Strictly on Ice

Strictly on Ice

by Helen Buckley

5 out of 5

When falling in love comes with the risk of falling flat on your face ...
Former Olympic skating champion Katie Saunders is well known for her ‘ice queen’ persona in the press. On the face of it, perhaps Katie should have forgiven her former skating partner and ex-boyfriend, Alex Michaelson, for the accident that shattered both her ankle and their Olympic dreams – but she just can’t seem to let it go.
When Katie reluctantly agrees to take part in a new TV skating show, it’s only because she’s desperate for cash. What she didn’t count on is the drama – not only is she partnered up with infamous love rat rugby player Jamie Welsh, but one of the judges is none other than Alex Michaelson himself.
As the show progresses, will Katie be shown the hard way, once again, that romance on the ice should remain strictly off-limits?

'Ice Queen' Katie gets roped into a new celebrity ice skating show where her ex is on the judging panel. Helping break the tension is her skating partner, ex-rugby star Jamie.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This story is split between two narrators, with chapters dedicated to the current timeline, and revealing the history that still affects our main characters.

Katie is in her early twenties, but she has already lived a full life. With her stubborn determination, she became the best female skater in the UK; then became part of a pair that were supposed to be the new Torvill and Dean. With her professional partner and boyfriend Alex, they were heading for the Olympics.
An accident in their routine left Katie with a career-ending injury. She withdrew from the media spotlight, and swore she would never speak to Alex again. Until they are in a show together.

Jamie is in his thirties. A few years ago he was a notorious love-rat, who made a fool of himself by going on a bender before the World Cup final. After ruining his own career and marriage, he's now a washed-up, unfit ex-rugby player.
He agrees to go on the skating show, because he wants to put his past behind him. And his mum is a huge Dancing on Ice fan!

I really enjoyed this, and loved the emphasis on the growing friendship between Katie and Jamie.
I felt sorry for Katie - concentrating solely on her skill as a skater, she never had time to make friends, and never connected with the people she competed against. Having lost her father, and no contact with Alex, Katie is alone, and you get the feeling that she doesn't know how to make friends.
Jamie on the other hand, has a big group of family and friends. To begin with, their training sessions only confirm Katie's 'Ice Queen' persona; but Jamie is just the support that Katie needs.

Strictly on Ice takes a very good look at the power of the media. Both Katie and Jamie have lived public lives, and both been the victim of the media's twisted stories, that the public have lapped up, thinking they know them.

I loved how Katie's story was approached. I don't want to say what happens, because that would spoil it; but the author did an amazing job of drip-feeding the truth behind everything.
It is such a timely story, and there was a great balance between the darkness and empowerment.

Jamie's story did take a bit of a back seat, and I felt that his character was there to support Katie. But that never bothered me, I still enjoyed his narrative.

I really liked the ending - two professional sports people that recognise what they want to achieve in their careers, and won't let their budding relationship get in the way.
I thought it made a refreshing change!


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