Go Small or Go Home, by Heather Wardell is currently a .99 Kindle download. To be honest, I never hold out much hope for .99 Kindle downloads. They are often either too short, too simple or too silly. In fact, I can count on my hand the number I thought worthy of even that small expenditure. But oh, what an absolutely brilliant bargain Go Small or Go Home is. Packed with some of the most wonderful dialogue I’ve read in quite awhile (which probably means I haven't read enough of Ms. Wardell's work) it challenges the old adage that you get only what you pay for.
Forrest Williams has finally fulfilled a life long dream by playing ice hockey for the Toronto Hogs, but playing is not what anyone would call it. Emotionally paralyzed by a horrific car accident that claimed the life of his fiancée, Forrest is ostracized by his teammates as a minor physical injury keeps him glued to the bench. Survivor’s guilt shapes his actions and because of it, he’s on the fast track to an early retirement. But the pressure of a multimillion-dollar contract and the club owner’s wrath forces him to hire a private massage therapist in the hope of regaining his physical health. But no matter how much he wants to get back out there and play, his personal baggage is just too heavy to carry onto the ice.
Tess Grayson is torn between a successful career as a massage therapist and her passion for making miniature pieces of three-dimensional art. She would like nothing more than to turn that passion into a full time career and say goodbye to massage therapy forever. But a girl’s got to eat and Tess applies for the temporary stint as Forrest’s savior. She immediately recognizes that his problems are centered more in his head and less in his leg and, in the same manner she does everything, applies herself whole-heartedly to healing him. But she soon realizes she’s in danger of losing that heart to a man who apparently has nothing left to give.
Written in Tess’ voice, the narrative shines with insightful humor and touching sadness. Tess struggles to find herself at the same time she fights Forrest’s demons and the emotional toll these battles take on her is staggering. Every page in this book packs a punch and I found myself immediately lost in Tess' world. Of course, Forrest’s thoughts are closed to the reader, just as they are closed to Tess. Only once does he open up enough to let her (and us) in, and the price of admission would destroy a woman weaker than Tess. But despite Forrest's hot and cold temperament, she continues to root for him and for herself, and I found myself squarely behind her, although holding out less and less hope for him.
The supporting characters are wonderful in their own right, particularly Tess’ best friend Jen and Forrest’s gallery owning mother, Jayne. Magnus, the Hog’s team captain earned my eternal admiration and even Tess’ alcoholic twin sister Pam gained my support in the end.
I loved everything about this book, including the ending. Especially the ending. Don’t hesitate to spend the buck, if you’re lucky enough to get it for that price. But, even at ten times the price, it would still be a bargain. Trust me on this.