Title: Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 288 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan is an emotionally compelling and poignant journey of healing and forgiveness.
In the six years since leaving her small hometown of Chance, OH, Teddi Lerner has become a renowned wedding photographer who travels frequently for her job. Returning to Chance, she is forced to deal with her guilt over the way she left town along with her still unresolved grief from her best friend Celia Cooper’s death. Teddi also much face the consequences from her decision not to return to visit as she is reminded at every turn that her choice to leave had unintended consequences for several of her relationships, including Celia’s younger brother, Beck, and Celia’s husband Miles. She is also quick to notice that her twelve year old honorary niece Shanya “Shay” is struggling to accept her father’s upcoming marriage while also dealing with an uncomfortable situation with some of her classmates. Will reconnecting with her past help Teddi decide what she wants for her future?
Teddi is immediately struck by the outward changes to Chance since the town has grown and prospered in the six years she has been gone. However, just as quickly, she discovers the townspeople are much the same as she reconnects with her friend, Josie Fields and former neighbor Cameron Davis. Everyone still knows everyone else’s business and a few residents are prone to malicious gossip. But the most painful change Teddi struggles to deal with is the constant reminders her best friend is gone and that her relationships with Miles and Beck are irrevocably altered. She is also stunned to learn that the distance between them is more than physical once Teddi learns the truth about some of the challenges they have faced in her absence.
With a sympathetic lead protagonist, an outstanding cast of secondary characters and a thought-provoking storyline, Left to Chance is a heartwarming novel about making peace with a tragic loss. Teddi holds her reasons for leaving town close as she traverses the emotional minefield awaiting her in the week leading up to the wedding. She is extremely contemplative as she faces her painful memories while attempting to decide what she wants for her future. Endearing reunions with family members and friends prove to be a soothing balm for her unresolved pain and grief. Amy Sue Nathan easily grabs hold of readers’ attention and hearts with this captivating novel of redemption.