Book review: Wit and kindness overcome in Heather Chapman's 'The Second Season'

Posted September 13

"THE SECOND SEASON," by Heather Chapman, Sweetwater, $13.99, 192 pages (f)

Heather Chapman’s debut novel, “The Second Season," is a charming regency story that follows the Hopkins family in the 1817 winter season. Sisters Caroline and Lucy Hopkins find themselves at the mercy of not only their mother’s machinations to find them a husband but also scheming neighbors and a spoiled duke.

The novel begins not with the two sisters but with the betrothal of their parents. While the relationship between Lord and Lady Hopkins adds depth to the novel overall, there is some confusion at the beginning as to whom the reader will be following throughout the story. Consequently, the entire second chapter is devoted to filling in a 25-year gap. It isn't until the third chapter that the reader realizes the main plot line revolves around Caroline and to a lesser extent, Lucy.

Caroline and Lucy are charming characters who are warm and easy to like. Upon arriving in London, the headstrong Caroline quickly finds herself the target of a duke’s affections. She resists his advances with her quick wit and pointed questions, even though she senses her attraction to him. While delicately spurning the duke, Caroline experiences a growing affection for a tradesman who she can’t seem to avoid.

The ever-polite and kind Lucy attracts the attention of a worthy suitor early in the novel. However, Lucy’s kindness is used against her when she finds herself at the center of a scandal not of her creation.

In the background of the sisters’ struggle to navigate the London scene is the tense relationship between Lord and Lady. Lady is determined to marry her daughters off to the most advantageous suitor in the hopes that they won’t become prey to a man who only wants them for their money, an experience with which Lady is too familiar.

In this light novel, Chapman manages to explore not only the pressures placed upon the two sisters but also the consequences of deceptions of the heart. The book doesn't contain any violence or objectionable language, and the romance doesn't go beyond a few stolen kisses, some willing and some not, but all are innocent.

There is more than one character in the novel who experiences their second season to the benefit of all. While there are a few flashbacks throughout the novel that are somewhat confusing, “The Second Season” remains a fun, light read.

Stacey L. Nash is a mother of four and a freelance writer/blogger. You can find her at www.lovelearningforlife.com. EMAIL: staceynash@lovelearningforlife.com


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