Monday, February 5, 2018

Steal Away Home



Happy Monday, My Lovelies!  Recently I read the best book centered around baseball with a very important Christian message:  Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey.


According to Goodreads:

Owen Cross grew up with two loves: one a game, the other a girl. One of those loves ruined him. Now he's counting on the other to save him.


Baseball always came easy for Owen Cross. His innate talents were honed beneath the stiff hand of a father who wanted nothing more than for his son to succeed where he had failed. The girl was a little more complicated. Owen loved Micky Dullahan from the first time they met, on a lonely hill overlooking the depressed area where her troubled family had always lived. But she was from the wrong side of the tracks, and so that spot became their haven, the one place they could be together without worry of class or reputation.


Owen's career progresses just as everyone expects: college, the minors, even a few stints in the big leagues. But it is on a major league field that he has the epiphany that he has always given everything to baseball—and yet it cannot love him back.



Micky's advice comes back to haunt him. "You've got a second chance to love what will always love you back." And so he returns home to that hill, to the last place he ever saw her, finally ready to stop running away.


My Review:

There are so many reasons I love this book.  One reason: I love baseball.  I watch virtually all of the Chicago Cubs' games, and I must admit that this is the saddest part of the year for me:  Christmas is over, and the Cactus League has yet to start.  But luckily for me I have Steal Away Home.

The story takes place over a twenty-four hour period, June 5 - 6, 2001, when Owen Cross has been called-up to The Show by the Orioles for one night just in case their starting catcher needs to be relieved.  The game is against the Yankees on their home turf.  (My only criticism of the book is Coffey chose the American League over the National League.  :/   Mayhap I shall dock a star for that!)  The book is organized according to the innings of the game, with the first chapter being Pregame, then the nine innings (including the seventh inning stretch) and ending with the Postgame.  Baseball fans understand that there's a lot of downtime during a baseball game.  As Owen watches the game from the dugout he has plenty of time to think about his past, including the disappearance of Micky, the poverty-stricken girl who was his childhood love.

On prom night, Micky and Owen experience something divine while playing chicken on a train track.  Neither one could move, and they experienced something that cannot be explained rationally.  Somehow they were "pushed" off the tracks and out of harm's way just in the nick of time.  The experience was a religious epiphany for Mickey, and she boldly shares what she experienced on the tracks with the citizens of Camden.  Owen, however, refuses to admit that anything special happened; he denies having experienced anything out of the ordinary.

As the game progresses, Owen reminiscences about his childhood, his love for Mickey, his parents, and his commitment to baseball.  The reader learns about Owens' character and rejection of the greatest love there is.  As a Christian, I'll admit that this is a tough read for me.  But sometimes things that are meant to be instructive are tough.  The central question in the book is: "What do you love?"  This is important to ponder because love's one of the three things (along with faith and hope) that remains.

Coffey is a very talented writer.  His eloquence in describing Owen and Mickey's near-death experience mesmerized me.  I also loved how he describes hitting a baseball:

"To hit is to forget yourself entirely, it is a great letting go, and that is why it is an art.  It is poetry set to action and music strummed by the soul, but it is also more, for those endeavors are fated to forever fall short of perfection.  Yet a swing can be just that.  It can be perfection, and perhaps the only perfect thing you will ever do."

Steal Away Home, p. 50

If you enjoy beautifully written books with unforgettable characters, a Christian theme, and Yankee Stadium as a setting, then you will absolutely love this book.  This story will stay with me for a very long time.




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Disclosure:

I received a n ARC copy of Steal Away Home from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill



Billy Coffey’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 29th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, January 30th: @readingbringsjoy
Wednesday, January 31st: The Library of Mrs. Gardner and @mrs.literarylovely
Thursday, February 1st: @createexploreread
Friday, February 2nd: Reviews from the Heart
Monday, February 5thThe Sketchy Reader and @thesketchyreader
Tuesday, February 6th@livethecozylife
Thursday, February 8thGirl Who Reads
Thursday, February 8th@acozyreader
Friday, February 9thMel’s Shelves
Monday, February 12thCheryl’s Book Nook
Tuesday, February 13thBooks and Bindings
Wednesday, February 14thBooks a la Mode – guest post
Wednesday, February 14thJathan & Heather
Thursday, February 15th@mwladieswholit
Friday, February 16thBecca the Bibliophile
Monday, February 19thSatisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, February 20th@the_book_darling
Wednesday, February 21stBy the Book
Thursday, February 22ndA Chick Who Reads
Friday, February 23rd@papercutsandpages

10 comments:

  1. I would love to read this book! What good reviews you always do too! Enjoy your day...hope that big bright sun is out this morning! Hugs, Diane

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  2. I always enjoy your book reviews RJ. I wouldn't usually choose a book with a ball theme but this one sounds really interesting. Wishing you a happy week.......

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  3. Amazing, Leo said to tell you he was here with nanna

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  4. Billy Coffey books always stand out to me. Looking forward to reading this one!

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  5. I am a fan of baseball! I know I will enjoy this. Thank you!! It is moving to the top of the list.

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  6. What an enjoyable review. I'm not really a baseball fan but this still sounds like a great read. Happy new week!

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  7. Would this book be suitable for a 16 year old boy?
    I enjoyed your review.

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  8. Sounds like the perfect book for a romantic baseball lover! So interesting that the story is told inning by inning~ Love your time for tea painting!! I know what you mean about a sad time of year, it's hard to wait for football again until Sept!!
    Jenna

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  9. This does sound like a beautiful book. And what's not to love about baseball? I really appreciate your book reviews.

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