Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Eileen Rife's Second Chance ~ Reviewed
By Eileen Rife
Published by Oak Tara
Mave wants the life back in her marriage. Dareece just wants a life. Could they be the answer to each other's dream? Mave Robertson, a recent empty nester, wants the fire back in her marriage, but her husband, Jerry, remains aloof. Is he having an affair? A midlife crisis? When a neighbor suggests she "get a life," Mave accepts the challenge and volunteers at an inner-city teen ministry where she is thrown into a culture of drugs, gangs, and unwed teen moms. She soon discovers someone she can help, but might he also be the cure for both her stale marriage and her crumbling relationship with her father? Dareece Jackson, a teen from the projects, wants something in Mave's purse...and he'll stop at nothing to get it.
Mave Robertson spent her life “doing” for everyone else, so much so, she’s forgotten who she is outside of motherhood. When her daughter leaves for college, Mave flounders in despair. Her friend suggests retail therapy, which leads to a comical interchange between them, but not a solution. With new duds, she returns to a lifeless marriage, feeling as empty as before.
Meanwhile, Dareece Jackson, son of a felon gang-member, fights to stay on the straight and narrow while helping his mom with the kids and bills. Although gang life might offer quick cash, he knows where it leads and determines not to follow in his father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, the local gang members don’t share Dareece’s resolve and soon pressure Dareece into selling drugs.
During a festival for a local youth ministry, these two desperate lives converge at Second Chance Ministries, a place offering hope, purpose, and what they hope to be a new beginning.
Eileen Rife has a unique voice that combines witty sarcasm with colorful analogies perfectly suited to the characters that speak them. I loved each character she crafted, from Mave, the middle-aged heroine struggling to find purpose during the empty-nest stage, to the feisty Mrs. Jackson with her swollen ankles and shrill voice. With organic dialogue a vibrantly authentic setting, Second Chance is a strong novel of hope, purpose, and forgiveness.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery