Set in London, in the noughties, sometime after the smoking ban, and before the great 21st century recession...
James has always believed in happy ever after, and he plans to get there one day. He is doing okay. At the age of thirty-three, he has a top job, dream house, two healthy children, and a wife who always stands by him. These things, James can rely on, until one day, when everything changes, and he realises that he has spent so long looking towards the future, that he has neglected the present.
Feeling unloved, his wife, Pamela, has left him, leaving nothing but a brief note. She has taken their two children.
How far will James go to save his marriage?
What can Pamela do to stop the past haunting her life? Will it be enough?
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By Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick
Nov 2, 2010
This novel would work beautifully as a four act play. The dramatic tempo is nearly perfect; the characters are well exposed in just their dialogue. It would be riveting to hear this text spoken because it is riveting enough on the page. The key to this working in either form, is the gift of the author for wrenching emotions, and crushing self-doubt. Has that made this a depressing story? Absolutely not. No. ‘Second Chances’ by Maria Savva, is actually very tight, disregarding the fact the characters hop on international flights a couple of times. We don’t watch these two main characters from much distance at any point of the story. This is very intimate, and a stage would enhance that. It would be stunning. The subject is quite sad, and very life-like. Pam and James do not have a made-for-each-other marriage. What marriage they have, can hardly bear the strain of silence they have imposed upon one another. Silence they have created because they are each tormented, so deeply they... More > cannot express any part of it. Maria does not allow her characters any privacy, nor does she introduce their problems over any gentle length of time. Pam and James certainly arrived at this moment, over years of strain and hesitation. But, Maria introduces them to us at the precise point that they can no longer contain their individual torments. They are literally flung apart, and we are washed by their heartache. We don’t journey to that point, we journey away from it. How do people act, when broken so completely? They act rashly. How do people confront the loss of nearly everything they hold dear? They wallow in self accusation. In that one little slice of human nature, Maria hangs her entire moral, and she does have one. Pam and James blame themselves – more deeply than they blame one another. ‘Second Chances’ avoids any hints of a love story, the characters don’t dwell on that emotion; this is a doubt story. By finding a way to overcome their self-doubts, Pam and James turn this into a story of trust. Something as valuable as love could ever be.< Less
Maria Savva is a great storyteller and Second Chances is no exception. I particularly liked the way both male and female points of view were portrayed, so that the reader could understand both sides of the story. Second Chances has an easy to read style and successfully delves into the ups and downs of relationships where most, if not all, of us can certainly relate. Not to give away any spoilers, I thought it clever how it was sprinkled with surprises – a few twists and turns, so that we’re not quite sure where things will lead...always a good idea. Altogether, a worthwhile read. I would recommend it. Julie Elizabeth Powell, author of Gone, Slings & Arrows, Knowing Jack, The Star Realm and Invasion
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