tragedy, feels the need to protect herself both mentally and physically yet she tries to open her heart for love. The romance is dialog driven and while I found the early repartee to be fresh and witty, this style of writing is not my cup of tea. The cycling sections have a different pacing. They are fun to read and sometimes pure excitement. The carnage is cringe worthy to imagine but always inviting. For someone new to cycling terms, this will be a unique introduction.
Zalesky tackles many important issues and does so with tact and grace. Sexual assault, concussion syndrome and the vices of media attention are just a few of the friction points bound to capture any readers attention. This book should win hearts on several levels.
When you are introduced to the protagonist, professional cyclist Loren Mackenzie, it is the middle of the racing season. During a training run she has a flat tire. Graham Atherton, the famous good looking and sexy actor, comes to her rescue and a romantic relationship ensues. As Atherton woos her with quotes from Shakespeare, Loren travels across Europe with her team and demonstrates the limits to which she pushes her body to win. Loren struggles physically to hang on and is forced to confront the horrors of her past.
Sara Zalesky demonstrates the depth of her of cycling knowledge and does a great job of balancing that detail with romance and suspense. The added bits of Shakespeare and French are fun and give an authentic feel to the European locations. I look forward to reading a second "Wheeler" book.
The characters are very well developed, complex and are a great reflection of reality. It was definitely my favorite part of the novel. I felt I could highly relate to Loren’s journey and THIS is what makes life worth living for! Ride baby ride, and it doesn't have to be all the time with spirit, talent, and grace!
Most recent customer reviews
I live 2 blocks from the Manayunk Wall and really enjoy watching the race every year, but that was about the extent of my knowledge of bike racing.Read more
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