Fighting Chance, by Barb Wolfe. Review by Batwoman
Fighting Chance is about fighting, Mixed Martial Arts style. DJ and Erin each have their own baggage when they first meet, but are equally intrigued with each other. The setting describes fighting in different ways, and in different areas, but centers on a female only gym for training in MMA. DJ is the seasoned Sensei for the gym, and Erin is a reporter looking to interview DJ for a newspaper article. DJ is closed and disciplined, and Erin thinks that she knows who she is, but both of them are in for wild, unpredictable fights against themselves, each other, their emotions and other unforeseen obstacles. The book is perfectly titled, and the cover is catchy.
I have some background in martial arts, and the setting of the book interested me right away. I have no knowledge of MMA, and it is well explained through actions and dialogue throughout the book without having to break away from the flow of the storyline. The characters are well developed and the setting is clearly illustrated down to the grinding work of training. There is also the issue of safety. Fighting skills give a woman confidence and strength, not just to knock someone out, but it is also mental preparation, and this is discussed throughout the book with details of self-defense techniques.
Barb Wolfe covers very difficult topics in the book. Without revealing the story, she handles these topics adeptly, and from the viewpoint of each character. The story flows well, along with the dialogue, so the transitions are smooth. Support characters enhance the storyline without distraction. There is a high level of emotion between the characters that Wolfe managed to make uplifting rather than depressing. She illustrates how tough situations can be handled.
Aside from a great read, the takeaway for me from this book is that Wolfe introduced me to something I was unfamiliar with. After finishing the book, I went to the internet to learn about MMA fighting. I was completely floored watching it, even though I have sparred myself in the past (in a very controlled setting). Those women are tough as nails. I watched videos and found interviews with the fighters promoting the upcoming event in Kansas City, KS sponsored by Invicta. The event is going to be available in live stream April 28. I have it on my calendar, thanks to Barb Wolfe and A Fighting Chance. I also look forward to more books by this author.