#aww2018 · 2018 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · romance · rural ficition

New Release Book Review: The Football Whisperer by Mel A. Rowe

Title: The Football Whispererthe football whisperer small.jpg

Author: Mel A. Rowe

Published: October 23rd 2018

Publisher: Mel A. Rowe

Pages: 284

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Australia, Rural, Romance

RRP: $3.66 (ebook)

Rating: 4 stars

“When life makes you play a whole new game…”

Before 90,000 screaming spectators, professional AFL footballer, Brendan Ward, is injured.  Devastated and desperate to recover, Ward’s family forces him to front the fabled racetrack’s horse-whisperer, or face risky surgery.

Zara Phelps is a Reiki Master who specialises in racehorses—not humans. She rescues and rehabilitates animals—not adults. So there is no way she’d touch some fancy footballer as part of her day job.

Yet, when this unwilling pair meet their world unexpectedly tilts… towards each other.

Ward only meant to seek Zara’s help to heal him, but never realised the depth of his injury.

Zara only meant to treat Ward as a patient, instead he tests her professional and personal ethics. Does Zara have the talent to help Ward without shredding what’s left of her soul?

Will Ward ever stand under those stadium lights again, or will he be forced to sit on the sidelines forever? And if so, at what cost—the love of his life or the life he loves?

The Football Whisperer dishes out healthy doses of humour and healing, that go hand in hand in this heartfelt story of two different people, from two different worlds, who face their fears together for love.


In life, the main players of The Football Whisperer from Australian author Mel A. Rowe, play completely different games but their worlds collide when Ward, a professional Australian Rules Football player, suffers an almost career ending injury. Zara, otherwise known as the ‘horse whisperer’, is sent in to weave her magic on the injured Ward. An undeniable attraction flourishes between these two, but Zara isn’t willing to commit, fearing her past and professionalism will be at stake. The Football Whisperer is a story of love, faith, trust, family and overcoming obstacles. It is a truly delightful novel that will appeal to romantics and general readers alike.

I first caught sight of The Football Whisperer, after reading an insightful interview with the author of this engaging book, Mel A. Rowe on a fellow blogger’s site. It immediately went on my wishlist, as the promise of a love story with a small town romance feel, along with the focus on an AFL football player seemed to draw me in. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. I took it with me over the weekend as a beach companion and it proved to be the perfect read for these conditions. I was committed from page one and my interest continued for the entire novel.

Mel A. Rowe has cast some great leading characters in her novel. Ward took some time for me to like, but once I understood his back story and past hurts, my sympathy line shifted. Through Ward’s character we get an insider’s view of life as a sporting superstar, the perks, as well as the pitfalls of living life in the spotlight. The AFL sequences in this novel came across as authentic and well researched. In contrast, Zara, Ward’s therapist, is very different to Ward but she is outlined superbly by Rowe. It is hard not to take an immediate liking to Zara, I felt very in tune to her character. What I loved most about Zara was the fact that I learnt so much about alternative medicine and therapy techniques such as the art of reiki.

The supporting line up in The Football Whisperer adds so much to the unfolding narrative. Max, the rescued dog, was simply marvellous and he transferred so well on to the pages of the novel. His past was sad, but there was a great deal of hope and happiness in his tale too. I loved his connection to Ward! Likewise, readers will be sure to enjoy moments in the novel provided by the secondary cast, from Ward’s family, especially his sister Tina and Zara’s kindly family too. I can’t go without mentioning Sheldon, Ward’s nemesis, he has such presence! I definitely think Sheldon needs his own story! Rowe has penned a great set of characters to fill the pages of her novel, that’s for sure!

The Football Whisperer is a contemporary novel with romantic elements. This is not a hot and heavy passionate style romance, but rather a slow burn style love story. This kind of romance is my personal preference and I really appreciated Rowe’s approach in this area. Connected to the romance side of things in The Football Whisperer are the very personal back stories of the leads in this novel, which ultimately impacts on their willingness to commit to a future together. When Ward expressed his past love experiences, it struck a chord with me and helped me to develop a better understanding of his character. When Zara finally reveals why she is unable to work on human patients, along with why she refuses to let herself fall for Ward completely, it is truly heartbreaking. Rowe certainly plays with your heart, but the journey is well worth it. The final result in between Ward and Zara is just spot on.

I hope you can do yourself a favour and seek out The Football Whisperer to read if you appreciate small town romances, complicated love stories and contemporary themes. The Football Whisperer comes with a full seal of approval. Put it on your to – read list without delay!

The Football Whisperer by Mel A. Rowe was published on 23rd October 2018 by Mel A. Rowe. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of  The Football Whisperer, Mel A. Rowe visit here

The Football Whisperer is book #139 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge.


10 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: The Football Whisperer by Mel A. Rowe

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