Second Chance Christmas by Rula Sinara explored the relationship between Zuri and Damon. High school had been a long time away but betrayal is hard to get over especially when it had resulted in a child…one you’re related to.
My Review of Second Chance Christmas
When Zuri’s big sister dies, she decides to give her nephew the gift of a lifetime: his father. When Damon’s friend from high school reached out to him, the last thing he expected was to learn he had a secret baby.
The Characters in Second Chance Christmas
I respect Zuri’s determination to do the right thing though it came at a personal cost. It must have been difficult to go against her sister’s wishes but I like that she was able to use the information available and make what she thought was the best decision for Caden.
She was a bit of a helicopter parent but I understand how difficult it is to navigate the whole parenting thing, especially when you come into it with a child half-grown.
In many ways, Damon, though he was a new parent himself, balanced Zuri’s tendency to hover and gave Caden a sense of balance.
For much of the story, Zuri couldn’t decide if she should give in to her attraction to Damon or if she should remember how he had treated her in high school and use it as a shield against what she could feel for him. Zuri’s fluctuating response to Damon was understandable given their history but in some ways, it was not realistic for her to feel the way she did after more than 12 years especially since they didn’t have any romantic history.
The reader gets the impression that Damon was a jerk in high school but his time in the Navy Seals gave him focus and purpose. I liked the man he was trying to be but never really felt as though he had sincerely apologized to Zuri for the way he had treated her in high school. His apologies always felt as if they were couched in some context “I’m sorry, but–“
Damon and Zuri’s relationship in the present involved a lot of them unraveling the damage done in the past and considering how it would affect Caden which meant that there were a lot of balls in the air. I liked that Damon was willing to step up to his responsibility and that Zuri was willing to give him the chance to do so.
The Themes in Second Chance Christmas
The three main characters had to deal with handling expectations and coming to terms with their grief. These themes were woven throughout the book and I liked that Ms. Sunara never tried to minimize the characters’ grief or make it seem as if not living up to people’s expectations was something that could be resolved in a jiffy.
There was also an underlying theme of forgiveness: would Zuri be able to forgive Damon for his actions in the past? Would Caden forgive his aunt and mom for lying to him? Would Damon forgive himself for not being there for his brother?
The reader is also reminded that lies may seem harmless but they often snowball with dramatic consequences.
Final Thoughts on Second Chance Christmas
I read the first two books in this series and liked being able to see how the characters from earlier books had progressed. Second Chance Christmas is the third book in the series but can be read as a standalone. The stories from the earlier books are summarized in this one but not in a way that would create spoilers if you were reading the books out of sequence.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through Prism Book Tours; a positive review was not required.
About Second Chance Christmas: A Clean Romance (Turtleback Beach Book 3)
Series: Turtleback Beach
Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
Publication date: January 1, 2021
Print length: 384 pages
A beachside Christmas
Brings unexpected gifts! A second chance.
That’s what former navy SEAL Damon Woods asks for when Zuri Habib comes to Turtleback Beach with a nephew who looks just like him. After her sister’s death, Zuri believes Caden deserves to know his father—even if he did break her teenage heart.
Can Damon and Zuri forgive each other and give a grieving boy the family he needs this Christmas?
About Rula Sinara
Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author Rula Sinara lives in rural Virginia with her family and crazy but endearing pets.
She loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard, planting trees, raising backyard chickens, and drinking more coffee than she’ll ever admit to.
Rula’s writing has earned her a National Readers Choice Award and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, among other honors. Discover more at www.RulaSinara.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter.
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