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Second Chance: A Novel [Hardcover]

Sian James
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug. 17 2001
A warm, spirited, and intelligent novel about the complexities of family life...

Having returned home to deal with her mother's funeral, Kate Rivers is taking stock of her life. Though she has enjoyed some success in her acting career, her life isn't all she hoped it would be. She never married nor had the children she always wanted. And being an unofficial stepmother to her lover's twin daughters has not seemed the same, especially since Paul's girls have never given her a chance. Now, tragedy has also struck Paul's family, and just when Kate needs him most, it is he who needs a shoulder to cry on...

Unable to find any emotional support, Kate looks further afield for comfort and finds herself falling for a beautiful-and married-cousin, Rhydian. But is her affair a second chance at happiness, or just a dangerous infatuation? And then there is Paul to consider. He may still be in love with his first wife, but can Kate turn her back on him now?

In Second Chance, Sian James brings the signature stylistic panache and humor that won her much praise for Two Loves. With a keen eye and warm sensibility, she compellingly explores the troubles and rewards of modern family life.

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From Publishers Weekly

A 40-something British actress plunges headlong into a dangerous affair with her cousin in James' (Summer Storm) sixth novel, which begins when Kate Rivers is forced to take a break from her London career to settle family affairs back in Wales after the death of her mother. The mundane process comes with a risky potential bonus, though, when a visit from her cousin Rhydian, a handsome farmer with a wife and three children, kindles a serious spark. Their awkward efforts to get together are quickly complicated by Kate's divorced boyfriend, Paul, when his family completely comes apart after one of his college-age twin daughters is accused of manslaughter and the other commits suicide during the police investigation. James spends too much prose early on describing the details of Kate's childhood, but once the story gets going she delivers the various plot twists with brisk pacing and suspense, as the whirlwind of family activity keeps Kate's affair in suspended animation. That stasis fizzles into a disappointing, rather hurried resolution, as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place after the family explosion. James has a fine eye and ear for the details of small-town Welsh life, and the middle chapters are riveting and emotionally complex, but their excellence makes the ending seem all the more lackluster. Kate Rivers is a memorable character, but she deserves a more intriguing fate than her creator was able to deliver.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Are there second chances? For everyone or a chosen few? English actress Kate is in need of a second chance. However, she doesn't seem happy with what she did with her first. She is in her forties and has had some moderate success as an actress, has never married, has no children, and her serious relationship is with a man still tied to his ex-wife and his twin girls. Her mother became unbalanced after her husband--whom Kate now suspects was gay--left home. When her mother dies suddenly, Kate makes a trip home to sort out both her mother's situation and her own. Her discovery of a letter her mother had begun to write to her hints that her mother was about to grab her own second chance. Tragedy follows tragedy, as not just her mother but yet another person in Kate's inner circle dies, leaving her more confused and torn than ever. Meeting her cousin Ryhdian again may provide a catalyst for a change in her life and for a second chance. Marlene Chamberlain
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of love story July 25 2001
Format:Hardcover
When she was a very little girl, her father walked out on her mother and her. Kate River's mother had a nervous breakdown and was unable to take care of her. Instead, Kate acted more like the adult in their relationship, making sure her mother ate, bathed and got out of bed. By the time she was seventeen, Kate was an adult taking full responsibility for her mother.
Kate moves to London to become an actress and over the years, she has had some success in her chosen profession. At forty-three, she has lived with her significant other for several years, but the pair plan to marry soon. When her mother dies in Wales, she goes to the funeral alone because her lover is involved in a crisis with his ex-wife and their daughters. In the midst of the gloom, Kate meets her first cousin once removed and falls in love with him. The only problem is that he is a farmer tied not only to the land in Wales, but to his wife and three children with one more on the way. Just when she thinks her lot in life will never get any better, a miracle occurs that gives Kate a second chance at a new and different existence if she grabs it.
Sian James is a born storyteller who makes Wales come alive in the imaginations of her readers. All of the characters are very complex and realistically portrayed. The audience will empathize with them even though they might not agree with all the choices they made. SECOND CHANCE lives up to its title while inspiring the readers with hope for the future.

Harriet Klausner
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of love story July 25 2001
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When she was a very little girl, her father walked out on her mother and her. Kate River's mother had a nervous breakdown and was unable to take care of her. Instead, Kate acted more like the adult in their relationship, making sure her mother ate, bathed and got out of bed. By the time she was seventeen, Kate was an adult taking full responsibility for her mother.
Kate moves to London to become an actress and over the years, she has had some success in her chosen profession. At forty-three, she has lived with her significant other for several years, but the pair plan to marry soon. When her mother dies in Wales, she goes to the funeral alone because her lover is involved in a crisis with his ex-wife and their daughters. In the midst of the gloom, Kate meets her first cousin once removed and falls in love with him. The only problem is that he is a farmer tied not only to the land in Wales, but to his wife and three children with one more on the way. Just when she thinks her lot in life will never get any better, a miracle occurs that gives Kate a second chance at a new and different existence if she grabs it.
Sian James is a born storyteller who makes Wales come alive in the imaginations of her readers. All of the characters are very complex and realistically portrayed. The audience will empathize with them even though they might not agree with all the choices they made. SECOND CHANCE lives up to its title while inspiring the readers with hope for the future.

Harriet Klausner
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