I don't often read women's fiction, but I was recently attracted by the cover and title of Jane Green's book, Second Chance.
Holly Macintosh is sitting round her kitchen table with her oldest friends she hasn't seen since school - now reunited by an unexpected tragedy and catching up on the past 20 years.
On the surface, they are all successful and happy. But scratch a little deeper after that extra glass of wine and it's not quite so straightforward: Paul and Anna are struggling to have a baby, Saffron the actress is still waiting for that really big break that at 39 is looking less and less likely, and Olivia, always the wallflower of the group, is newly single and mourning her lost love.
And what about Holly Mac? Can she and her husband Marcus get their marriage back on track for the sake of the children? Or has someone just come back into her life who will change everything forever?
In this book, Green tells the story of a group of people who haven't seen each other since they were best friends at school. When one of them dies in a terrible tragedy, the reunited friends work through their grief together and find that each of their lives is impacted in ways they could have never foreseen. I was surprised that Green chose to have the death occur in terrorist attack on American soil ; because I think a car accident, or some such less dramatic event would have served the exact same purpose. It was the fact of the death, rather than the means of it, that was important.
The characters are, perhaps unsurprisingly, a woman trapped in a loveless marriage; a happily married couple who can't conceive; a mousy one and a glamorous, alcoholic film star. Warm and witty, this is a story of friendship, of family, and of life coming full circle. I found this book quick to read. There is comfort in visiting with these familiar types and Green's characters, if not highly original, are engaging.It quite a heartening book and I will read more by this author.
Jane Green is the New York Times bestselling author of one cookbook (Good Taste), and nineteen novels, including the huge hits Jemima J., and The Beach House. With over ten million books in print in over twenty five languages, she is credited as being one of the founders of the genre, "chick lit".
She has had her own show on BBC Radio London, is a current storyteller for The Moth, was a correspondent for ABC News for the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, and is a regular guest on radio and television.
She has been featured in People, Newsweek, USA Today, Glamour, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph and Cosmopolitan amongst others, and lives in Connecticut with her husband, six children, 2 dogs, 5 cats, and 6 chickens.