The Book of Second Chances by Katherine Slee

The Book of Second Chances

The Book of Second Chances by Katherine Slee
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 12.1 MB

Emily can’t remember the last time she left the house. Or spoke to anyone besides her grandmother, beloved children’s author Catriona Robinson. After Catriona’s death, Emily is at a complete loss . . . until she gets an unexpected letter from the woman she loved most.

Catriona has revealed there might be one last, lost unpublished manuscript in her wildly popular book series. And she’s left a secret diary and trail of clues that only Emily can follow. From London to Paris to Verona, Emily traces her grandmother’s past, finding out more about her family — and herself — than she ever imagined possible. Hopeful and adventurous, The Book of Second Chances celebrates books and bookstores, the power of imagination, and having the courage to shape our own destinies.

itchen, her grandmother’s study. One wall was taken over by shelves filled with dozens of her grandmother’s red notebooks, which contained all the ideas for every book she had written about Ophelia and her pet duck. Ten books in all, no more, no less. But now the whole world seemed to think there was another, one that Emily knew there had never been time to write.

How could she do this? Emily thought to herself. The doctors had said there was still time. Time to finish her work. Time to seek out another possible treatment.

Time to fight.

Her grandmother was the one person in the world who understood. Who had shared in the misery of losing both parents in a car crash so many seasons ago and the pain of Emily’s subsequent recovery. She was the only person who had been there throughout the years of cruel taunts from children who were supposed to be her friends.

She had promised to love Emily, to take care of her always. But now her grandmother, the famous Catriona Robinson, couldn’t protect anyone.

Outside came the sound of footsteps on the garden path, a pause, then a tumble of post that appeared through the letter box and landed in a heap on the doormat. No doubt more notes of comfort, of sorrow, from people Emily had never met. Handwritten notes from grieving fans—all of them detailing how amazing and talented her grandmother had been. Every one packed with personal stories of how her books had helped excite their early imaginations.

Emily went into the hall and bent down to retrieve the post, began to sort them into piles of letters and junk, catalogs and bills, when the shrill sound of a telephone disturbed the quiet. The answerphone clicked on to record.

“Emily, darling, it’s Charlie.” A woman’s voice crossed the distance from London to Norfolk, and Emily could picture the person on the other end of the line, seated in a large, bright office on the twenty-second floor of a skyscraper overlooking the river Thames. “Look, I’m sorry to keep asking you the same question, but I’m being pressured by the board to put out a press release about this damn manuscript.” There was a long sigh, and Emily closed her eyes, waited for what she sensed was coming. “Are you there? I know you don’t want to talk about this, but at some point you’re going to have to answer all these questions about Catriona, about her life. It doesn’t have to be in person, but you owe it to the fans—”

The room fell silent as Emily pulled the answerphone’s plug from its socket, then threw it to the floor, where it landed on the carpet with a soft thud. She looked down at the letters clasped tightly in her hand before walking into the living room and over to the fireplace, where she tossed them all into the grate. Next, she went back out to the hall to retrieve a large cardboard box by the front door, taking it back to the fireplace and opening the lid. Inside were hundreds of fan letters, most of them unopened.

I don’t want your pity, Emily thought as she began to take them out and stack them in four neat piles by the fire.

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