The Second Chance

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Pub Date 9 May 2024 | Archive Date 13 May 2024


***From the author of a 2023 Times Book of the Year comes a hilarious, emotional and thought-provoking book club read for fans of David Nicholls, Sophie Cousens and Beth O’Leary.***


'Wonderfully original' KATIE FFORDE

‘Gloriously life-affirming’ HEIDI SWAIN

'Moving and snort-laugh funny' BECKY HUNTER

‘The funniest writer I've come across’ DEBBIE JOHNSON

'A heartwarming triumph’ HOLLY MILLER

Hilarious and clever' JESSICA RYN


Nell has always known her expiry date.

After a psychic predicted her death date twenty years ago, she has lived life accepting she would never see forty – embracing adventure and travelling the world, choosing fun over commitment and laying down roots.

So, when the fateful day comes, Nell feels ready. She sends five excruciatingly honest confessions to her sister, parents and past loves, knowing she won’t be around to face the consequences. Then, with her heart laid bare, all that's left to do is check into a glamorous hotel and wait for the inevitable…

But when Nell unexpectedly wakes up the next morning broke, single and very much alive, she must figure out exactly how to seize this second chance at life. And then it also hits her:

What on earth happens now that everyone knows how she really feels?

This is the perfect book club read for fans of David Nicholls, Holly Smale and Beth O’Leary, asking what it is that makes for a life well lived.


'A pocket of joy' EMMA COOPER

‘Zippy and confident' NIAMH HARGAN

'Fun and witty' JULIE MA

'Utterly genius' HELGA JENSEN

'Warm and absorbing' EMILY CRITCHLEY

'A perfect page turner' NORIE CLARKE

'Deeply joyous' JENNI BAYLISS

***From the author of a 2023 Times Book of the Year comes a hilarious, emotional and thought-provoking book club read for fans of David Nicholls, Sophie Cousens and Beth O’Leary.***...

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ISBN 9780008642952
PRICE £2.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

This was such a wonderful story! Nell was so easy to love and her story drew me in from the very beginning. This story made me laugh, cry, and feel every emotion in between. So incredibly good!

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As soon as I saw the blurb for this book, I knew it was one I wanted to read, and it did not disappoint.

Nell has known since she was 19 that she was going to die on a specific day when she was 38. She is approaching that day, so she has sold all her belongings, deleted her online presence, got rid of her phone, apartment, bank account, and checked into a hotel so she died somewhere nice.

Except she doesn’t die. She has no money, no contacts, and a large hotel bill to pay. On top of that, she has to deal with the fallout of the brutally honest farewell letters she sent to her loved ones.

Nell has lived the last 19 years seizing the day every day, travelling the world, making the most of it. But the universe is going to show her how to live when you don’t know how long you have.

Nell is a delightful character, and she is so very inspiring. The book is very well written, amusing, and utterly unputdownable. It addresses issues of mortality, whether longevity is a signal of success, of old age, of beauty, of love, of good people. It looks at family relationships, and the joy of the kindness of strangers. ,

It’s a really wonderful book. I predict it will be the hit of 2024.

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I have only read one of Charlotte's books before - You Get That From Me - and I loved it instantly, and so was thrilled when an opportunity came up to read her newest one.

I normally write my review as I read, putting thoughts down that can be made into a full review by the end of it, but I was so engrossed with this that when it came to writing this review, I had hardly anything written down.

There are a lot of characters but there are a few key players I want to talk about.

We first have Nell, our protagonist. I really loved Nell, right from the start. She just felt so real. She wasn't perfect, she had flaws, she had a past that she was sometimes proud of, sometimes not. But for me, she is one of the best created characters in fiction I've read recently. It can be difficult to write an "everyday" person, rather than the superhero or villain. It can be quite dull to read a character who, for all intents and purposes, is like you are. But Charlotte has managed to make her relatable and human and "everyday" but keep her interesting and entertaining.

We also have her mother Jenny and sister Polly, who for reasons I won't spoil her, she has not seen for quite some time, and so when we're first introduced to them, they're a bit aloof, and you're unsure whether there's going to be a happy ending with the three of them or not. We also have Nell's dad Tony and his family, who aren't in it for that long but they're entertaining when they are.

We also get Greg, Nell's teenage boyfriend (by that I mean he was her boyfriend when they were teenagers, not that he's her current boyfriend who happens to be a teenager). He is lovely but has been caught up in the rat race, putting work before everything, he seems very...vanilla, shall we put it. Sticks to the rules, he's neat, he's organised, and it was an interesting contrast to Nell who is the complete opposite.

