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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Season of Second Chances


ISBN: 9781496744227

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: 08/22/2023

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)



From bestselling, acclaimed authors Kristina McMorris and T. Greenwood, two heartfelt, poignant stories filled with Christmas magic and the gift of second chances…


The holidays are a time for cherished traditions and warm memories of Christmases past. But for some, Christmas also offers the gift of new beginnings.



THE CHRISTMAS COLLECTOR

by Kristina McMorris


Jenna Matthews has made a career of decluttering other people’s lives. After a childhood marked by her mother’s hoarding, it feels satisfying to sort and evaluate possessions. Some items, however, defy simple categories—like the shoebox of WWII memorabilia she finds in an elderly client’s home. Nestled alongside a Bronze Star is a photograph of a blushing army nurse and an adoring young serviceman. Estelle Porter, the box’s owner, becomes curiously tightlipped at Jenna’s discovery. Even Estelle’s grandson, Reece, knows nothing about this secret in her past. But as Jenna delves deeper, she pieces together Estelle’s heartrending story—one that paves new, unexpected paths for many.


GIFTED

by T. Greenwood


Christmas Eve in New York City is a portrait in holiday cheer. Yet Alex, a young ballerina who’s just been ousted from her ballet company, is contemplating a bittersweet homecoming—until she crosses paths with a stranger. At eighty, Simone’s memory is rapidly failing, but something has led her back to the place where she began her career as a professional violinist. Different as they may be, both women understand the nature of ambition and self-doubt, joy, and regret. And in a moment of grace, in a place where journeys begin, each will be reminded of what matters most . .












My Review


Two favorite powerhouse bestselling authors, T. Greenwood (Tammy) and Kristina McMorris come together for a beautiful holiday Christmas collection, THE SEASON OF SECOND CHANCES —two heart-stirring stories of joy, love, forgiveness, family, motherhood, ambition, art, memory, miracles, and second chances.


THE CHRISTMAS COLLECTOR by Kristina McMorris


We meet Jenna, who works for an estate sale company. She is to clear out the estate of Estelle Porter. In the process, she discovers a secret. Estelle has hidden her achievements from her family. Jenna finds WWII memorabilia, a photo of an army nurse, a medal, and a young serviceman. We also meet Reece, the grandson, and the family. In the process of Estelle's story, Jeanna finds a little romance for herself.


As always, McMorris (historical queen) brings her characters to life from past to present in this beautiful story of forgiveness, redemption, family, and memories. I enjoyed the note from the author and her personal experience. Many people in this era keep things private about their past; however, they always have fascinating stories.


Check out Kristina's The Ways We Hide narrated by Cassandra Campbell. A riveting tale of a woman whose recruitment to British intelligence during WWII leads to a harrowing journey of love, betrayal, and a deadly game of chance.



GIFTED by T. Greenwood


Gifted is a fascinating story of two families— mothers and daughters. Set in New York on Christmas Eve, how will these two women's paths connect? Told from POV: Sofia, Alex, and past—Simone


We meet Sofia, single, a birth doula who cares for her mother, Simone. An accomplished violinist traveling the world and now has Alzheimer's. She and her husband had a beautiful romantic story-life, and he has since passed. Due to her career as a famous musician, she was gone often traveling and not always there for her daughter.


Next, we meet Alex, a nineteen-year-old ballerina who is unhappy and no longer passionate about dancing like her roommate. However, her mom lives through her as her dancing career was cut short by marriage and motherhood. This was her dream. Something happens at the last performance on stage, forcing Alex to second-guess her life as a dancer. She knows her mother will be devastated.


Simone goes missing on Christmas Eve, and she and Alex meet by chance leading us to an emotionally poignant scene when the two unlikely characters meet for a moving breathtaking performance finale. Two different artists at different places in their lives collaborate to create a moment of grace. Both women struggle with ambition, self-doubt, joy, and regret.


I loved this story! Trust me; it will move you and bring tears to your eyes. My favorite Christmas story this year! I adore T. Greenwood, a huge long-time fan, having read all her books. As in her previous work, the author shines regarding stories of art, ambition, mothers, and daughters. This magical story will warm your heart if you love New York at Christmas. I enjoyed the note from the author.


Tammy is the mother of a professional ballet dancer. I look forward to reading her upcoming novel, The Still Point coming Feb 20, 2024, about a pre-professional ballet conservatory and the mothers of the dancers who train there. I have the ARC and cannot to read!


Both stories were endearing; however, I resonated more with GIFTED, a favorite. Thank you, Tammy, for telling this story!


Thanks to Kensington Books for an ARC via NetGalley for an honest review.



@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Aug 22, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars






Praise for Kristina McMorris:


"The Queen's Gambit meets The Alice Network in this epic, action-packed novel of family, loss, and one woman's journey to save all she holds dear—including freedom itself."

—Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars on The Ways We Hide

“An expertly woven and richly satisfying work of historical fiction that will touch any reader who has experienced love, loss, tragedy, or the impact of family secrets.”

—The Boston Globe on The Pieces We Keep

“A tender love story enriches a complex plot, giving readers a story with grit, substance, and rich historical detail."

—Publishers Weekly on Sold on a Monday



Praise for T. Greenwood:


“Greenwood is a writer of subtle strength, evoking small-town life beautifully while spreading out the map of Harper’s life, finding light in the darkest of stories.”

—Publishers Weeklyon Two Rivers


“Part family drama, part literary mystery and filled with beautiful, hypnotic prose.”

—Bookpage on Where I Lost Her


”Greenwood is an assured guide through this strange territory; she has a lush, evocative style.”

—The New York Times Book Review on Nearer Than the Sky

“Magnetic…this knotty story leaves readers reflecting on the limits of family obligations.”

—Publishers Weekly on Such a Pretty Girl


"This engrossing novel is a timely look into childhood fame, mother-daughter relationships, and how we consume media.”

—Buzzfeed, Best Historical Fiction of Fall on Such a Pretty Girl





About the Authors



Kristina McMorris is a New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of historical fiction inspired by true stories, including Sold on a Monday, which has sold more than one million copies. She’s the recipient of more than two dozen prestigious literary awards and nominations, including the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA's RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Prior to her literary career, Kristina was a television personality and actress who hosted an Emmy-award winning television show as a child, and most recently served as the host of the WB's Weddings Portland Style. She lives with her family in Oregon and can be found online at KristinaMcMorris.com.







T. Greenwood is an acclaimed author whose novels have sold more than a quarter-million copies. A four-time winner of the San Diego Book Award, she has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Five of her novels have been Indie Next Picks and her twelfth novel, Rust & Stardust, was a LibraryReads selection. Her novels have been translated into five languages. She lives with her family in San Diego, California, where she teaches creative writing for The Writer's Center and San Diego Writer's Ink, studies photography, and continues to write. Please visit her online at TGreenwood.com.




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