This is a sumptuous book. On the surface it appears to be a wholesome, heart-warming romance, but in fact it's a dissection of relationships and what motivates people to do what they do. Weaved amongst the pages, there are characters who enjoy subjugating others for pleasure - using their weakness to dominate and deceive. And in balance, there are other characters who show compassion, genuine care and interest for another's life and wellbeing. These secondary characters create a maze of emotions for the main characters to navigate through. Connie's gentle but captivating writing style takes you on that journey and you live those experiences, the hurt, the joy and of course, the hope of there being a chance to find love again. The central character Abby is a truly delightful woman who is jilted at her wedding by her fiancé Adam. Throughout the book, the reader, like Abby is waiting for the reason why. This immediately invests the reader to feel Abby's pain but also delivers a heightened sense of intrigue. What would really make someone say they can't marry their beloved on their big day? As a writer myself, all kinds of scenarios manifested in my mind, and this only drew me further into the story. It must be said, I'm not a chick lit kind of girl, and my usual diet is that of hard core thrillers that hold nothing back, however Second Chances enthralled me and I loved reading it. I can't pretend that at times I wanted Abby to explode and give certain characters a good thrashing or at least a vicious whipping with her tongue! Although, I understand that it wouldn't have been in her character at all, it would however have delivered just 'Desserts' to people who mistreated her. Abby as a woman, has a bit of 'super' attached to her; she makes great desserts from the crack of dawn, is a successful business woman, looks ravishingly edible herself (even with no make up!), spends time with elderly friends, organises her best friend's party & wedding and is a great track driver (with virtually no training!). Is it any wonder men are fighting over her? And yet, all of this doesn't come over as heavy or unbelievable. It all seems natural, and therein lies the skill of Connie's writing. The character of Max, I didn't warm to at first, as I was seeing him through a lens Connie wanted me to see through. An interesting device which kept me hooked, and I was pleased to be enlightened to his real disposition when that moment came. The focus on desserts and cakes is a fascinating aside, and enables the storyline to be seamlessly strung through, giving rise to long, lingering looks over the ice cream cakes. Such scenes also made me feel quite hungry whilst reading! Overall, Second Chances is a superb read by a talented author with much more to entice and attract than your average cupcake chick lit. Highly recommended.
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