The Debutante’s Second Chance
by Liz Flaherty
(Silh. Special Ed. # 1854, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-24854-7
****
I am recommending The Debutante’s Second Chance for several reasons. There is a lot of content to this category and there is depth not often seen in many much longer novels. The two main characters came alive for me and that is worth a four heart rating anytime.

Landy Wisdom was the darling of small town Taft, Indiana when she was growing up and she ended up married, as predicted, to the most popular boy in the school. She was the closest Taft could come to a debutante and some of the kids even teased her about her charmed life. One of those boys was Micah Walker, who was one of the kids who blended into the crowd. His boyhood crush on her cemented her as someone he would never forget when he left Taft and headed for fame and fortune as a writer.

Many years later, Micah has returned to Taft as the new owner and publisher of the Taft Tribune. He is sick of writing for large town papers and has a vision to return to the hometown paper filled with local flavor that he remembers from his childhood. Meanwhile, Landy is still in town, but is rather infamous. It seems she was involved in a nasty situation in which her ex-husband, Blake Trent, was killed. Some blame her, including her ex’s father-in-law Lucas Trent. But she was exonerated in the courts and she has moved on with her life. Sadly, her scars are many – physical and emotional. Landy was the target of spousal abuse. The accident that killed her ex also left her with a limp from a badly broken leg. Inside she is terrified of men, as she expects they all put on a good front in public, only to turn into a monster in private. Her way of dealing with her fear is to participate in the Underground Railroad for battered women.

Micah is determined to get to know Landy again since his attraction has not waned a bit. Landy likes Micah too, but is very leery. Their romance is slow to develop and yet, rushes along at just the right pace given the background. Micah is a nice guy and one that is easy to root for. There are some issues thrown in that the two have to work through and there is a nice cadre of characters to help them on their journey.

There is a tad too much angst at times and the whole issue of battered women is just a bit too predictable. When it is revealed that Landy’s house is one of the stops that many women make when on the run, it is clear that something bad will happen as a result. No one should be surprised when it does, nor even which family causes the commotion. The plotline was clear from the beginning, despite an effort to make it suspenseful.

However, the relationship between Landy and Micah more than make up for it and keep the book grounded. The Debutante’s Second Chance is a good way to spend your time and is a great way for a fairly new author to introduce herself to her readers.

--Shirley Lyons


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