You know the old saying – home is where the heart is – and for many of us, the saying rings true. When called upon, we can think of a place that makes us feel warm and safe, one that houses happy memories and allows us to retreat back to the whimsy, warmth and wonder of our childhood.
For Ellen and Aidan, their grandmother’s stone cottage in West Cork was always such a place. Long-neglected, the property is in need of some TLC, and, after returning home from Australia, Ellen is eager to restore the property to its former glory. She enlists the help of her dear friend, Colette Barry, who also happens to be one of Ireland’s top interior designers.
Aidan, however, is already begrudging the building work on the house he has actively avoided for almost 20 years now. What Ellen sees as a precious house brimming with happy memories of their bygone childhood summer retreats, Aidan sees as a painful reminder of what has been lost. To make matters worse, Colette seems to be complicating everything, and Aidan is confused about his feelings towards her. Colette too, has her own personal heartaches to overcome, and it isn’t long before the two realise that maybe, just like the old, run down cottage, they too deserve a second chance.
An enchanting novel about starting over, The House of Second Chances transports readers from coastal Australia to the rugged emerald beauty of Ireland, as it poignantly explores memories and emotions and the ways in which people, like houses, can be abandoned and restored. Significantly, the stone cottage in West Cork becomes a character of its own, challenging Ellen, Aidan, and Colette to overcome and reflect on their own personal heartaches and fears. Seeing each character transform with the cottage’s refurbishment is a magical experience. A beautiful metaphor, and one that is not at all forced or cliche – a testament to Campion’s ability to write straight from the heart with a voice so genuine and intimate, it’s as if you are listening to an old friend.
Fans of Monica McInerney will be drawn to the warmth and humour of Campion’s story-telling, especially the skill with which she effortlessly weaves an intricate tapestry of emotion and longing so real, that it wraps itself around you from start to finish.
About the author:
Esther Campion is from Cork, Ireland and currently lives in north-west Tasmania. She attended North Presentation Secondary School in Cork and has degrees from University College Cork and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Esther and her Orcadian husband have lived together in Ireland, Scotland, Norway and South Australia. They have two grown-up children in Adelaide and the youngest at home in Tassie. Esther loves sharing her life on a small property with an over-indulged chocolate Labrador, a smoochy cat and a couple of ageing mares, all of whom she firmly believes are living proof that dreams really can come true. The House of Second Chances is Esther’s second novel, following Leaving Ocean Road.