Carra’s memoir-writing class teaches seniors to resolve the regrets of their past. But to win over elder attorney Jay, will she follow her own advice? — The Queen of Second Chances by @AuthorDMBarrTweet
In dire financial straits, Carra is set up with a job interview in a senior center by her less than scrupulous step mother. The idea is that she would talk the elders into selling their homes. While Carra finds her mission to be distasteful, she realizes that she loves working with the seniors and she finds new ways to enrich their lives.
Jay, a lawyer specializing in elder law, is willing to financially support the center that is giving his Nana a place to spend her days, and soon he gets swept up in Carra’s machinations and enthusiasm. He finds that the carefully planned life he has made for himself is quite empty. This woman, who is nothing like the women who usually appeal to him, is making him rethink everything.
I am going against the grain here and call it like I see it. This book is not a romantic comedy. I would even go so far as to say that it really doesn’t fit my definition of romance, at least not the syrupy sappy love at first sight kind of romance that usually dominates the genre. Sure, we have girl-sees-boy (but boy doesn’t notice girl) and you know, “THUNK”. Then we move on to boy-sees-girl and you know, “WOW”. And, I did laugh, a lot, after all, how many great puns can a person endure with an absolutely straight face, but that wasn’t what stood out in this story for me. It was the journey that each of the MCs takes to get somewhere neither really ever intended. It was the subtle reveal that each was more than his/her insecurities and emotional baggage would allow them to believe of themselves.
I will say this is stellar Women’s Fiction, because in addition to Carra, there are some stellar women in this story. All of the SALADians come to mind. Genuinely interesting, highly entertaining, or just simply real, the characters leap off the page. Michaela, Jane, and Helen, to name but a few, but then all the boys are kind of fun too. Their individual stories are what kept me turning page after page
This is a story about second chances. Nearly every person in this book needs a second chance of some kind. The moral of the story is not only to grab at those chances when they come along, or to find a way to make them happen when they don’t, but really, that the second chances we give to others can be more important to us than it is to them.
D.M. Barr is a new author to me, but I will be making time to give her a second chance (probably a third and fourth one as well) to entertain me with her well written words and utterly charming characters.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Queen of Second Chances
by D.M. Barr
JULY 1-31, 2021 TOUR
Carra’s memoir-writing class teaches seniors to resolve the regrets of their past. But to win over elder attorney Jay, will she follow her own advice? Carraway (Carra) Quinn is a free-spirited English major confronting an unreceptive job market. Desperate for cash, she reluctantly agrees to her realtor stepmother’s marketing scheme: infiltrate a local senior center as a recreational aide, ingratiate herself with the members, and convince them to sell their homes. Jay Prentiss is a straitlaced, overprotective elder attorney whose beloved but mentally fragile Nana attends that center. More creative than mercenary, Carra convinces Jay to finance innovations to the Center’s antiquated programming. Her ingenuity injects new enthusiasm among the seniors, inspiring them to confront and reverse the regrets of their past. An unlikely romance develops. But when Carra’s memoir-writing class prompts Jay’s Nana to skip town in search of a lost love, the two take off on a cross-country, soul-searching chase that will either deepen their relationship or tear them apart forever.
Charming, funny, and heartwarming, The Queen of Second Chances is not just a love story where two people discover each other, it is a story of self-discovery. Like all good romances, this one starts with the two main characters loathing each other before slowly realizing that they are perfect together. But before either Jay or Carra can come to that realization, they have to work through their personal shortcomings. Carra feels like a failure and is unable to get past her mother’s desertion of her as a child. Jay, while his helping people who desperately need rescuing demonstrates his fundamental goodness, puts a little too much emphasis on wealth and status. Helping a group of seniors find fulfillment is the catalyst that allows both the main characters to embrace changing their own lives and then ultimately embrace each other. A joy to read, The Queen of Second Chances is the perfect mood lifter in these stressful times.
– S. LEE MANNING, AUTHOR OF THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED THRILLER, TROJAN HORSE
The Queen of Second Chances by D.M. Barr is a beautifully written story of two lost souls brought together by fate. Carra was such a wonderful character, her warmth and kindness towards others were admirable. She also put others’ needs before her own safety and this was highlighted during the car scene outside the Garrison house. She was perfectly matched to Jay. Although he seemed to enjoy a materialistic lifestyle, I feel he had a really good heart and when he met Carra, he found the missing piece in his life. My absolute favorite character was Helen; she was extremely insightful and wise even though she was suffering from the onset of dementia. Her words of wisdom throughout were poignant and powerful, especially her views on looking back in life: “It’s more important to heed the present because that’s what it is, a gift. Nothing lasts long in this life, which is why every moment matters. You can’t take anything or anyone for granted.” I found the relationship between Jay and Carra developed gradually and the dialogue exchanges between them were very realistic. I loved the twist towards the end concerning Jay’s background and the nail-biting ending was brilliant. I feel there are so many underlying messages throughout too. For example, live for the moment, never be afraid to chase your dreams, and forgive yourself for mistakes you have made in your past. I highly recommend this novel.
– LESLEY JONES, FOR READERS’ FAVORITE
The Queen of Second Chances by D.M. Barr is a lovely, deftly written romantic comedy that fans of the genre will love.
– EDITH WAIRIMU FOR READERS’ FAVORITE
Genre: Contemporary Sweet Romance, Romcom, Chicklit Published by: Champagne Book Group Publication Date: June 7th 2021 Number of Pages: 204 ISBN:2940165375545 (ASIN B094GFWG3K)
Read an excerpt:
By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire. My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they’re off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won’t friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy. The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, as a real estate broker, I’ve never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed anyone at my local diet clinic. And I haven’t run away from home in fear that my husband was planning to off me. But that’s not to say that I haven’t wanted to…