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Years ago I read "Jemina J" by Jane Green. It was a "chick lit" book and I enjoyed it while reading it. But it wasn't so good that I was just dying to read more stuff by Jane Green. Over the past eight years, I've seen other novels of hers on the shelves at bookstores or in the library but I've never been inclined to pick one up. But, a trip to Santa Barbara and a realization that I needed something entertaining to read on the beach made me decide to give Jane Green another go with her novel, "Second Chance".

The book follows four former childhood friends, Holly, Olivia, Paul and Saffron, who've been brought together by the death of their friend, Tom, who's been killed in a terrorist attack. Holly is bored and in a loveless marriage to a successful divorce lawyer named Marcus, so she starts up a fling of sorts with Tom's younger brother, Will. Olivia's been dumped by her longtime lover, runs an animal shelter, wants to get laid and ends up sleeping with an American named Fred. Paul is married to an internet fashion maven named Anna but they can't get pregnant, and Saffron is a sort of successful actress, who's also a recovering alcoholic and having an affair with a top movie star.

Sounds like a good recipe for some great, page turning conflict, right? Except that "Second Chance" was really hard for me to get into and it failed to hold my interest. It's been two weeks since my trip to Santa Barbara and I just now finished it. I found the characters a tad predictable and I didn't really care deeply about any of them.

Infidelity plays a huge role in the stories of two characters, Holly and Saffron. Saffron's cheating with a married man but it's OK because he's in a loveless marriage. Holly starts cheating too, but it's also OK because she's in a loveless marriage. So, I'm left to wonder if the message is that if you're in a loveless marriage, go ahead and cheat.

I really didn't care enough about Paul and Anna and whether they were gonna have a baby, and Olivia just seemed desperate and in need of a safe sex chat. Towards the end, I got bored with all of the characters especially with all of Holly's whining. I started skipping pages.

So, will it be another eight years till I once again read a Jane Green novel? It might. I didn't feel that spark you feel when you've just closed a really, really great book and can't wait to read more of the author's work. At the end of the day, the teacher in me gives this chick lit installment a grade of C.


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