Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Book Review: Sunshine and Second Chances

By Sara Steven

Debs is newly single, Fiona is caring for her mum, Samantha is grieving, and Liv has the perfect life – or so she’d like her friends to think…

This year, these four life-long friends are turning fifty, and Liv is determined they will honour their promise to each other – made on a beach at sunrise twenty-nine years before – to celebrate this milestone together.

And what better place than a gorgeous villa where they will be spoiled and enjoy the stunning beaches, picturesque fishing towns and glorious climate of the Algarve?

But time away from home doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes it makes the thought of returning to your life too hard to bear. Especially with more than one gorgeous Portuguese man making hearts unexpectedly flutter...

It begins as a reunion in the sunshine, but little do the four friends know what life-changing decisions they’ll all be making before their flight home.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Sunshine and Second Chances was the perfect summer read and offered a wonderful escape from the trials of reality. Reading about the gorgeous Algarve in Portugal made me yearn to be there, an added plus one to this amazing quartet of women!

I enjoyed the four different personalities that are represented within this novel. Debs can be outspoken, yet she is hiding a lot of insecurities and has a difficult time seeing herself for who she really is. Fiona is trying to care for her mother, who has a medical condition. This at times can fill her with guilt, particularly if she makes a decision where she puts herself first. Samantha is grieving the loss of a loved one and trying desperately to reconnect with her son, while Liv seems to have it all, yet she feels as though she has nothing, at least, not where it counts. Even with the long-term friendship between them, it is difficult to be honest and to really admit to what life is like, and while this trip is meant as a fun girl’s getaway, it’s also a cathartic experience!

I appreciated the evolution that happens for all four of them. It didn’t happen overnight, either. It was a gradual transformation, for better or for worse, and we get to witness that while the women are at times pressed to their limits, or having to go outside of their comfort zones. There is a misconception that we have it all figured out the older we get, but it’s shown here that most of us really don’t, that sometimes knowing the right thing to do can be an even harder thing to decide on. In some ways, the simpler times had been when they were twenty-one years of age and felt as though their whole lives were ahead of them. That mistakes in those days could easily be made and just as soon forgotten.

I think what I really liked the most about Sunshine and Second Chances is that it’s a book written for someone in my age bracket! I felt inspiration and hope for the second chapter in my life, the life that begins after fifty. At the start of it all, we see that Debs has to work to come out of her shell, and Fiona has to accept that it’s okay to put herself as a priority, while Samantha has to learn to let go, and Liv has to speak up and let her wants and needs be known. In finding their way, I felt like I was finding my way, too. That there are plenty of adventures in store for me and it’s up to me to make it happen, no matter my age. That it’s okay to still dream and create lists and goals, that it’s okay to never stop living. To take trips to places like Algarve, and instead of saying, “No, that will never be me,” I can say, “Someday, it will be.” I only hope I can invite my own fantastic girlfriends along for that ride!

Thanks to Kim Nash for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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