Category Archives: Friendship

Friday Feature Review: The Second Chance Store by Lauren Bravo

Title: The Second Chance Store by Lauren Bravo
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Friendship, Fiction
Length: 444 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


If clothes can get a second chance, why can’t we? Brimming with life, love, and the stories bound up in even the most everyday items, The Second Chance Store is a tale of friendship, loss, and dusting yourself off and starting over—a novel filled with humor and a testament to the enduring power and joy of charity shops.

City dweller Gwen feels like she’s living a secondhand life. She’s thirty-eight, perpetually single, and in dire need of a dentist’s appointment. Her friends are busy procreating in the country, and conversations with her parents seem to revolve entirely around hedge borders and the trash pickup schedule. Above all she’s lonely. But then, isn’t everyone?

Then she’s let go from a job she drifted into a decade ago and never left, and Gwen realizes it’s time to make a change, starting with cleaning out her apartment. In the charity shop where she literally and metaphorically unloads her baggage, she discovers a group of weird and wonderful people devoted to finding a new home for donated items that have lost their use elsewhere. Gwen volunteers there—and finds a new home for herself among her fellow workers while discovering joy in the untold stories of secondhand things.

Now it’s time for Gwen to get out of her life in pause, and to find a way to move forward with bravery and humanity—and more regular dental care.


The Second Chance Store by Lauren Bravo is a lovely novel of new friendships and beginnings.

After losing her job, Gwen Grundle takes stock of her life which comes up lacking. Deciding to make changes, she begins volunteering at a local charity shop. Gwen works with an eclectic group of people where she also finds unexpected connections and friendships. She also reflects on her strained relationship with her parents. Will Gwen find the impetus to pick up the pieces of her life and find happiness? Or is she doomed to repeat the mistakes of her past?

The novel’s pacing is a little slow as Gwen struggles to find the energy she needs to move forward after losing her job. Two unexpected plot twists offer the reasons for how she ended up in her current situation. Gwen is not the most likable character but the people she meets at the charity shop are quite interesting. In between chapters are short vignettes about the objects that end up in the charity shop. While the importance of these detours is not always apparent, they do play a vital role in the unfolding story. The novel ends on an uplifting note that readers will appreciate.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, Friendship, Lauren Bravo, Rated C+, Review, The Second Chance Store

Friday Feature: Author Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain has been an autobuy author of mine ever since I read her riveting novel Keeper of the Light. I stayed up all night reading that book, and I continue to occasionally re-read it to this day. Her other novels are just as compelling and I still stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading her stories.

If you have not read any of Ms. Chamberlain’s works, then I suggest you begin with:

Title: Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 512 pages


Dr. Olivia Simon is on duty in the emergency room of North Carolina’s Outer Banks Hospital when a gunshot victim is brought in. Midway through the desperate effort to save the young woman’s life, Olivia realizes who she is—Annie O’Neill. The woman Olivia’s husband, Paul, is in love with.

When Annie dies on the operating table, she leaves behind three other victims. Alec O’Neill, who thought he had the perfect marriage. Paul, whose fixation on Annie is unshakable. And Olivia, who is desperate to understand the woman who destroyed her marriage.

Now they are left with unanswered questions about who Annie really was. And about the secrets she kept hidden so well.

Here is my review of her latest novel The Midwife’s Confession:

Title: The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Friendship
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: A

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley

Dear Anna,

What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I’m so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle’s suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn’t know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle’s friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

The Review:

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain is a compelling mix of secrets, lies, betrayals and ultimately, forgiveness and it will leave readers with one burning question. How well do I really know my friends and loved ones?

Tara Vincent, Emerson Stiles and Noelle Downie have been close friends for twenty years. Noelle’s shocking suicide leaves Tara and Emerson reeling and looking for the answers to their many unanswered questions. Their search uncovers a tangled web of secrets and deceit, and it will forever change their lives.

The Midwife’s Confession is told in first person from all of the key characters points of view. Flashbacks and present day events weave together to tell the breathtaking story of Noelle, Emerson, and Tara’s friendship. Ms. Chamberlain expertly keeps the reader guessing as she slowly reveals one devastating secret after another.

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain is full of surprising twists and turns and jaw dropping revelations. Powerful emotions, strong characters and a gripping storyline keep the pages turning at a blistering fast pace as the novel reaches its stunning conclusion. The Midwife’s Confession will touch your heart and linger in your thoughts long after you have finished reading this incredibly moving story of friendship.

For more information, please visit Ms. Chamberlain’s website

My review was originally posted at The Readers Roundtable

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Filed under Contemporary, Diane Chamberlain, Fiction, Friday Feature, Friendship, Mira, Rated A, The Midwife's Confession