Review: Left To Chance

November 21, 2017 Amy Sue Nathan, book review, books, fiction, St.Martins Press, women's fiction 1

  • Written By: Amy Sue Nathan
  • Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin, November 21, 2017
  • Length: 272 pages
  • Source:  Digital galley via Net Galley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


From the author of The Good Neighbor and The Glass Wives comes an enchanting story of returning home and discovering what truly matters after loss.

No one knows why Teddi Lerner left her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.

Twelve-year-old Shayna— talented, persistent, and adorable—persuaded “Aunt Tee” to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding. Even though it’s been six years since Shay’s mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend’s husband marrying someone else. But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.

Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same. That’s when she truly sees the hurt she’s caused and—maybe—how to fix it.

After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her. As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself. And she’ll finally see what she overlooked all along.

My Thoughts:

Teddi returns home, the small town where she grew up, had a best friend and a young woman’s love affair.  Having left home six years ago after her best friend’s death she’s never gone back. Despite the fact that she loves Celia’s daughter, Shayna, and has kept in touch with her with coordinated visits in other cities.  Teddi has been working for a large hotel chain, becoming their photographer  and capturing many high profile weddings and other events.

Small town Chance Ohio has changed, the outskirts growing a lot, and yet the bones of the town have remained similar, but different.  Teddi is nervous and feels a strain in being back, and photographing the wedding of Celia’s widowed husband.  She also begins to see that Shayna, 12, is not a little girl, but a young tween with many confused ideas about love and where her family is going.

I loved everything about this book, learning about Teddi’s pain, and also seeing her open up sharing eventually with the people that were still in Chance, and her still loved her.  She wants so much to make things good for Shay, but she starts out not having a clue.

Amy Sue Nathan pulls these characters together to not make a pretty picture of going home, but a gut wrenching reality of life.  A look at the mistakes we make, and how we struggle to right them and make a better life.  Teddi is lovable but so lost, and I wanted to be her friend, and give her a hand in turning around her fears and confusion about going home.  In the end she had many friends, old and new that gave her that push.

I highly recommend this book.  It’s perfect for this time of year, when we think of family and friends ,and often going home.  Thank you again to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley.

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