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A String of Chances by Phyllis Reynolds…
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A String of Chances

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

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*Review contains spoilers*

I'm not familiar with Naylor's work, so had no expectations, other than liking the sound of the blurb, which paints it as a simple growing up/teenage love/finding your own way in life story, with a fair bit of Christian faith thrown in. The structure of the blurb worried me a little - a tad Virginia Andrews - and the first half of the book had me presuming that it was just a re-working of that standard of Regency romance plots: find the two people who fight all the time, and they will end up together at the end. So the *actual* story kind of snuck up on me.

When it comes right down to it, this is a book about how a family and a community cope with a single, small disaster - that of the cot-death of an 8 week old baby. We see the events through the eyes of Evie, the 16 year old second child of the local minister and the local midwife, who goes to spend the summer with her cousin, who is expecting a baby a few weeks after she arrives. The cousin doesn't live far away, but there has been some event that has meant that she and her husband don't come to visit anymore, a story that gets gently explored through the story (see, Virginia Andrews worry).

So, Evie has been learning about love, and betrayal of friends, and all those kinds of normal teenage angst things, up to that point. Plus, she has been learning about babies, and coming to love her cousin's child. When the child dies, it causes a reasonably cliched ripple of events through the community, including causing Evie to doubt her thus far unquestioning faith.

Not only do I think that this is an amazing book with respect to the issues already mentioned, but it is an amazingly good book about faith, and religion, and the differences between the two. It is good to read a book that treats any religion with respect and understanding, as well as not being overbearing or preachy, and this one really manages that fine line. It doesn't change my beliefs, but it did give me the feeling that I have more understanding of aspects of the Christian religion, which was pretty amazing, given that it is a fairly minor part of the story.

As to plot, characterisation, world-building? Good pacing on the plot, especially on the twists, fabulous characterisation - without the caricature that sometimes happens with teenager protagonists, and I have no fault with the world-building. And the 'show don't tell' about everything was fabulous. Oh, and dialogue that *never* made me want to scream. ( )
  fred_mouse | Aug 17, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449700755, Mass Market Paperback)

During the summer she spends with a married cousin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a small town preacher not only discovers secrets which divide her family, but experiences, for the first time, uncertainties about her life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -0400)

During the summer she spends with a married cousin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a small town preacher not only discovers secrets which divide her family, but experiences, for the first time, uncertainties about her life.

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