And finally we have Tom and Juno, both new friends for Nell. Tom comes into her life prior to her death day, and at first we assume he will be a passing character but he does have a bigger role as the book goes on, and he was delightful. But for me, Juno had to be my favourite. Even more so than Nell. She's an old lady, clearly suffering with some health issues, but she lives for the moment. I mean, she wears a tiara to the library! She's very much one for not saving things for special occasions, and she was just a delight.

I have never been one to want a gap year. I like the idea of travelling the world and visiting other countries, but I hate the actual travelling part, and so it's never been something I considered. And I know Nell's trips weren't always positive, she does make it sound absolutely fabulous.

It was funnier than I was expecting. I mean, it is a morbid humour at times, a dark humour event, but it is funny. Even if you're laughing at the awkwardness of it all, you will find yourself laughing.

It is an uplifting, feel-good book, but it does pose some big questions, the biggest being: how would you spend your time if you knew the exact date you would die? Would you spend it panicking, or would you throw caution to the wind and do everything you always wanted to do because you know there'd be no repercussions? Would you fill your live with joy and fun, or would you be more careful?

It does also contain some difficult topics, such as affairs, separation, divorce, single parenthood, death, grief, unemployment, the idea of feeling lost and like you don't belong - but it's never too much.

I hope she doesn't mind me mentioning this, but in her acknowledgements, Charlotte talks about her father who became ill whilst she was writing, and she talks about how he made the most of his time doing the things he loved with the people he loved. I lost my dad 7 years ago and just reading that reminded me of him and the others I've lost, and how we never really know what's coming. I'm not saying I'm about to jump on a plane to the Far East or anything, but it does give food for thought.

It's a fun book. It's funny, loving, carefree, uplifting, optimistic, and joyful, but it's also sad, worrying, angry, nostalgic, scary. But overall it was just a retally lovely book to sit and lose myself in. I read it in less than a day; not wanting to leave without knowing the end of Nell's story.

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This was definitely a great read. I wasn't sure what to expect but I definitely was not disappointed, it felt like a great read and I know my patrons will enjoy the story.

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Thank you for my copy of this book to read and review.

I adored absolutely everything about this book. I thought the plot was intriguing and original, all of the characters were likable and relatable…I especially loved Juno, and I enjoyed the complicated triangle between Nell, her first love Greg & one-night stand Tom.

The book was well-written, humorous, uplifting and thought provoking. I was torn between racing through it and not wanting it to end.

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Loved his book. Nell has a glimpse into her future when she visits a fortune teller in Australia when she was travelling. She know exactly when she’s going to die. She books into a fancy hotel for her final journey. But things go wrong when she wakes up the next day.
Things are starting to unravel when she realises the letters she wrote will be delivered but she’s not dead.
Hilarious adventures continue as she tries to salvage relationships she destroyed when she sent the heartfelt letters to her friends and family..
Very well written with surprising adventures along her journey.

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I really loved this. Nell was a great character, I liked the fact she had history with Greg and that her whole outlook on life started when they were together. To be told the date you will die really impacted how she lived and made her try to pack as much in as possible. How she planned to leave this world was very thorough, yet not very celebratory and happy in hindsight. Along the way Nell lost touch with her family and any real connection she has with anyone, a self preservation almost as she justified it as a way to make sure no one was left hurt when she was gone. Her encounter with Tom the week before her scheduled death day was interesting. He impacted on her so much she felt she needed to write a letter to him and she impacted on him so much that he made her his stand up comedy routine but also made him reevaluate his life situation and take charge of his future.

A series of incidents later and Nells death day passing by with no death and you have Nell and Greg reunited in a freak coincident and then Tom thrown in with yet another coincident. All very funny and really quite cleverly done.

However Juno has to be the star of the show. I loved her personality and how she enjoyed life how she wanted to. Nell was so great with her and they helped each other. Seeing her forge new relationships with her mum and sister and niece was nice as she’d let them slip in her attempt to not have them miss her after her death.

Watching Nell have to come to terms with living a life she never thought she was going to have was eye opening. She had never thought about a future and had always been more about the short term plans. Now she has to think of her family, her feelings for Greg (who was coming to terms with the fact his predicted long future may not be as solid as he thought) and her growing feelings for Tom. Tom is a great character and really gets Nell and I love how he never pressures her avid lets her make mistakes and learn from them while always being there for her.

