Two chances to love again. One opportunity.
Publisher: Harper Collins
First Published: 31st March 2011
Date Reviewed: 23rd June 2011
Vita left Tim after he cheated on her a third time; she’d finally had enough. Oliver was happily married until his wife was killed in a car accident. When Vita’s tree starts causing her problems, Oliver’s business is the place to call. The tree is going to have to stay, says Oliver, and he doesn’t realise that he will be staying too.
Chances is a nice book, but it lacks in the elements required to ensure for reader motivation. This lack is something that has existed in North’s other books, but never to this extent. It’s rather strange. The characters are very well developed, even if Vita is pretty silly, and the reader can really enter their lives but there’s just this absence of any sort of adrenalin on the part of the author.
Unfortunately, the set up doesn’t help because combined with the way in which North writes it all seems very mundane – and it shouldn’t; we’re dealing with awful circumstances here. And although North tells us how much Oliver misses his wife, the way the story pans out in the book makes it seem as though he’s made a decision rather quickly.
Things are interesting when Vita meets her first potential man after her break-up, but of course this interest is thwarted because the man isn’t the hero and thus he’s not going to stick around by default. Talking of which, look out for sex scenes.
Where Love Rules was hard-hitting, and Secrets was boring but had a point, Chances is simply a nonentity. It fits the Chick-Lit genre perfectly, but the subject has not been handled well. It would also be nice if Oliver didn’t always call Vita, who is 11 years younger than him, “missy”, because it really doesn’t sound good. And there is a great deal of cringe-worthy content such as melodrama – the sort you’d expect from an Austen novel due to difference in time periods – and events that are just not believable. Finally there are a lot of spelling and grammar errors, which is bad for a book where one character is obsessed with correct English, and even worse when the corrected English is sometimes not correct at all.
The characters are well developed, the location is beautiful, and the dialogue often humorous – but this novel is only okay. There is really nothing to be taken away from it and that’s a pity because there is a very real subject matter at hand. North has done better, and although I wouldn’t say, “don’t read it” there are, sadly, a vast number of other books out there that are more worth your time. To put it simply, when you close it you’ll be wondering where the book was.
June 26, 2011, 3:04 am
“When you close it you’ll be wondering where the book was.” What an excellent way to put it. I haven’t read this book, but I absolutely know the sort of book you’re talking about. Too bad…they’re always so disappointing and forgettable.
Charlie: That’s the thing, it had a heap of potential, and the characters were ready for it, but the author never made the most of it.
June 28, 2011, 9:37 am
Very sorry to hear this. I don’t think I will bother reading this book. I like my “chick-lit” to be somewhat substantial.
Charlie: If I were to recommend a substantial chick-lit, it would be another book by this same author, I think that’s partly why this one failed so much.