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ALC Review: Rules for Second Chances by Maggie North

Release date:  25 June 2024

Rating: 3/5

Narrator:  Gail Shalan

Narration: 3.5/5

Synopsis:  Liz Lewis has tried everything to be what people want, but she’s always

been labeled different in the boisterous world of wilderness expeditions.

Her marriage to popular adventure guide Tobin Renner-Lewis is

a sinkhole of toxic positivity where she’s the only one saying no.

When she gets mistaken for a server at her own thirtieth birthday party,

Liz vows to stop playing a minor character in her own life. The (incredibly

well-researched and scientific) plan? A crash course in confidence . . .

via an improv comedy class. The catch? She’s terrible at it, and the only

person willing to practice with her is a certain extroverted wilderness

guide who seems dead set on saving their marriage.

But as Liz and Tobin get closer again, she’s forced to confront all the reasons

they didn’t work the first time, along with her growing suspicion that her

social awkwardness might mean something deeper. Liz must learn improv’s

most important lesson—“Yes, and”—or she’ll have to choose between the love she always wanted and the dreams that got away.

Brimming with heart and heat, Rules for Second Chances explores the hardest relationship question of all: can true love happen twice . . . with the same person?



The foundation for this second-chance romance starts off extremely crumbly.  Rules for Second Chances opens with an image that didn’t make much sense to me.  Not revealing anything outside of the synopsis, the circumstances around Liz and how she comes to be mistaken for a server at her own birthday party follow the rules of perfectly ordered logic.  All other circumstances aside, this opener was pretty weak to me.  A poor foundation really built a less than stellar story. This one was a bit of a flop for me.

Liz Lewis loves the outdoors.  She’s married to a Viking lumberjacking mountaineer.  Their marriage should be perfect.  But Liz keeps getting overlooked and only identified in conjunction with her husband, who is a very popular wilderness guide with both the customers and his fellow co-workers.  ANYONE would find this frustrating, but Liz’s frustration is compounded by extenuating factors, so she takes her life back from everyone and shoots high for a promotion at work by enrolling herself in an improv class.  Thus, the them for this story is “Yes, and,” as the rule for improv dictates.

Liz and Tobin didn’t feel like they had much chemistry to me.  Even when reading about their backstory and the original meet cute that got them started, I couldn’t quite envision them as a couple.  I didn’t really connect with Liz as  a main character.  She felt very self-centered.  Though it is quite well established that she needs to feel more fulfilled in her life, I had the impression that her fulfillment came from recognition and attention instead of more meaningful and deeper relationships with those around her.  The lack of communication with everyone around her certainly diminished with her attendance to the improv workshops, but the plot device felt very thin for the fictional circumstances.

The audiobook narration for this one sounded fair-to-middling.  While the narrator did an excellent job with the female characters and the enunciation and intonation of the general story, many of the male characters sounded like much older than they were.  I mean Gandalf old.  

Overall, 3/5 for the story and 3.5-4/5 for the narration.  I just couldn’t find myself connecting with the characters or computing the logic for this one.  I’m sure it will connect for some.

My thanks to Macmillan Audio for the ALC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.

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