Review: 'The Callahan Split' by Lisa Heidke (2015)
The Callahan Split: No one knows you better than your sister. In tennis, as in life, nothing ever goes truly to plan.
Samantha and Annie Callahan are successful doubles champions — the toast of the Olympics, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. But their winning partnership spirals out of control when Annie’s new boyfriend announces their engagement at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Bear, the sisters’ coach, guides Annie as much as she’ll allow. But when she insists on dropping Samantha in favour of a singles career, her game and rankings plummet. Samantha is left floundering. Disillusioned, her only sweet spot is the growing passion between her and Bear.
Amidst rising anger and betrayal, Samantha completely changes both their destinies when she does the unthinkable after a devastating Wimbledon loss. The sisters are driven to create new lives by confronting the past and taking control of the present. But can Samantha and Annie both win?
I've never really been the sporty kind of girl; I was never good at them and have never been really interested in sports in general. Yes, I enjoy watching the Olympics every now and again (who doesn't?), but that's really where it kind of stops, if I'm honest. However, when it comes to books I think it's important as a book blogger to give everything a shot at least once, so when I was contacted about reviewing Lisa Heidke's 2015 novel 'The Callahan Split', in which tennis plays an important role, I said yes. While sports definitely form a big part of the story, I was intrigued by the blurb and curious to check out this author who I hadn't heard of before... And who knows, perhaps I would learn a thing or two about tennis along the way!
Professional doubles tennis players and sisters Samantha and Annie Callahan have everything going for them. After winning a gold medal for Australia at the Olympics, they are now the favourites to also win the Australian Open. However, their position as favourites is jeopardised when Annie's new boyfriend unexpectedly proposes to Annie right before the start of an important match. Annie is over the moon, but her game obviously suffers from it and this is only the start of a downwards spiral for both the partnership between Annie and Samantha, which also influences their bond as sisters. Annie and Samantha find themselves at a crossroads, both wanting different things. But will they be able to work things out, both on a professional as well as on a personal level?
'The Callahan Split' is author Lisa Heidke's sixth novel already, but my personal first experience with her writing. I wasn't too sure what to expect exactly when I started reading, but I was really captivated by Annie and Samantha's story from the first chapter and just didn't want to put the book down, but see what was going to happen next. I also really enjoyed the tennis/competition element in the book, to my personal surprise; I really felt myself rooting for Samantha and Annie and hoping they would overcome their differences and win. Unfortunately, this feeling didn't last throughout the entire book; at a certain point the story slowed down a bit and it didn't captivate me as much as the first part did, even though I was still curious to see what would happen to Annie and Samantha.
While I was interested in both Annie and Samantha and their storylines, I didn't really warm to them. If I had to pick one sister I could relate to it's probably Samantha, but some of her actions just made me want to jump into the novel and slap her in the face. I also missed a convincing romance storyline for both sisters; there is an element of romance in the book but I thought it was a bit disappointing. I know this review will probably come across as a negative one, but it definitely isn't all negative. I enjoyed this read; I think the great and addictive first 100 pages just made me expect something different than the direction the novel eventually took. Overall, though, I think 'The Callahan Split' has been a promising first Lisa Heidke read for me and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.