One More Second Chance


As Lobster Cove’s high school principal, Julia Stewart juggles community moral controversies and a sour-grapes co-worker. She also has a school to run,  a little girl to raise, a mother firmly in the clutches of Alzheimer’s, a best friend battling cancer and an ex-father-in-law who puts the blame for divorce solely at her door.  All while said ex-husband has taken off to Thailand, abandoning his daughter. There are only two things left that make Julia smile: Ava and baseball. A distraught phone call from her mother saying Ava has fallen down the stairs sends Julia running to the hospital, but when the new, handsome Dr. Alex calls in family services to investigate, Julia adds another straw to the camel’s back.


“One More Second Chance” drapes the reader in intensity. Julia’s mother’s illness is written with eye-misting tenderness, but once introduced this thread is forgotten until the end. Several conflicts keep the reader bogged down. The relationship between secondary characters is delightful and professionally written. Julia’s numerous selfless acts are meant to endear her character, but she becomes too prickly to enjoy. The formula plot point “he’s leaving soon, I can’t fall in love with him” is repeated over and over. There is a disconnect when the brittle heroine spends a single hot night with the doctor and then abruptly rejects him, but he falls in love with her anyway.  

There is a poetic power when Ms. Richards creates vivid pictures of Maine and the intricacies of small town living. Life can be a struggle but there needs to be levity to balance it out. A contemporary novel spotlighting me quiere a pesar de mis defectos. 

Natasza Waters