Review: Second Chance by Jane Green

Second Chance
Second Chance
Jane Green
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I first discovered Jane Green after a hot and tiring day of shopping last July. My desk had broken, and we’d been going from store to store looking for office furniture, when I remembered I still hadn’t completed one of the pre-conference assignments for a novel writing workshop I was to attend the next month.

We slipped into Borders, where I quickly lost track of the assignment, opting instead to browse books. The book that caught my eye was The Beach House, and even though I resisted buying it, I enjoyed it immensely when I finally read it.

When Second Chance caught my attention on another bookstore trip, I bought it, then promptly forgot I had it. Desperate for something to read during last month’s migraine extravaganza, I finally picked it up.

It’s one of Green’s first works, I think, because it’s not as smooth as later novels, but the story of old friends reuniting for another friend’s funeral, and using the event as a catalyst to change their lives is one that I found extremely compelling.

At times funny, at other times poignant, Second Chance is an excellent summer read, but it’s also perfect any time you want to curl up with lemonade and cookies, and escape for a while.

Book Review: The Beach House, by Jane Green

The Beach HouseThe Beach House
Jane Green
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I first saw The Beach House when I was working on a project for a writing conference I attended last August, but I resisted buying it. Then, last fall, I finally picked it up, because I was missing the sea and liked the title.

In this novel, Nan Powell, a sixty-five year old widow who lives in a sprawling home in a New England beachfront town, is faced with loneliness and a house that is both too large and to big to maintain, so she decides to rent out rooms for the summer.

As inevitably happens, the various tenants, who include a newly divorced mother and her teen-aged daughter, a recently divorced man who is coming to realize that he’s gay, and her own son who has never been able to commit to one woman, draw together to form a quirky, if loyal extended family.

What could be boring and predictable, in author Green’s deft hands, is lovely and poignant, at least in some places, and outright funny in others.

Goes well with a summer day and a pitcher of lemonade.