Prosaic and lyrical, Diane Meier remains blunt and salacious at the same time in “The Season of Second Chances”. She reinforces the fact that men and women speak to women in order to express their feelings. Women and our friends are our connections to our emotional life.
The protagonist, Joy Harkness, is an academic, a tenured professor at Ivy League Columbia University in New York City. An offer for an exciting new position at Amherst College in Massachusetts drops at her feet, and to her own surprise she accepts it immediately. She realizes that nothing holds her to New York. No friends, no academic appeal – she is sick of rhetoric and academic posturing. Like many academics, she lives through her literature, her head and internal imagination, or, rather hides there.
Joy is 48 and has no expectations. She believes herself to be mousey and over the hill, and she forwards the idea to keep people from getting close to her. But the minute she steps into her new, homey and welcoming office in Amherst, and buys an old Victorian house that is falling apart at the seams, people envelope her. At the house, she has Teddy Hennesey, a gifted but emotionally stunted home restorer. At the office, Fran, her secretary and Josie O’Donnell, a fellow professor swoop down and take her in. She trips into the hazardous world of relationships. Joy has one short term relationship with Will – the other women on campus call him “The Coyote” which ends badly. Josie and Fran sustain her. Then she and Teddy begin to fall into the steps of another relationship as they rebuild her house with Teddy’s love and fantastic sense of what really works for Joy and her house. And Joy slides into a slippery emotional morass that she has never experienced before.
Virginia Wolff, Edith Wharton, Henry James (Joy’s specialty) become motifs as Joy’s emotions melt, and she finds her vulnerability, strength and beauty – and enters a life full of hurts, emotional depth, love and forgiveness.
Sensitive and divinely written, we explore this novel as Joy explores her place in it, and like the “Ya Ya Sisterhood”, realize that women will always be there for other women – that’s what we do.
Like a beautiful scent that lingers, “The Season of Second Chances” stays on our skin, right through our pores, and into our bones.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Book Review by Broad “A” – Ava
The Season of Second Chances is available for pre-order at Amazon.com $16.50
Thank you to the Henry Holt Books for providing this title for our book review as well as this giveaway. We were in no way paid or compensated for our opinions.
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