House of Second Chances is the sequel to Esther Campion’s 2017 novel Leaving Ocean Road, which I enjoyed a lot. I was keen to see what Ellen and Gerry were doing now. This novel does touch on Ellen and Gerry, but it is set more in Ireland with Ellen’s brother, Aidan being the main character in this one and her old school friend, Colette.
I very much enjoyed this novel, but I have to say it took me quite a while to get into it. There are an awful lot of characters I had to get my head around and found myself scrolling back on my kindle to try to figure out where I’d previously met each character. I did eventually get my head around them all. The characters are all great, I could easily relate to and empathise with the things they were going through.
It made a nice change to read a book where the main characters are my age and even more so that they are still searching for love just like me. Perhaps there is hope for me yet.
The story revolves around a cottage that Ellen and Aidan have been left by their grandmother to do up and make into something that will generate an income. Aidan, still living in Ireland and being a builder is predominantly in charge of the main aspects of this. Ellen has decided to enlist her friend Colette who is now a master interior designer in helping make their plans a reality. I’m sure there’s no need to tell you that Aidan and Colette don’t hit it off straight away. As well as not hitting it off they are still both dealing with the emotional fallout from past relationships that they haven’t been able to get past, despite the many years that have passed. As they interact and grow, learn things about themselves and each other, I continued to keep my fingers crossed that these two might be just what the other has been looking for.
I enjoyed the whole interior design/renovation theme, so many books these days seem to revolve around food and cooking, neither of which interest me at all, so this was a nice change and the descriptions were vivid enough for me to be able to imagine the various phases of the job, from start to finish. I wouldn’t mind going to stay there myself one day.
There were so many threads to the story, each one interwoven with the rest of the cast of characters. One of my favourites was Shane a wayward around 18 year old who is a nephew of Colette’s friend and business partner John. He adds some great scenes to the story and some of his antics made me grin, but I loved seeing how Collette and John influenced his future.
One of the young characters in the story suffers from an illness I’d never heard of, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a terrible disease that in this story takes its toll on the child and parents, as well as allowing us to be made aware of it.
The story flows along at a gentle pace until at about the 70% mark where a tradgey strikes that affects many of our characters, the pace seems to really pick up from this point on.
This was a feel good story, about friends, family and life, about not giving up on what your heart really wants out of life and taking the chances to make it happen. I am sure there’s going to be a third book in this series and if so, I’ll look forward to seeing where the various characters are in their lives.
Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for providing me with a digital copy to review.