Second Chances — 35 Comments

  1. Susan, you’ve made a lot of nice comparisons here about second chances, and I agree that Austen works hard to create second-chance stories. At the same time, any book-length work requires second chances! The formula for a love story is boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. If the first chance (boy meets girl) works out, there’s no drama (boy loses girl), and we arrive at HEA far too soon!

  2. You’re so right, Susan. I’ve heard of many people who have reunited with their first loves later in life after being separated for years! Thanks for recommending two of my books and also the tip on “Last Tango.” Haven’t seen it but will check it out now. Sounds interesting. 🙂

  3. Susan,

    I love second chance romances,especially those centred around an older and perhaps wiser couple. Those who have learnt to grasp happiness when it comes calling and have gained invaluable insights into life and its myriad mysteries,thriving vast life experience.
    Yip,I’m a big fan of this type of romance and can happily say I’ve read most of the books you listed and am adding the others to my TBR list! Thank you for such!

    • I recently read a second chance Regency romance in which the characters were separated for about 20 years. I loved it because the main characters were mature and had lived a bit. There has to be something good about getting older.

  4. As Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen book, I love stories about second chances. Second chances can happen in so many ways.

  5. I admire the authors who take on the much more complex and passionate story of Persuasion. And, it does my heart good to read about such timeless devotion and love – all wrapped up in the human (flawed) package!

    Kudos to all who love Persuasion!!

  6. Excited to hear you are working on another story Susan! The premise is one I enjoy too! I have read most of the ones you have noted but still have Shannon’s to read…which is on my Kindle!

    • What a difference between writing a letter and either an email or a tweet! Wentworth’s letter makes me wonder if we need to get back to real letters!

  7. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel, so yes, I do believe in second chances. How many of us can say they’ve never said or done something they wish they could take back? Books that have this theme always attract me.

  8. Susan, many thanks for the shout out 🙂 and, also, for your lovely post on “second chances.” That’s one of my favorite story themes, too! And I’ve never seen “Last Tango in Halifax” — adding it to my much-watch list!!

  9. We all make mistakes and live to regret many of them. It is a human characteristic that is timeless, therefore a good theme for a novel. Hopefully we also have been given second chances to resolve those mistakes. Thanks for your thoughts on that theme in Jane’s books.

  10. I love second chance themes in literature and film. Persuasion is obviously the #1 example from Austen, but I also think of Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters and Margaret Hale and John Thorton in Gaskell’sNorth and South…along with our own Nicole Clarkston’s absolutely brilliant variations of the latter, Northern Rain and No Such Thing As Luck. And then to Dickens’ Great Expectations with Pip and Estella.

    And then there’s Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in which Beatrice and Benedick have a past that is hinted at in the play, not just as verbal sparring partners, but a romantic one. So their falling in love with the help of friends and family is not as far-fetched as it may seem once we realize that there is a romantic history between the two, one that starts off a little caustic as the play opens since the gentleman is definitely still resentful of Beatrice’s apparent refusal. When he first speaks to her, he states, “What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?” Their battle of wits shows more than a hint of bitterness, especially when Benedick calls it off before she can really insult him (or perhaps refer to their previous relationship??) by saying, “But keep your way, i’ God’s name. I have done,” causing Beatrice to retort, “You always end with a jade’s trick. I know you of old.”

    I think because of the higher mortality rate in the 19th century, second chance romances were fairly common. Now we have divorce rates to create similar scenarios in our time, but the second chance romance definitely weaves itself through literature. (I could keep going–don’t ask a former literature professor to trace a theme, LOL!)

    Susanne, who should be grading papers instead of tracing themes! 🙂

    • Thanks for taking a moment from grading papers to share your thoughts. I hadn’t really thought of Much Ado About Nothing!

  11. I like the second chance pride and prejudice variations. They are so interesting, I liked all those entitled Mr Darcy second chance by different authors ,also like your variations.

  12. Persuasion is my all time second favorite. I do like the idea of second chances. No other letter can compare to Wentworth’s love letter to Anne. It is simply so romantic it takes the breath away.

  13. Thanks for the mention, Susan! This is a perfect comparison of these stories. I love how you highlight some of Austen’s favorite themes by laying them out side by side. Another reason we all love Jane, because everyone deserves a second chance!

    • Thanks for sharing, Nicole. I haven’t read your North and South variation so I’ll have to add that to my TBR list.

  14. I adore stories about second chances…besides the resolution of an old but not forgotten love, there’s something incredibly satisfying to think that old mistakes can be rectified, and that hope and love are not truly lost. It’s reassuring on many levels, not just the romantic. We all need a second chance every now and again. And the sweetness of a second chance at love is particularly beautiful because we too easily slip into the trap of thinking that we only ever really get one chance to “do things right” by ourselves. And if we’re not ready for love to come our way or to make the leap into doing something that we know will stretch our very souls, well that’s just tough. So second chance stories offer that necessary bit of wisdom that says that we DO get a chance to learn and grow and make the leap, that those opportunities not taken are not really lost at all, just waiting for the right time to come around again.

  15. I love second chances, but until this post never realised how that was a theme in Jane Austen’s writings. I have read many of the books you mentioned.

  16. This is a very thought-provoking post, Susan, thank you. My mind is all over the place, scouring read after read, recalling second chances, from Jane, and many others. Having just recently re-read Persuasion, just today watched Emma, and with today being a momentous P&P milestone, my head is swimming… Poor Harriet needing extra chances, thanks to goofy Emma…

    Mostly, my heart pierces, for our Jane, who just did not get her fair share of chances… sniff… Glorious creature that she was… sniff…

  17. Oh, and thank you for the delightful opportunity!

    And I hope Marilyn, Shannon, and others ultimately enjoy Last Tango as much as I. Quality production!

  18. I also love stories about second chances. Persuasion is my second favorite JA story (that letter! Sigh!!!). I have not seen Last Tango in Halifax and will have to do so. I have read many of the stories listed and enjoyed them. Several are on my kindle waiting for me to get to them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the suggestions.

    Susanne listed some of my favorites: Wives and Daughters, Much Ado About Nothing, Nicole’s books, Great Expectations (used to watch it every Christmas Eve at a friend’s house when younger), North and South.

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