Wednesday, March 30, 2022

|Podcast| Home or Away - Kathleen West

Photo Content from Laurie Forest

Kathleen West’s novels have been best- books picks by Real Simple, Newsweek, People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and the New York Post. A schoolteacher with more than 20 years’ experience, Kathleen is particularly interested in the topics of motherhood, ambition, competitive parenting, and the elusiveness of work-life balance. Her new novel, Home Or Away, publishes in March 2022. She is a life-long Minnesotan and lives in Minneapolis with her family.

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Praise for HOME OR AWAY

"A gloriously entertaining plunge into the ultra-competitive world of youth sports and the lengths we go to for the kids and game we love." —New York Times bestselling author KJ Dell'Antonia

“How much raw emotion can one writer put into a story? Kathleen West shows us in her luminous new novel Home or Away, set in the competitive world of youth hockey in Minnesota, known as the State of Hockey.” —St. Paul Pioneer Press

“West captures the kid hockey scene with blade-sharp precision." —Star Tribune

“This nuanced, heartfelt novel exploring abuses of power in sports will appeal to fans of Hannah Orenstein's Head over Heels (2020) and Alena Dillon's The Happiest Girl in the World (2021).” —Booklist (starred review)

Two friends, one Olympic dream, and the choice that stood in the way.

Once Leigh and Susy were close friends and teammates bound for Olympic hockey gold, but when Leigh's sure-fire plan to make the final roster backfired, she left everything behind to start over, including the one person who knew her secret.

Two decades later, Leigh's a successful investment banker, happily married, and the mom of a hockey prodigy, so when a career opportunity lands the family back in Minnesota, Leigh takes the shot for her kid. Back in the ultra-competitive world she left behind, the move puts her in Susy's orbit, a daily reminder of how Leigh watched from the sidelines as her former teammate went on to Olympic glory.

Despite the coldness between them, Susy can't help but hope that Leigh might lace up her skates and join her in the coaches' box--after all Leigh knows better than anyone how hard it is to be a woman in this world. Susy's coaching decisions are undermined by the all-male board and she knows soon her daughter, Georgie, will be seen as a "girl athlete," relegated to the B team, with less support and opportunity to advance.

But Leigh's sure keeping Susy at arms' length is the only way to hide her history with her coach Jeff Carlson. When he hints of new favors in exchange for her son's ice time and allegations arise over his conduct, Leigh is caught in the ultimate bind: come clean about what happened when she was an Olympic hopeful and risk her marriage or play Jeff's game. In a moment of desperation, Leigh turns to Susy and realizes the one person she thought was her biggest competitor might turn out to be her biggest ally.

Told with Kathleen West's trademark wit and compassion, Home or Away is a story about overcoming our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of female friendship.
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