The 12 Books of Christmas: The Winter of Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss

*I was sent a copy of The Winter of Second Chances in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Pan Macmillan and Jenny Bayliss*


Annie Sharpe has it all – an acclaimed restaurant she owns with her handsome husband Max, and two gorgeous grown-up sons. But after one indiscretion too many, she leaves behind the only life she’s ever known.

In search of a fresh start, Annie takes up a position as a caretaker of Saltwater Nook, a creaky but charming beach house on Kent’s beautiful, wild coastline. The village community is an eccentric but tightknit bunch, and Annie is swept up in a whirlwind of their traditional festive celebrations, from pumpkin carving to bonfires on the beach. It soon feels like home – she even reopens the long-dormant seafront café.

The only thorns in her side are John, the owner’s rugged but totally unreasonable nephew who has his own agenda for the house, and a persistent Max, intent on winning her back.

Saltwater Nook has been the perfect escape, but Annie can’t run from her problems forever. Will she give her first love a second chance? Or step into the promise of a new life?


The Winter of Second Chances was my tenth festive read of the year and honest by time it came round I was getting a little bored of them. However, I really enjoyed it. The pacing of it was very quick, to begin with and honestly, I really liked that. The very first thing you read is Annie finding her husband cheating, talk about starting with a bang (pun 100% intended). 

This brings me to my next point, this book is quite crude at times so I do suggest it is only for older readers. There aren’t any explicit bedroom scenes though so no need to worry about that but there are a lot of graphic references to things of this nature. 

Honestly, for a while, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this book as it was nowhere near as Christmassy as I thought it would be. The Winter of Second Chances is more of a later half of the year book. I don’t think this is actually marketed as a Christmas book, however, the title suggests to me that it would take place during December. Most of the book actually took place in October, especially around Halloween. But I did quite like it for this reason, it wasn’t trying too hard to be something it isn’t. Festive feelings were not forced upon anyone and I liked that it had such a strong focus on character relationships. 

Speaking of character relationships, I adored the book club. A bunch of women who are eccentric and unique in their own ways join together to discuss victorian literature. Hilarious. Some of the books best moments happened during the book club meetings and they were my favourite set of people in The Winter of Second Chances. 

The Winter of Second Chances was very plot and character-driven is very unlike most books you see being published this time of year. Every character had a strong backstory and played a vital part in the story. I especially liked the dynamic between Alfred and Maeve. 

If you are looking for a serious read with moments of hilarity then you should absolutely check out The Winter of Second Chances. Not only will you get to see the latter half of the year play out in a wonderful seaside town, but you will also see the beginning of some amazing character relationships.


Like this post? Why not read this one too: My Reading Goals For 2022


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