I’ve enjoyed Karen Mossman’s writing in the past and when looking for a quick read was happy to pick up Play the Game: An Electric Eclectic Book. The blurb had aroused my curiosity; what was the main character, Stella, ashamed of? What odds were against her?
The story begins with Stella darting into a hotel because she’d missed her bus. She feels out of place and awkward. My first thought was that she might be homeless or possibly a prostitute. I was wrong on both counts. When a young man joins her on the bench by the elevator and they start chatting it’s apparent she truly had just stepped inside out of the cold.
When Stella easily engages with the attractive man, there is no indication of the shy and uncertain young woman she seems to be later in the book. Something about the stranger, Kelly Ambrose, puts her at ease. I was still surprised when Kelly invites her to dinner for the following evening at the obviously expensive hotel and she accepts.
The relationship slowly develops, and I learned Stella Rae has some secret she does not share with Kelly. He is well off and she works at a call center. A kind-hearted woman, she provides sandwiches to the homeless in the evenings after work. Often thinking about her father leading me to wonder if he was homeless and she might be searching for him. Mossman did a good job of keeping me puzzling about her father. He was an important part of her life yet made no appearance.
Soon Stella gets a big surprise involving Kelly. It’s a revelation that will make a great impact on her life. He struggles to lift her morale and see herself as he does, lovely and kind. She is enamored of his good looks and his gentleness with her.
This is a sweet story, something I did not expect. It examines how life’s journey can be painful. We often don’t realize how our words and actions can hurt another person. Too often people fail to look beneath the surface to get to know others. While the denouement is predictable, it serves a dollop of satisfaction. I recommend this book as an easy, short read for anyone looking for a light romance with a message.
Coping with past tragedies, Stella lives on hope in the present. She plays the game and hopes that one day she will beat the odds. Is this all there is to Stella’s story?
Self shame is the enemy…. It is a power struggle. At times it may seem hopeless and pointless to fight the inner demons.
Sometimes, when your self esteem is low, it takes a special someone to help build it up again.
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