Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunday Salon - Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick

If you had to do it all over again, would you still be working in the same field you originally went into after college?  Beth Kendrick gives four English majors the chance to start over again ten years after graduation in Second Time Around.  (Oh, and if you were an English major, as I was, this is a power trip.)

Five graduates of a small liberal arts college, Thurwell College in upstate New York, gather for a mini-reunion every year.  It's been ten years since graduation.  At thirty-two, Arden is a successful lawyer, while the four English majors bemoan their jobs, and say they all should have gone to law school.  Jamie is a  bartender in California.  Brooke, their Southern belle, works in the alumni office at the college.  Caitlin has her PhD in English, and is an assistant professor at another small college, while Anne is a copywriter.  Now that they're all mature women, they have other dreams; to be an events planner, to own a bed-and-breakfast, to be a novelist, to have a baby.  They're burned out, tired of their lives.

And, then they're given one million dollars, split four ways, to achieve their dreams.  But, each woman will discover that dreams can be hard work.  They each are empowered to change their lives, to discover what life could be like.  And, sometimes it takes dreams, and hard work, to find the strength in ourselves.

If you've read this blog long enough, you'll know I'm a fan of women's fiction with groups of friends.  I can also be quite critical of those books if the women aren't individuals.  I want the characters to stand out so I can tell them apart.  Kendrick succeeds in Second Time Around.  The women all have unique personalities and life plans.  But, they share a deep friendship, and love of life, that leads to laughter.  It's fun to watch them continue to grow, to find their own strengths.  When Brooke buys her dream bed-and-breakfast, she doesn't know what awaits her.  There's humor and romance in the book, but men alone are not the answer for any of these women.  Second Time Around is a satisfying story of women who discover their own possibilities.

Beth Kendrick's website is http://www.bethkendrick.com/

Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick, Bantam Books, ©2010. ISBN 9780385342247 (paperback), 336p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library Book

16 comments:

holdenj said...

I really enjoyed this one as well, Kendrick's books have been getting better and better. Plus, I was an English major too!

Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like an interesting book. One to get us thinking. Enjoyed the review and will have to add this to my wish list.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Beth Hoffman said...

I've been wondering if I should add this book to my TBR list, and your review just convinced me. Thanks so much, Lesa.

I hope you've had a nice weekend!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds fantastic! I'll have to think about how I would reinvent myself. Great review!

Lesa said...

You're right, holdenj. Beth Kendrick spoke to our book group a few years ago, since she lives here in the Valley. Her books are getting better and better.

Lesa said...

Gotcha, Mason! Another one to add to your wish list.

Lesa said...

I really liked this one, Beth. Of course, it's no CeeCee Honeycutt. (grin).

Weekend - didn't sleep well last night, so got up and cleaned closets. To be honest, if that's what it takes, I need a few more restless nights, and the whole place will be clean.

Now, sitting here with a cat cuddled against my feet. (Josh)

Lesa said...

Kathy,

I'm one of those people quite content with where I am in life. I wouldn't reinvent myself. (A few less pounds, maybe, but not a whole lifestyle change. And, the pounds I'll work on in September, after the trip home to Ohio.)

Molly said...

This sounds PERFECT for where I am in life right now (even though it is more like 30 years since college rather than just 10). I will definitely be checking this book out. Thanks so much for the introduction, Lesa!

Lesa said...

You know how much I enjoy finding a book that suits someone, Molly. I hope you enjoy it. (Although I doubt you'll take any of those paths, but maybe I'm wrong.)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Yes! I was an English major at a small liberal arts college!

Okay, another one on my TBR list. :) Actually, I think I'll have to pick up this one for my college roommate, too...

Tina said...

Oh boy....this one just jumped all by itself onto the wishlist/TBR pile. I too detest 'girlie' books where the plot is too predictable, everybody gets a man in the end, and the characters feel like they came out of the encyclopedia of women fiction samples....thanks for highlighting this one.

Lesa said...

I bet there a lot of us here that were English majors, Elizabeth. We rule! I think you and your roommate will enjoy it.

Lesa said...

Tina,

Come back and tell me what you thought of it after you read it. I'd love to know!

Ingrid King said...

This is going on the must read list for sure - I love stories like this. Maybe it's because I'm on my third "career" myself - although this one is more than just a career, this one is my passion.

Lesa said...

I love those kind of stories too. I like women who change their lives. These women found their new choices weren't exactly what they were expecting, and I liked that.