Land of Last Chances

Oct 31, 2019 by Valerie Taylor, in What I'm Reading

Land of Last Chances coverLand of Last Chances (She Writes Press) by Joan Cohen may be a novel, but it’s about real-life situations. Drawing from some of her own personal and professional experiences, Ms. Cohen crafts a complex and fast-paced story that forces us to examine our own values and beliefs.

While the reader journeys into the mind of forty-eight-year-old, single, marketing executive Jeanne Bridgeton and sees her world view unravel, our own philosophy and principles are challenged with each turn of the page.

What if we discovered family secrets that could directly impact our present as well as our future health and well-being? What if our work environment and career weren’t as secure as we thought? What if the people we counted on had secrets of their own? What if every aspect of our life exploded in a nanosecond?

What would we do…if…?

Further, this is a story of discovery. Both literally and figuratively. After discovering she’s pregnant, Jeanne unpacks a box her late mother had left behind. Symbolically, the carton becomes her own Pandora’s box, leading her to fear her life and that of her unborn child may be in danger.

With each unforeseen turn of events, Jeanne constructs a risk/benefit analysis, attempting to make the absolute right decisions. Though she’d like to, Jeanne cannot control everything. She learns that sometimes life throws us more than one curveball at a time. When that happens the best decision could be a mac and cheese casserole.

Though Ms. Cohen sprinkles light-hearted moments and colorful secondary characters, she tackles the agony and impact Alzheimer’s has on its victims and their descendants with compassionate consideration. Land of Last Chances is always relevant, often poignant, and sometimes heartbreaking. Did I mention the golden retriever?

Because this story deals with real-life issues, it’ll surely linger longer than most novels do, as we instinctively put ourselves in Jeanne Bridgeton’s place. I keep asking myself: What if she didn’t open the box?