‘Three women. Three very different lives. One life-changing adventure.
Charlie is a single mum unlucky in life. Her multiple jobs make barely enough to feed the family cat, never mind being able to give her son the life he deserves. So when an opportunity to make a lot of cash comes along, she simply has to take it.
Suzie has always wanted to be a mother. But fate has been cruel and now time is running out. Soon her final frozen egg will be destroyed and her last chance of having a baby will go with it. With her husband resolved to their childless life Suzie takes matters into her own hands.
Dawn is about to turn fifty and seems to have misplaced her mojo along with the car keys. But with an interfering mother-in-law and a gaggle of judgmental mums at her children’s school, it’s proving harder to find than a decent fitting bra. Especially after a series of highly embarrassing incidents…
Over the course of a year three lives are about to collide and as they do be prepared to laugh, cry and fall in love with these women as they discover how life can give you a second chance.’
Hey fellow book nerds, today I am a part of the blog tour for A Year Of Second Chances by Kendra Smith. It has been one hell of a tour so far and if you wish to see all the other blogs that Kendra has visited, I have pictures below that show which blog she has popped onto, all sharing reviews, book extracts and more. so check them out if you can!
Now onto my review, and I will also be sharing some exclusive writing from the book (at the bottom of the page), if my review doesn’t tempt you enough!
A Year of Second Chances follows the lives of three women, Charlie Suzie and Dawn. Each women is going through difficult moments in their lives and each dealing with what life throws at them in very different ways.
Charlie, a single mum of a teenage boy, Tyler. Charlie lives in disarray in every way possible, her house is a mess, she is in debt that has a loan shark knocking on the door demanding payment and she works multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.
Dawn is about to turn 50 and thinks her life needs some excitement, married to Eric with two young children, she decides to spice things up with the help of a website she found. The website has a list of ideas of ‘things to do before you turn fifty’, only they don’t always go to plan.
Suzie, a woman desperate to be a mother, but unfortunately has been dealt a cruel fate and after failed attempts at IVF, her and her husband decide to take a break. But never getting over the longing of wanting a child, when she discovers she has one last egg left to use, she takes drastic measures even if it is against her husbands wishes. Not caring the consequences, as long as she gets the child she has longed for.
How do these women come to be entangled with one another? Well, Dawn and charlie find themselves both caught out shoplifting. Charlie desperate to makes ends meet and Dawn because of a dare on a website she found, only thing is she didn’t think she would get caught! Whilst they have a chat about how Dawn accepted a dare from a website, Dawn realises that she recognises Charlie from the gym she attends. Charlie is a cleaner there. When they are left to leave the supermarket, Charlie finds dawn offering her a lift home and Dawn convinces Charlie to use her free gym membership from her boss and join her in some classes as it will be a laugh. When Charlie gets home she is faced with the slimy loan shark at her front door demanding payment however she can pay.
Suzie finds herself constantly gazing at mothers with their children and thinking of how she would love her children etc, she is so unhappy with life that she finds herself being unfaithful to Rex, hr husbad. She hates herself for doing it and feels nothing but guilt but she is so desperately unhappy that she is finding herself in these awful situations with no way out. It doesn’t seem to matter much that Rex is so loving and would do anything for her.
Dawn and Suzie are old friends from uni, and very different. Suzie sees Dawn as morally perfect and laidback whereas Suzie is uptight and unable to let loose. They go to the gym together and that is how Suzie first sees Charlie, Suzie is quite a snob and instantly judges Charlie on how she is dressed, because she looks far from Suzie’s glossy near perfect self. After the gym class Suzie confesses about her encounter with a stranger and how the IVF clinic emailed to say they have their last frozen embryo, they are now at the end of the year of keeping it and if a decision ins’t made they will destroy it. Suzie and Rex swore they would never do IVF, not after the last time when they fell pregnant and got excited…. only to lose the baby. But it is all Suzie has ever dreamed of. Dawn is very supportive and admits that if it was her, she wouldn’t be able to sit by and let it be destroyed either, that she would have to give it one last go.
When Suzie goes home that evening and suggests to Rex that they try one last time, he agrees to give it one last try, only she didn’t tell him that actually she wouldn’t be the one carrying the baby… you see she has decided the only way she will get her baby, finally, is to get a surrogate… And so Suzie calls round her friend Dawn to help her. After going online and sharing emails with a potential surrogate, she invites her over to her home and hopes to get some support and a second opinion from Dawn. When she answers the door who should it be but Charlie stood on the doorstep! Charlie, absolutely desperate to pay off her loan shark and help Tyler get through collage has decided to go with surrogacy to earn some money.
That is how these three women’s lives collide into one!
I could honestly talk all day and night about the ins and outs of this story but I have to stop and not ruin the story for anyone! I LOVED Dawn, she may actually be my favourite chracter. I loved that she didn’t want to sit around going stale as she hit the menopause, I love she followed through on dares, even when they went tits up and she ended up flashing everyone her lady garden at a dinner party, in front of the most stuck up school mum! Good on her, I think sometimes we all wish we could be more daring than we are and that quality in Dawn really endeared me to her. I think Charlie was easy to love because she just found herself in a real crappy spot in life, she didn’t mean to end up where she did and now she is desperately doing anything and everything she can to help out her son. Something I think ALL mums can relate to, we would all do anything for our kids even if we sometimes go the wrong way about it. As for Suzie, yes okay she doesn’t make it easy for us to like her, she is snobby, a control freak and doesn’t handle situations as well as she could… BUT I completely understand that desperation of wanting to be a mum, the heartbreak when it doesn’t happen again and again. I have been there myself. So I got her need to micro manage everything within her power, even if it drove people insane. I also got her desperation to want Charlie to eat well, have a clean house and be safe. She so desperately wants her baby to arrive safe and sound and is so terrified that Charlie may want to keep the baby that she becomes necrotic. So, after initially not warming to her the more I learned of her story the more I felt for her and understood her.
I kind of thought I knew how it would end, so I was GENUINELY, gobsmacked at what came up. I wasn’t sure how it was even possible but I liked that, I liked that I never saw that curve ball coming, so often you can see how stories will play out, so it is brilliant to be completely wrong!
I really enjoyed Kendra’s writing and I found it flowed brilliantly, making it really easy reading and hard to put down. Each chapter was a different woman’s story and each chapter ended leaving me wanting to know what would happen next, I couldn’t stop reading and I couldn’t wait to get back to each woman’s story. That isn’t easily done, yet Kendra did so effortlessly.
A touching story with brilliant humor that will make you genuiney belly laugh. Wonderfully written, it will touch your heart and remind us that no matter what life throws at you, you will get through it, even when you want the ground to swallow you up because your child got hold of your dildo!
I cannot recommend this enough, get your sun cream on and read away!
About Kendra Smith
Kendra Smith has been a journalist, wife, mother, aerobics teacher, qualified diver and very bad cake baker. She started her career in Sydney selling advertising space but quickly made the leap to editorial-and went on to work on several women’s magazines in both Sydney and London. With dual Australian-British nationality, she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and three children.
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