Step inside the home of Holly Mac and meet her successful, distinguished husband Marcus, notice how beautiful her home is and how gorgeous her children Daisy and Oliver are. You might say that they are the perfect family, but you would be very wrong…Holly is desperately lonely. She has spent her entire marriage trying to be the perfect wife but she is missing the one thing she really wants – a husband she can talk to, a soul mate to share everything with, someone like her first love and best friend Tom. Then a terrible tragedy finds Holly reunited with some old friends, and she soon realises that they too are each beset by their own problems. There’s Saffron, a Hollywood actress and a recovering alcoholic, in love with a very famous and very married actor. Then there are Paul and Anna who have a great relationship but months of IVF have destroyed them financially and Anna still isn’t pregnant. As the safety net of Holly’s life begins to unravel, she’s about to confront her problems head-on but is she ready for the change? And faced with a second chance at life, will she take it?
‘Second Chance’ follows the lives of four old school friends who are reunited after twenty years, when their friend Tom dies in an accident. They’ve all drifted apart and built separate lives for themselves; only when they’ve reconnected through their shared grief do they realise how much they’ve missed out on through not staying in touch.

Holly is really the main character in the book. She’s a married mother of two who’s discovered that she’s lost her true self sometime during the years of marriage to her controlling husband. It is Holly who is worst hit by Tom’s death; they’d been very close and Tom’s death brings to the surface everything else that’s wrong with Holly’s life. Is Holly strong enough to become herself again? Or has she spent so long pretending to be someone else that she now believes that’s all she can be?

Olivia, on the other hand, has found herself suddenly single again. She’s always been the quiet outsider of the group and says she’s fulfilled and happy in her life, but the others suspect differently. How will they find out if she’s really as content by herself as she claims?

Next is Paul, married to the beautiful and talented Anna; they‘re young, wealthy and in love. In fact their lives seem to be perfect, but they’re unable to have the baby that they so desperately want. Paul and Anna were definitely my favourite characters and I found myself really rooting for them and their baby dreams.

Finally, there’s Saffron, an actress based in LA who’s still waiting for her big break; a break which seems to be getting further away the older she gets. Is Saffron’s lifestyle as glamorous as she lets on, or has she got her own secrets just waiting to be uncovered? I really enjoyed reading about Saffron’s exploits and I loved the way that Jane Green uncovered her character little by little. I was very satisfied with Saffron’s ending.

Ever since I read my first Jane Green book I haven’t been able to get enough of her brilliant writing style; it’s easy to read and she’s very entertaining. She’s very capable of adding both tragedy and humour into her stories with equal skill. I couldn’t wait to start this book; the idea behind it seemed promising and the characters were an interesting bunch. However, I got to the end of the novel feeling a little disappointed – it just seemed to lack something. I don’t know whether it simply dragged on too long or whether the characters or the storyline just weren’t strong enough, but I didn’t end up enjoying this book nearly as much as Jane Green’s others. I would still recommend this novel, but I would advise readers to try some of Jane Green’s other work as well to get a better idea of what she is capable of.

3 stars

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