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The Day of Second Chances by Julie Cohen

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‘You’re not the only one in this family with secrets.’ Honor put her foot on the step where Jo was sitting, and Jo moved over to let her past. Her mother-in-law climbed up steadily but slowly, grasping the handrail. Jo listened to each step and heard the brisk rap, finally, on her daughter’s door………excerpt from The Day of Second Chances 

When Jo lost her husband Stephen, her six year old daughter was the only remaining link between her and her mother-in-law, Honor. Honor Levinson had always thought that her son could have done better and had made no bones about it. Ten years after the fatal accident, when Honor has a fall, Jo opens her heart and her home to her…….‘You don’t like me,’ Honor said. ‘We have never liked each other, and Stephen’s death has set us free from each other. You don’t want me in your home; you don’t like visiting me. You’re offering out of guilt.’ ……….Jo’s niceness and cheer irritates Honor, a feeling she shares with Jo’s sixteen year old, Lydia.

Lydia takes this opportunity to get to know her grandmother……’Granny Honor is not a relaxing person. She’s angular and hard, not the way you think of a grandmother being. Mum has photos of her mum, my Nanny Carole who died before I was born, and she looks soft and huggy, even in her wheelchair, with a smile on her face in every picture. Granny Honor isn’t like that. She has this way of looking at you the same way that she looked at that book, as if she’s scrutinizing you, analysing you for what you’re really trying to say. Apparently she’s an expert in Russian literature, pretty much a genius. There’s a whole shelf in her study upstairs filled with books she’s written or contributed to, all with stiff, upright spines and titles that have colons in them. She gave me my first lesson on First Wave Feminism when I was like three years old…………..But she’s the reason I want to be a writer, I think, and definitely the reason why I want read English when (if) I go to Cambridge, instead of Physics like my dad. She’s so passionate about books, believes they really matter. Those have been the best conversations we’ve had: about books we’ve both read. They’re probably the only real conversations we’ve ever had, actually. I feel a little bit too stupid to talk to her about anything else………….’

The three women come alive in Julie Cohen’s new novel. In third person, from the viewpoint of all three, the story lays bare the emotional turmoil that many women can connect with. The author weaves a deeply moving tale, with each character standing out. Lydia’s diary entries make the narrative heart-rending.
Without giving much away, all I can say is, that this one is sure to keep you glued. All three women have a secret of their own; secrets that affect the fabric of their existence and that of the people around them.
Do they get a second chance?
Read to find out!!!
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This entry was posted on April 14, 2016 by in Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fiction and tagged , .
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