Second Chance by Sydney CanyonSecond Chance by Sydney Canyon is a well-written story that tugged at my heart and gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to be a soldier, blinded during the war in Afghanistan. It was the first work by this author that I had the pleasure of reading. It was also her debut novel. She does, however, have several shorter published works.

Darien is a marine to the innermost depths of her core. This is her story. It’s the story of her struggle to deal with the serious injury that she sustained in battle, one that has left her blind, and forced her to retire from active service in the United States Marine Corps. It’s the story of how she comes to terms with her vision being restored at the cost of an organ donor’s life. It’s the story of her decision to travel across the country to personally thank her donor’s family and then accomplishing so much more. When the mother of Darien’s donor hires her as a farm hand, she has an opportunity to reminisce, and in doing so, rediscovers herself. She also ends up falling in love with her organ donor’s wife, Courtney. Their romance is an added, sweet bonus to an already touching story.

Writing Style

The novel is well written and the story is easy to follow. The plot was nicely developed and the pacing was steady throughout the novel.

There were some instances where sentence structure was a bit awkward.

Characters

The main characters were well developed and likable. The secondary characters were well placed in the novel, and for the most part, were adequately developed as well.

I especially liked Beverly. Her presence provided a dimension of loss as well as a healing component to the story.

I would have liked to see Courtney’s brother-in-law, Jason, developed a little more. His initial reaction to the main character seemed too exaggerated to be believable. A bit more of his backstory may have helped explain his intense dislike for her when he barely knew who she was.

Overall though, Jason was a rather insignificant character, and his lack of believability didn’t impact my enjoyment of the story.

Pros

This is a heartfelt story that comes across as a tribute to those who choose the life of military service. The romance that develops between Darien and Courtney is an added sweet bonus to an already touching story.

Cons

I would have liked to see Courtney’s brother-in-law, Jason, developed a little more. His initial reaction to Darien seemed over the top. A bit more of his backstory may have helped explain his intense dislike of her.

Conclusion

In the opening scene of the prologue, Ms. Canyon effectively captures the horrors of war and delivers them directly to the reader’s doorstep. The scene is quite descriptive. For those of you who aren’t into war novels, don’t let that stop you from reading this book. The focus of the story quickly shifts to the main character’s journey to deal with the after effects of war.

This was a heartfelt and gently told story of love, loss, and service. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading more from this author.

Excerpt 1 from Second Chance by Sydney Canyon

The incoming insurgent fire bombarded the left side of the eight-wheeled light armored vehicle, sending shrapnel and sparks flying through the pitch-black of the desert night sky. The popping noise of the rounds hitting the metal exterior was excruciatingly loud. Flashes of light echoed in all directions, lighting up the night.

The six Marines inside the Bravo One LAV-25 watched the scene unfold before them on the viewing screen as their convoy continued their reconnaissance mission. Dust clouds rolled around them on makeshift roads as their speed increased. The two-way radio crackled back and forth, mixing with the pinging of the bullets flying overhead.

Excerpt 2

Truth be told, her mind had become clearer in the last twenty-four hours than it had been in the last nine months. The sun had felt good on her skin, and the fresh air was almost addicting. Looking back towards the house, she felt a sense of sadness, knowing her donor, Janice, was the missing link in their family.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN: 9780996242929

Publisher: Triplicity Publishing, LLC

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Please note: This was a review by KA Moll. She received a review copy of Second Chance by Sydney Canyon.

Second Chance Book Cover Second Chance
Sydney Canyon
April 21, 2015
196

After an tragic attack on her convoy, Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, Darien Hollister, must learn to live without her sight. When an experimental procedure allows her to see again, opening up the possibility for her to go back to the career that is deeply ingrained in her, Darien is torn, knowing someone had to die in order for this to happen. She embarks on a journey to personally thank the donor's family, but is too stunned to tell them the truth. Mixed emotions stir inside of her as she slowly gets to the know the people that feel like so much more than strangers to her. When the truth finally comes out, Darien walks away, taking the second chance that she's been given to go back to the only life she's ever known, but she's not the only one with a second chance at life.