Friday, 20 November 2015

The Day of Second Chances - Julie Cohen - wonderfully absorbing

The publishers description

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love - or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment.

Is it too late for second chances?

My thoughts

I've read some lovely books recently and this is another brilliant read which blew my socks right off!

It's difficult to praise a book I loved without resorting to cliches and overuse of superlatives, so I won't even try and avoid them. I found it to be incredibly enjoyable, terrifically captivating and wonderfully heart warming.

It's an absorbing and moving story of relationships, and love and secrets. Focussing on the interconnected lives of 3 women, 3 generations, 3 very different secrets. Theres a lot of warmth and love and hugely believable relationships yet there are a few gritty issues faced by the characters keeping it firmly grounded in realism.

Between these pages we meet Jo, she's 40 with 2 marriages behind her and 3 children, a teenage daughter and 2 lively, loveable, handfuls of toddler Oscar and Iris around whom her whole world revolves.

Jo is so ordinary, so normal and so very special! When life offers her a glimpse of happiness for her alone she finds it hard to put herself first for once. We meet her when she is struggling onto a busy bus, overladen with shopping, a buggy and 2 very lively toddlers, this scene paints her life so realistically I was there on the bus with her and despite never having been in this situation myself I could SO feel her frustration, exhaustion and desire to remain smiling. She deserves some happiness.

Lydia is her teenage daughter, bright, with a great future ahead of her, many friends including her bff Avril, exams are looming and her secret threatens to spill over, she battles to keep it hidden despite the fact its almost killing her not to reveal it. She is a typical angst ridden teenager whom Jo finds it increasingly bewildering and difficult to deal with, her sweet loving little girl is rapidly growing into a woman concealing a life altering awareness she can't bring herself to face head on.

Into this family comes Honor, Jo's Mother in law from her first marriage the 2 women have never seen eye to eye in fact they can barely tolerate each other. When Honor falls downstairs she is reluctant to ask for support, but having been completely alone for many years Jo is the person she is forced to turn to. Honor is feisty, intractable, irascible and fiercely independent, she's not a warm cuddly Nana, isn't used to children and likes her own company, so it's unthinkable that she could fit in with Jo's noisy slapdash household.

Honor is the character I most closely related to, when she is first introduced to a noisy family meal with toddlers screaming and a sulky teenager I cringed with her.

The lives and pasts of these 3 incredibly real women are so stunningly written, believable and incredibly moving, that what could be an everyday family drama is transformed into a page turner I just couldn't put down. I was so deeply immersed in their lives, I emerged at the end, blinking and wondering who and where I was!

By featuring 3 women equally each of a different generation the book will assuredly appeal to women of any age from Teen, to Mum to Grandmother so if you're a woman - I think you'll relate more to one character than the others but I'm certain you'll love them all.

Author Julie Cohen has already written 2 previous fabulous novels which I loved, the Richard and Judy choice Dear Thing and the wonderful Where Love Lies which I just heard today has won a prestigious award Best Romantic Read 2015. Very well deserved, congratulations Julie. I have no doubt in my mind that this, The Day of Second chances will be as great a success.

My thanks go to the super for providing my copy to review and the wonderful publisher

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