Wheeler by Sara Butler Zalesky

wheelerGenre: Sports Romance, Women’s Fiction, Romance

Pages: 510

Published: July 2, 2016

Order on Amazon

Shelf it on Goodreads


It’s mid-June as the Women’s Elite team of Innovative Design Cycling prepares for the Aviva Women’s Tour, beginning in Bury St. Edmunds, England. American cyclist, Loren Mackenzie reluctantly accepts her new role as team captain and uses her tenacity, heart and spirit to bring her team back together after a disappointing showing in Philadelphia’s International Cycling Classic. While out on a training ride near Enfield, England, the Fates intervene with a bang, and the ball of Loren’s tightly wound life begins to unravel.

After a seemingly chance meeting with a Knight in a Shining Jaguar, British actor Graham Atherton, each feels the undeniable draw toward the other, and their touch holds a sense of familiarity. As the whirlwind romance between Loren and Graham intensifies, so does the media attention, much to Loren’s chagrin. The physical separation caused by both their careers doesn’t diminish their bond, and they discover just how deeply their souls are connected.

The World Tour continues with races in Italy, France, and Germany, where Loren and her IDC team face struggles and achieve victory together. But an insidious obsession stalks Loren, culminating in a horrific confrontation, taking her out of contention for the World Cup. Her injuries propel her into the darkness of her past, as Loren begins to recall memories she had long buried – for good reason.

With Graham at her side, can Loren face the trauma of her past and vanquish the demons within, or will betrayal and obsession defeat them both? Wheeler races across the genres of romance and women’s fiction while reeling in the newly emerging genre of sports fiction.


As a female athlete [runner!] there are aspects of this novel that I can truly relate to. Overcoming your inner demons, silencing or ignoring that voice that tells you to stop and you simply push through to prove to yourself you CAN. I totally get that.

Loren Mackenzie presents herself as a strong female who has been appointed the position as team captain amidst a very important season, the Aviva Women’s Tour in England. She aims to bring her team together after a disappointing Classic in the states. While on a training ride she ends up with a flat and that is where she meets Graham Atherton, a well-known actor, when he decides to stop and help her.

We are thrust into the world of Women’s Cycling, for those who think they’ll be lost it is explained well throughout the book how the time trials are, where and what comes next and the importance of each event.

At times I found the way the cycling events were thrown into the scenes were a little distracting and prohibited me from connecting to the characters and only later on when Loren is forced to take time off did I find myself truly invested in her character’s story. Why might you ask? The racing is fun, makes you feel as though you were at home or on the sidelines watching and listening to the commentators, but as stated previously it served to pull away from Loren in spite of being about her.

Once a tragedy occurs, Loren seems to break down considerably. Physically, emotionally and mentally. It takes its toll on her, those around her and even Graham. Graham is dealing with his own issues and has to put them aside because he wants to be there for Loren.

Their relationship becomes something of a whirlwind and rather instantaneous in the beginning. I found myself looking at the beginning of each chapter [which is actually dates. E.g. 11 June, 12 July] and it was at times difficult to believe things had become that deep/heavy that fast, but who am I to judge? I knew I was going to marry my husband within a month of meeting him. 😉

I really really enjoyed the last 200ish pages of the book, because I found that it balanced the cycling, relationships, and the romance better than the first half. That was when I couldn’t put it down.

All in all, a great debut novel, not to mention insight into women’s cycling.

sara-butler-zaleskySara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.

The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.

Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is ‘Wheeler’, a romantic, women’s fiction/sport novel, which combines the author’s romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.

Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.

Follow the author’s blog at sarabutlerzalesky.wordpress.com or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really.

What have you read lately? Share below.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s