One Small Chance


Isabel and Simon have been pen-pals since 9th grade. They don't use their real names (Amelie and Elliot), never exchanged pictures, and have yet to meet in person. Their emails and letters have taken a more personal turn recently. Isabel is the head of a small English-only private school in Lisbon, Portugal. Being told she has no choice but to have an assistant makes her worry about her job security. Simon is a security consultant, sent to find missing funds in her school—as her assistant. Not the best way for them to finally meet.


Simon and Isabel make an interesting pair—especially with her thinking he's after her job. Set up in a realistic manner, Simon hiding his identity as her pen-pal while working on security makes sense and flows wonderfully. It does make Isabel cranky and not always likeable for how she treats him, and she can sometimes be a bit too much in her own head, but she comes around on her own. Although set in a foreign country the author never once attempts to wow readers with knowledge of another language by throwing it in just because. This novella is aimed at a specific religion, but readers will not be lost or overwhelmed or preached at because Isabel is new to the faith too, so those unfamiliar with terms will find their meanings. With mountains of local dishes readers will be looking up how to make, and a setting with just enough to flavor but not overwhelm, this novella will be a treasure in anyone's library.


Julie York