From start to finish this was an engaging and interesting read. Such a great concept to write about. How to live the life you never thought you were going to have. Very thought provoking.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for allowing me to read an ARC of The Second Chance by Charlotte Butterfield, in exchange for my honest review.

"Always say hello to strangers." " Never save anything for best."

I adored this book! It was cleverly written, entertaining, thought-provoking and introspective, with delightfully witty and loveable characters.

I would have loved to crawl right between the pages and spend time with each of them!

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My second book by this author, and I've loved both of them! The Second Chance begins twenty years previously when Nell meets a fortune teller and is told the date that she will die. Fast forward and we meet Nell a week before this date. She has lived her life avoiding commitment and plans, and in this last week she sells all her belongings, writes her goodbye letters and basically closes down her life. But when she wakes the next day and it's obvious the fortune teller got it wrong, things get a bit awkward with no money, no clothes, no home and a big hotel bill to settle!

I loved this book, it was so much fun but with some serious issues being dealt with along the way. Nell is a great character, but the last twenty years have been leading up to this date and she's lived her life to the fullest. In between all the fun though, the author certainly gets you thinking as to what you would do if you knew the date you were going to die, and there are lots of emotional moments to run along side that. I loved meeting not only Nell, but also her bed-buying comic Tom, her first love Greg, her sister Polly and of course the old bus lady Juno! The storyline flowed along wonderfully and once started, I couldn't put the book down until I'd finished.

The characters were all very likeable and I really connected with them. I love London as a book setting and walking along by the canal boats brought great images to mind. Filled with lots of humour, family and friendship, the book also teaches us to live and love life! Fabulous!

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The second chance follows Nell, who has spent years believing she would die on a specific date, only to wake up very much alive the next morning.
The storyline, is original and Nell is well-developed and relatable character, and you can’t help but champion her on!
It’s a heartwarming and uplifting read, I highly recommended this if you are a lover of feel-good reads.

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I absolutely loved this book. The characters were so well written and there were lots of laugh out loud moments. Highly recommended.

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Nell has always known the date she'd die, or so she thought. She believed it 100%, and determined to pack as much into the meantime as possible, with travel, adventure, and a determined avoidance of long term commitment. When the date arrives, she sells everything, burns several bridges and checks into a fancy hotel to await the end in style.

Of course, Nell doesn't die, much to her surprise, and has to set about picking up the pieces and figuring out how to live a future she never expected to have.

This was a delight to read - I loved the character of Nell and her willingness to put herself out there and throw herself into things, impacting the people she meets in the process. There are other great characters too - I loved Juno, the elderly lady she befriends, and appreciated this tender portrayal of someone with dementia who is nonetheless unarguably fabulous.

There's a romance element too, and a choice to be made between first love Greg and comedian Tom.

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy. I enjoyed it very much.

Was this review helpful? What a premise - the FMC, Nell, is told she will die on a specific date by a psychic. So before that fateful day, she lives her best life....making the most of each day.....and before her 'death day' she writes some truths to be read after she dies....however she ends up not dying on that day! So the fallout begins.....

Death is a heavy subject but this book handled it so well....the dark humour made me lol many times....and I loved the characters in this book. Nell is the woman to be - living her best life!

The cover is simply brilliant.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

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The Second Chance by Charlotte Butterfield was such a unique and well written story!
This was truly a thought provoking and heartwarming read.
There was so much to unpack in these pages.
I was totally taken in and couldn’t wait to see how things would resolve.
An excellent book and this one is going on my “best of 2024” list.

Thank You NetGalley and Avon for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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I recently had the pleasure of delving into this book, and I am beyond impressed with the mesmerizing world that the author has crafted. From start to finish, the intricate plot weaves a tapestry of suspense, emotion, and unexpected twists that kept me eagerly turning the pages.

One of the standout features of this book is undoubtedly its characters. Each one is meticulously developed, breathing life into the narrative with their unique personalities, motivations, and flaws. The protagonists are not just names on paper; they are relatable, complex individuals with whom readers can form a genuine connection. The antagonist, too, is not a mere foil but a multi-dimensional force that adds depth to the story. The author's ability to create such well-rounded characters is a testament to their storytelling prowess.

