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Second Chance

ISBN: 10-0452289440

By Jane Green
Review by: Heather Darcy

January 2009

Second Chance, by Jane Green, the bestselling chick-lit author of novels like Jemima J. and Babyville delivers a somewhat predictable tale about grief, friendship, and love in her latest book.

The story begins as group of friends from the U.K. are reunited after twenty years when one of their friends, Tom, is killed in a terrorist attack in the U.S. Although they haven't seen each other much over the years, these once-close friends stayed in touch with Tom. Now, nearing forty, his friends get together before his funeral to rekindle old friendships.

Holly Macintosh, the strongest character in the story, seems to have everything. She seems to be married to the perfect man, has loving children, and an enviable career. But after a few pages, we realize she's married to someone who only loves the idea of Holly -- the perfect wife. As we learn more about Holly and her husband Marcus, you can't help but wonder why Holly married him in the first place. He's obviously a soulless twit, so it's really no surprise when Holly finds herself attracted Tom's younger brother. He's everything Marcus is not -- spontaneous, open, and not concerned with the artifice which has consumed their lives.

Paul, another member of this circle of friends, is the other half of a trendy "power couple." He's married to a gorgeous fashionista. Like Holly, they seem to have everything, too. The only thing that's missing from this couple's completely perfect life is a child. They've been through IVF, but Anna has not been able to get pregnant.

The other two characters in this group of friends are the "problem" friends. Saffron is an alcoholic actress who's having an affair with a famous Hollywood actor. If her character had been more well-developed and less paint-by-number, perhaps I would have cared more about her, but she really seemed like nothing more than a cliché, who drops in and out of the story when there seems to be some drama missing. The last character, Olivia, seems to be the most vulnerable and interesting. Her long-term relationship has just ended, and her story seemed much more unique than the other characters.

Overall, the pace of Second Chance is fast. A hundred pages goes by in no time. But I wanted more from the characters. I didn't know enough about them to care about them, as much as I had in Green's others novels, like Jemima J. and Babyville. The whole time I was reading the book, I couldn't help thinking it would really make an excellent movie. And if someone does make the book into the movie, Kate Winslet would be an excellent choice for the main character.

Editor's Note: Women Writers reviewed Jemima J & interviewed Jane Green in 2000. Check that out here.


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