The Season of Second Chances by Diane Meier

The Season of Second Chances: A Novel
Joy Harkness receives an offer of a dream job. She’s ready to leave the snobby academia of her current job to be part of a new program at Amherst. After the decision to accept the new job is made she makes the surprising decision to buy a fixer-upper. And even more surprising is Teddy Hennessy, the remodeling contractor who becomes much more.

Teddy and Joy seem as opposite as two people can be but it turns out they have a few things in common. They both experienced the loss of a loved one when they were quite young and were left unable or unwilling to have long-lasting relationships. After a brief marriage, Joy left St. Louis for New York and never looked back. She built her career and thought she was happy. As a young man Teddy started fixing things around his mother’s house and then those of her friends. He built quite a reputation for quality work and an eye for color and detail. When Joy bought her dilapidated house everyone pointed her toward Teddy.

After a few disaster dates with some of the University’s resident coyotes and a spectacular error in judgement (on Joy’s part), she and Teddy fall into a comfortable relationship. Together they become part of a larger group of friends who help each other when tragedy strikes. Joy learns the truth of “there’s the family your born with and then there is the family you choose”.

This is truly Joy’s story. One of the many lessons she learns is that it’s a good thing to really care about people – that they may actually care about her, with no ulterior motives. She learns this at the tender age of 48. Diane Meier’s debut novel is filled with interesting, sensitive, and humorous characters. I think a book group would find a lot to discuss about The Season of Second Chances.

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Review copy from Henry Holt & Co.