The plot unfolds seamlessly, drawing the reader into a richly layered narrative that expertly balances tension, drama, and moments of poignant reflection. The pacing is impeccable, maintaining a perfect rhythm that keeps the reader engaged without sacrificing the depth of the story. The author skillfully navigates through various plot arcs, interweaving them with finesse to create a cohesive and satisfying whole.

What sets this book apart is its ability to tackle profound themes while maintaining an accessible and engaging narrative. The book seamlessly combines suspense and emotional depth, making it a truly immersive experience. The author's prose is both elegant and evocative, painting vivid imagery that lingers in the reader's mind long after the final page is turned.

As I reached the conclusion, I found myself yearning for more from this talented author. Their ability to craft a gripping plot and bring characters to life is truly commendable. I eagerly anticipate future works and would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any reader who appreciates a masterfully told tale. If you're searching for a book that seamlessly blends captivating characters with a compelling plot, this is a shining example. I can't wait to explore more literary worlds crafted by this exceptional storyteller.

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As a middle aged woman that has never lived her life to please herself the thought of doing just that is both scary and exhilarating. I’ve often wanted to tell people what it think about how they act or behave and never had the courage to do so. This woman loved knowing there was a tomorrow but only till a certain time. I loved it it was was with out fear. To hell with the consequences.

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"The Second Chance" by Charlotte Butterfield is an absolutely remarkable and enlightening novel that truly resonated with me. From the very first page, I was captivated by Nell, the protagonist who has lived her entire life knowing her death date, thanks to a chilling prediction from a psychic twenty years ago.
Nell's extraordinary mindset and acceptance of her expiry date led her on a life filled with thrilling adventures, constant travel, and a steadfast refusal to commit or put down roots. She boldly chose fun over security, constantly seeking joy and excitement in every corner of the world.
As her predicted death date draws near, Nell decides to take a significant leap of honesty. With a courageous act of vulnerability, she posts five poignant letters: to her sister, parents, and past loves, revealing her deepest thoughts and feelings, fully aware that she won't be there to face the consequences. With her heart laid bare, Nell embarks on her final night, checking into a glamorous hotel, ready to embrace the inevitable.
But to Nell's astonishment, she unexpectedly wakes up alive, single and utterly broke the following day. Suddenly gifted with a second lease on life, Nell faces the daunting task of navigating this unforeseen opportunity. And to complicate matters further, everyone now knows the unfiltered truth about her innermost desires and emotions.
"The Second Chance" is a breathtaking and introspective journey that left me both enlightened and entertained. Nell's vibrant and colourful personality burst from the pages, charming me with her zest for life. This novel not only provided a refreshing and humorous narrative, but its thought-provoking themes also encouraged me to reflect upon my own life choices and decisions.
Charlotte Butterfield's engaging storytelling evoked a profound sense of positivity and inspiration. It urged me to ponder what I would do if I knew I was entirely safe from failure or harm. It shed new light on the importance of seizing every opportunity and embracing life to the fullest.
I can't praise "The Second Chance" enough - its remarkable premise, relatable characters, and unforgettable story held me spellbound until the very last page. I can only hope that this extraordinary novel will find its way to the big screen, where its brilliance can be shared with an even wider audience.

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Any book that can make you smile and even laugh out loud occasionally with the subject of death as a main story is a challenge that is done very well here. Nell is assured she will die on a specific date because a psychic predicted it so why not go all out in your living days to make the most of life and then just before the big day, why not write some home truths down to be read after your death. What could possibly go wrong?

I thoroughly enjoyed this for the wonderful story it is, but also because it made me reflect on my own life, highlighting the importance of making the most of every day but still leaving the need for a little future planning should everything not go to plan. The author addresses the dark humour in a lovely way that is both sad and humorous as you’d expect but in a well written way that was a pleasure to read. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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It's incredibly difficult to write humorously, but let me tell you that I laughed out loud at protagonist, Nell, who does NOT die when she is predicted to. I mean, the premise alone lends itself to dark humour, but actually, the theme of death (or untimely death) is dealt with brilliantly well. There are shades of Bridget Jones as Nell, expecting to die on a particular date, sells all her worldly goods, hires an expensive and itchy over-the-top dress in which to be found, but remains alive. And broke. And homeless. It's a great storyline, well-written, and ripe for some kind of film adaptation. My grateful thanks to the publishers and to NetGalley for the ARC.

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Wow what a book thank you ever so much for the opportunity to review. I could not put it down. Would definitely recommend to others

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