and one of the biggest reasons that I loved this one is right there in the title...'Second Chance'...we all want them...need them and mostly we deserve them and this book is about just that second chances...so many second chances for so many people.
First there's Nate and Jack. Childhood friends who are reunited after years of separation and change. Both men have had so many changes in their lives and now here they are at the age of 45...that's right folks, our MCs are not young men. They're mature men...men who have been through a lot, they've been through good and bad and now they've come home to the place where they both started their lives and their friendship. A place that's filled with memories for them both...good and bad memories.
Jack's trying to get his life together after a bad break-up that sent him into a serious downward spiral...depression and addiction are his constant companions and Jack really wants to change that and it's going to take time and the help of his parents to get past everything and rebuild his life.
Nate's come home to help his mom following the death of his father and to get his daughter away from life in a larger city and temptations that seemed to be around every corner waiting to lead a young person astray. It's been years since Nate's lived in the small village...the place where people knew him as 'Nat or Natalie'...Nate's transgender and he's not use to living in a place where this is common knowledge.
In among the backdrop of the main story which is about Jack and Nate's second chance to return to the friendship that they shared years ago but maybe to have even more...something that Nate has secretly wanted since their school days. We have Nate's daughter, Cass. Who's given a second chance to get her life on track after having run off the rails when they were in the city. We have Nate's mom, who's getting a second chance to have a relationship not just with her Granddaughter but her son and while things were never bad between them...they weren't nearly as good as they could have been and this is her chance to change that...to fix it and there's Jack's parents who also need that second chance to try and get things right with their son.
Now don't misunderstand me while these are some of the second chances that happen in this story and there's at least one more but I'm not going into that one. It doesn't mean that they all happen or that things are perfect. Each second chance has its own solution and degree of positive outcome and that's part of what made this story work so well for me.
What I loved even more than the fact that this is a wonderful second chance story not just for Nate and Jack but for some many other people in it...is the fact that one of the second chances that it's about is Nate. Not just Nate's second chance with Jack but it's about his second chance to live life as the real Nate...Nate the man and not Natalie the woman the person that everyone else mistakenly thinks he is.
'Second Chance' is a story about love, second chances and it's told from a realistic perspective it's not about over the top magical solutions. It's two men dealing with what life has thrown their way one gay and the other gay and transgender and they're real. They're living with their parents because that's where life has taken them, reuniting as two people who were once friends and want to revive that friendship but in the process what they realize is that they both want more than their friendship...they want a chance at a life together. Sure they have misunderstanding but then they do what grown-ups do...they talk about it. But more than this is the perspective we are given into the more intimate times between these two men. It's real and there's passion and humor, awkward moments, interruptions and even a moment or two of frustration...ohmygod!!! It's like real life!
While every story is unique, each of us can often see bits and pieces of our story or that of some one we know in the story of others. It's often that commonality that draws us in and lets us relate to what we're reading. For me 'Second Chance' held tiny little pieces of a story that while it's not mine, is one that I'm almost as familiar with as my own and it was those small pieces that connected me to this story and kept me engaged and wanting to read it all. This one's definitely going on my favorites shelf...well done Mr. Northcote...very well done indeed! Thank you.
An ARC of 'Second Chance' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.