Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Second Chance

Second Chance by Joy Collins
(iUniverse.com / 0-595-45602-4 / September 2007 / 252 pages / $16.95)

Joy Collins used imaging software to create the cover of her first novel, and the meticulous attention to detail continues to the end of Second Chance. Although iUniverse labels the book as being in the romance genre, I am not sure I agree with that. The storyline is more akin to the script of one of those rare television movies made for the women's channel that are not predictable from beginning to end. Second Chance is most assuredly a book for women, although I would classify it more as a family psychodrama than a romance. There are a few tearjerker elements present, too, but these are not so overbearing that no man would enjoy the book. I certainly appreciated its tight editing, show-don't-tell writing style, and realistic plotline. All the characters and subplots are well constructed, too.

The premise of the story is that several lead characters are in the midst of turmoil over the inter-family relationships of divorced and remarried couples. Sara Weber tells the story from her viewpoint as her husband's ex-wife has wreaked emotional havoc over Sara's relationship with her husband since they married a decade earlier. The ex-wife's spiteful jealousy had long ago sent Sara and Paul packing for Arizona, leaving their previous and current families back in the Northeast, hopefully some distance in the past. The plotline grows as Sara's mom is nearing the point of no return and must be placed in a nursing care facility by Sara's sister, Angela, who has her own personal problems to present to the reader. Paul's vengeful ex-wife wants their teenaged daughter to move to Arizona and attend college there while living with Paul and Sara. The whole soap opera moves at a sharp clip, with the emotional twists and turns aptly displayed through poignant dialogue.

Joy Collins is the sort of author we seek out here at iUBR. Although Second Chance is her first novel, the maturity of plot development and compositional style is exemplary, and you'll need your special Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass to spot the few, minimal typos and technical glitches. As a nurse born a Yankee and now living in Arizona, Ms. Collins has written what and where she knows, and the appropriate details add color and legitimacy to the story. For example, she incorporates the notion of quickly emerging flash floods indigenous to the desert cities into her plot, and yes, I know it's true because I have been there and seen it for myself. It never occurs to outsiders to consider the dangerous situation that can result, and Joy includes this into her storyline. Good show, Ms. Collins! Keep up the good work!

See Also: Tabitha's B&N Review
Tabitha's Authors Den Review
The Author's Website

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