Second Time Around; three cord strand; God's love

Book Review

Second Time Around

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, JoAnn Durgin, as my guest today. JoAnn’s second book, Second Time Around has arrived! It’s Book #2 in The Lewis Legacy Series, the follow-up to the popular Awakening with Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke. Both books are available from all major online booksellers in both paperback and electronic versions.
Those of you who know me, or have read my blog a few times, know that I am an avid reader – always have been – always will be. I suspect that I’ve read, including all the Dick and Jane books in kindergarten, well into the thousands of books in my lifetime. Some good, some not so good; some memorable and some not so memorable. Some books were so good that I would want to share them with others and I would loan them out especially to my Dad from whom I got my love of reading. In the last couple of years, I’ve given books as a prize on this blog. But then there are those books that are so outstanding that I keep them in my personal library so I can read them over and over again.

Such is the case with Second Time Around, JoAnn’s latest book. A follow-up to Awakening, JoAnn’s debut novel, Second Time Around is the story of Marc and Natalie Thompson. It is the story of a love that is nearly lost due to a tragic accident, of a husband who fights for the life, and then for the love, of his bride. It is the story of a new love that is stronger – a “three cord strand” kind of love that cannot be broken. What a beautiful parallel between Marc and Natalie’s story and the story of God’s love for us – how He fought for our very lives because of His love for us. And His love for us is always stronger than a “three cord strand.”

Here is the synopsis from the back cover (and speaking of covers, don’t you love the front cover??)

Marc Thompson is on top of the worlda newlywed with a beautiful wife, the owner of a thriving Boston sports advertising agency, and a century-old home they’re renovating in the suburbs. Then the unthinkable happens. Two months after the wedding, Marc sits in a hospital emergency waiting room after Natalie suffers a horrible fall. One shock follows another. Not only does his wife remember nothing of their life together, but now Marc has a personal timeline to reconnect with herseven months.

His shiny gold wedding band mocks him, a reminder of a promise broken by a rotting piece of wood. Marc’s psychologist advises him to court his wife againa daunting task the first time around. Then his pastor suggests he call Sam and Lexa Lewis of TeamWork Missions, a ministry dear to Natalie’s heart. Determined to help her reclaim her life, the young groom makes great strides until a ghost from the past surfaces, opening fresh wounds and threatening to destroy it all.

With Natalie’s trust shattered and Marc’s faith wavering, they head to Montana with TeamWork for a two-week work camp at Milestone Ranch. But instead of romancing his wife with warm fires, hot chocolate and a fresh start, he’s out in the cold and back at square one. Even if Natalie recovers her lost memories, will she forgive him? If not, can Marc come to terms with his deepest fearthe failure of his marriage?
You’ll root for Marc and Natalie as they fight against the odds and discover that giving up the reins and surrendering all at the throne of grace doesn’t mean failureit’s simply called faith. And it might be the only way to finding their way back to one another . . . the second time around.

Second Time Around will hold you captive from page one to the end. You will be swept up in the lives of Marc and Natalie and by the end of the book, they will be a part of your family. They will be a welcome addition and you will want to read their story over and over.


JoAnn, I know that you are an incredibly busy woman! How do you balance family, working full time, writing and all of the other activities you do?

It is a very delicate balancing act, and there aren’t enough hours in the day. My full-time paralegal job is demanding, and with a husband and three children, something had to give in order for me to devote the time I needed, and wanted, to my blossoming writing career. I resigned from my position as a floor manager with the Kentucky Center for the Arts in late February. I adored my wonderful volunteer staff, but now they’re cheering me on from the sidelines and are so faithful. It’s so gratifying to have a personal contingent of fans!

The short answer is the Lord sustains me, even when I feel like I can’t keep my eyes open or can’t keep going. It’s more of an energy (or lack thereof) thing with me these days, and since Awakening released in November 2010, it’s been an endless round of marketing, blog interviews and editing. Mind you, I’m not complaining, and I realize how blessed I am! The Lord has opened doors beyond my wildest expectations, and I am truly living the dream. How many people can truly say that? The other important thing to note is that the Lord gives me that peace to know that sometimes it’s okay to relax, to sit back and read or do something nice for myself. It reenergizes and refreshes me, and it’s every bit as important as all the rest.

Tell us about your family.

