St. Martin's, August 2001, 22.95, 240 pp.
When she was a very little girl, her father walked out on her mother and her. Kate River's mother had a nervous breakdown and was unable to take care of her. Instead, Kate acted more like the adult in their relationship, making sure her mother ate, bathed and got out of bed. By the time she was seventeen, Kate was an adult taking full responsibility for her mother.
Kate moves to London to become an actress and over the years, she has had some success in her chosen profession. At forty-three, she has lived with her significant other for several years, but the pair plan to marry soon. When her mother dies in Wales, she goes to the funeral alone because her lover is involved in a crisis with his ex-wife and their daughters. In the midst of the gloom, Kate meets her first cousin once removed and falls in love with him. The only problem is that he is a farmer tied not only to the land in Wales, but to his wife and three children with one more on the way. Just when she thinks her lot in life will never get any better, a miracle occurs that gives Kate a second chance at a new and different existence if she grabs it.
Sian James is a born storyteller who makes Wales come alive in the imaginations of her readers. All of the characters are very complex and realistically portrayed. The audience will empathize with them ever though they might not agree with all the choices they made. SECOND CHANCE lives up to its title while inspiring the readers with hope for the future.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner