When one thinks of a coming-of-age story, one rarely thinks in terms of a 48 year old Ivy League professor yet that is exactly the premise and the protagonist found in Diane Meier’s novel The Season of Second Chances. Joy Harkness leads a quiet, solitary life teaching in New York yet when given the opportunity to move to rural Massachusetts she not only eagerly accepts the position, she also purchases a large run down Victorian home. What ensues is an atypical coming of age in which Joy learns important lessons about love and life, friendship and family.
Written in Joy’s voice,The Season of Second Chances is heartfelt and humorous. I liked Joy. I understood her discomfort and her subconscious retreat from close relationships. I found the cast of characters enjoyable and the glimpse into academia fascinating. The Season of Second Chances also carries a subcontext that is, for lack of a better word, stylish. Author Meier is a former marketer and we see her good taste expressed in the decorating and furnishing of Joy’s new home.
As part of her newfound life and community, Joy finds herself in a relationship with her contractor Teddy, an incredibly talented artist in his own right. Like Joy, Teddy has his own relationship issues and unlike Joy he struggles to break free from them. I thought Teddy’s character the least believable of the novel. We know Joy cared for him because she tells us so yet I didn’t find her feelings all that plausible otherwise. In other words, his character seemed both flat and almost like a caricature. Some of the other characters’ relationships seemed a little forced, perhaps to make a statement or to seem more inclusive, I don’t know.
Some readers will want to know that there is some language, not much, a word or two here and there. We are told about the intimate relationship Joy shares with Teddy but that is pretty much all the detail we are given.
I liked The Season of Second Chances. It is a smart, well written novel and I’d like to thank author Diane Meier for sending me the review copy. I enjoyed it very much!
Would you like a copy of The Season of Second Chances? We’re giving away one signed copy to a 5 Minutes for Books reader who posts a comment below, US and Canadian addresses only!
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….