Defensive Mindset by Wendy TempleDefensive Mindset by Wendy Temple is a moving romance that deals with the possibility of finding love among the ruins of the past. Temple brings us a story about two women focusing on their own personal circumstances and are ultimately drawn together in the most unexpected way. The question is will those circumstances bring them together indefinitely? Or will the fear of the unknown drive them apart?

Jessie Grainger is a star footballer and successful businesswoman in Edinburgh. She has the perfect life and doesn’t need anything to get in the way of that. In her last match of the season, Jessie’s world is rocked when an opposing defensive player, Fran Docherty, gets a little aggressive and causes Jessie to be ejected from the game. When Jessie returns the next season, the last thing she expects is to see Fran again, much less playing on Jessie’s team.

Throughout the season, Jessie does her best to stay clear of Fran. But fate keeps throwing them together. The more Jessie learns about Fran, the more intrigued she is by this washed-up barmaid with a sorted past. Will Jessie be able to break through Fran’s barricades? Or will Fran’s defensive mindset halt any romance before it can truly begin?

The Characters

The characters of Fran and Jessie have the illusion of being complex. In reality they are quite simple, yet thorough. Temple gives them detailed and multifaceted backgrounds that transcends the physical surface. She shows two women who, even though they come from two different worlds, exude compassion and love that will ultimately draw them together.

Jessie Grainger is the type of person who is composed. She has a successful business, likes to dress formally, doesn’t stay out late or drink a lot. In some ways, her only real act of rebellion is playing football for the local club. While Jessie’s physical appearance may scream ‘ice queen’ or ‘snob,’ Temple gives her the mental and emotional traits of being a caring and compassionate person who loves her team, her family and her friends. It is with the introduction of Fran that we truly get to see Jessie break out of this veneer of composure and start venturing out of her comfort zone. This will be the key to Jessie being able to see Fran as more than just a bartender and teammate.

Fran Docherty may be a great defender on the pitch, but her personal life is a hot mess. She’s back in Portobello, broke, recovering from addiction, and doing her best to help her grandfather. It’s fitting that she is a defender on the pitch, because outside the lines she is extremely defensive and guarded about who she was and all her past mistakes. It makes her enigmatic to her teammates and to Jessie. But Jessie isn’t easily deterred from Fran’s defensive methods, and she will do whatever it takes to help the rough and tumble barmaid find peace and love after so much heartache in her life.

The Writing Style

When I picked up this book, I expected a very passionate story about two women who play soccer together and end up falling in love, even though they didn’t start out on the best of terms. I’ll admit I got that, but I got a whole lot more as well.

What Temple has been able to do is give me two women who are captivating and riveting so I don’t want to put it down for a second. Her writing flows easily, and the story that happens off the pitch between Fran and Jessie is full of amazing details. Temple gives both women a great deal of depth into their histories, and the way she has been able to integrate these details with their connection to each other allowed me to be absorbed into Fran and Jessie’s lives and wishing that I could meet them in person.

The Pros

The topic of addiction is not a new topic to tackle, and most stories deal with addiction as a dependency on the drug. Temple gives a different perspective by explaining it’s not the drug an addict is dependent on, it is the high that the drug induces. It’s refreshing and gives a better understanding to exactly why it is so hard for an addict to refrain from drug use and possibly relapsing.

The Cons

There aren’t too many descriptions of the football matches that take place during the story, which can be disappointing for a reader who is looking for a lot of activity on the pitch. However, Temple makes up for this by putting emphasis on the importance of off-field comradery and sportsmanship. She focuses on the interaction between the players in the locker room, as well as their activities together around Edinburgh. She demonstrates how important it is to bond outside of the game, it’s essentialness to building chemistry between players and becoming a cohesive team.

The Conclusion

Temple gives a compelling story about two women who come from different backgrounds and yet are able to find love after getting off to a rocky start. Temple’s decision to make the early motives of Fran and Jessie come from a place of compassion, not malice, really helped solidify their likeability from the first page. That’s not an easy feat to achieve, and Temple pulls it off flawlessly. If you want a sporty, slow burn, gripping story, I urge you to pick up Defensive Mindset today.

Excerpt from Defensive Mindset by Wendy Temple

Jessie again found herself being marked by the number four. Arms around her body kept her from breaking free and running into space. She attempted to shake off her marker, but those hands moulded to her breasts. Frustrated and embarrassed, Jessie swung around, and her palm connected with her opponents face in a flash.

The slap was so hard it echoed in the late spring air. Jessie’s palm stung, and a shrill blast on the whistle brought everyone to a standstill. There was none of the usual pushing or shoving that accompanied violent conduct. Fran Docherty stood rubbing her rapidly reddening cheek, while Jessie stared wide-eyed, shocked by the incident.

“Damn, you pack a wallop,” Docherty muttered. The handprint now showing on her face.

“Right, number nine, that’s enough from you.” The referee produced a red card and pointed to the changing rooms.

Jessie blinked once, stared at the red card, not quite believing it. She’d never been sent off before.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9783955338371
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing

Wendy Temple Online

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About the author

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Anna Gram works in entertainment in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not working she loves watching and playing softball, as well as reading lesbian romances. Her favorite authors are Rachel Spangler, MJ Duncan, Kenna White, and Andi Marquette…just to name a few.