Sarah just turned 22, and she’s a college student and works part-time. Like her father (my husband, Jim), she’s quiet and intellectual, and loves great literature and classic movies. She also resembles Jim with dark hair and gorgeous hazel eyes. Chelsea is almost 19 and also a college student. She’s more the social butterfly, and independent like her mother, and yes, favors me physically with her lighter hair and eyes. Matthew is my 15-year-old, and what a love bug! He’s high-functioning autistic (Asberger’s Syndrome), but he’s the smartest, brightest, most intuitive kid you’ll ever meet. He can look at a skyscraper and build it from memory – almost to scale – with Lego blocks. He’s a freshman in high school this year, and doing very well. He’ll probably  be an architect or a salesman (although meteorologist figures in, too). He’s atypical (in terms of the autism) in that he’s incredibly social and loving. Matthew embodies the love of Christ, and he will do great things through Christ who indeed strengthens him.

I understand that Awakening and Second Time Around are part of a series. Tell us how you thought of the idea for the first book and developed it into a series. Or did it even happen that way?

Yes, it’s called The Lewis Legacy Series, and the third book, Twin Hearts, is planned for release sometime in the early part of 2012. It picks up with the parallel love stories of the twins, Rebekah and Josh Grant, both already familiar to readers if they’ve read the other books. There’s something so familiar, comforting and lovely about revisiting old friends, and I like to think that’s true with this series. The books are all written, just waiting to be edited. The beauty in that is that I can go back and foreshadow certain events and add or delete certain things, if needed.

I never thought of writing a series until I rediscovered Awakening more than a decade after it was originally written, and it’s loosely based on my own love story with Jim. It’s a testament of God’s faithfulness. Awakening was the last manuscript I wrote before putting my writing aside for a decade. I’d encourage readers who aren’t familiar with the story to read about it on my website (www.joanndurgin.com). When I looked at it again with “fresh” eyes, I got the idea for a series featuring the different members of TeamWork, the volunteer missions group introduced in  Awakening. The volunteers introduced in the books represent different regions of the country, professions, etc. I thought it would be a good way for each book to be a stand-alone love story and yet connected with the other books, with Sam and Lexa as my core characters and mentors to the others (including three of Sam’s siblings). Each one builds on the events of the previous books, but again, each one can stand on its own (and I’m not revealing to anyone how many books there are – suffice it to say, it’s a lengthy series).

Tell us one thing about yourself that your readers do not know.

That’s a fun question! I have several little tidbits noted on my website. Things like being related to a Master’s and U.S. Open golf champion. Then there’s seeing Liz Taylor and Richard Burton together on the Broadway stage . . . being proposed to in Carmel, CA, after a romantic lunch  overlooking Monterey Bay. Let me think of something else…hmm… Okay, here’s one. The one thing I always wanted to do (but know I never will) is learn to fly a plane. Why not? I’m too short and too nearsighted. One of my bosses in California (a winegrower) had a private jet and took us to dinner one evening. Talk about a thrill! My uncle co-owns a private jet, and he flew some of the family from Indiana to Massachusetts for a wedding once (little did I know I’d be living just down the road outside Boston in about 20 more years!). You feel the air pockets and turbulence more in the smaller jets, but it was exciting to have the experience. Nothing thrills me more than the feeling of speed and power when a plane lifts off the runway. I’m content to put it all in God’s hands and the hands of fully-trained pilots and enjoy the ride.

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Edwina, and for being a supporter of Second Time Around and my other books. It’s been a real thrill. Blessings to you, my friends. Matthew 5:16.


Thank you for stopping by today, JoAnn!

To My Readers: I was given an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) for the purpose of reading the book and writing the review. The ARC is not suitable to give as a prize. However, I was so blessed by this book that I want to bless one of you!  Please leave me a comment as to why you’d like to read this book and WHO you would pass it on to after you’ve finished. Be sure and leave me your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!  The random drawing will be held on Wednesday, October 5, so don’t delay entering!! This contest is open to U. S. residents only in the 48 contingent states and is VOID where prohibited! You must be 18 years or older to enter!   

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4 thoughts on “”

  1. I realize I am late on posting. Just want to support JoAnn for she is a wonderful writer.I would love to read "Second Time Around". I have read "Awakening" and LOVE it!After done reading I would pass it on to my sister to read.Bless you and yours.Wendywdesirees[at]yahoo[dot]com

  2. Thanks for hosting me on your lovely blog, Edwina, and for the great review of Second Time Around. This story and these characters – like Sam and Lexa in Awakening – are so close to my heart. I hope your readers will get a chance to check out Marc and Natalie's story. Blessings.

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