A Chance in a Million by TA Williams
A Chance in A Million
By TA Williams
Having left the army to recover from a traumatic experience,
Destiny, sometimes referred to as fate is a predetermined course of events or is it? I really enjoyed this book because it had all the ingredients to make me happy, optimistic, encouraged and convinced that ‘in the face of adversity, hope often comes in the form of a friend who reaches out to us.' The story has a formidable opening and engages immediately with the reader as we learn that Captain Jane Reed has been severely wounded, physically and emotionally whilst on active duty.
“Weeks in hospital, months of convalescence, Post Traumatic Disorder and a broken heart”
Jane must somehow rebuild her life and that is where the story begins. Her road to recovery takes her to Venice and a job as a PA for a successful if yet reclusive author. We learn that Veronica (Lady Cooper) has not written anything since the death of her husband. Grief in the form of melancholy and depression have taken hold and she has shut herself away from the world. The relationship between them sets off cautiously and gingerly but gradually, the sorrow of both women wanes and they embark on a mutual healing process. The common bond is a love of writing.
When Lady Cooper and her household move to their summer residence, to avoid the intense summer heat and bustle of Venice, we meet other interesting characters. Veronica’s mother-in-law, the rather colourful and eccentric jean-wearing and bike-riding Signora Flora, 95 years young. Two daughters, Diane and Beatrice and a granddaughter called Linda. Jane finds herself interacting with these family members who express kindness, care, concern, nurture and attention. Another casualty of war is Veronica’s son David. After a traumatic event while he was in the army, he too has become a loner and hides himself away at their country villa. Two damaged souls trying to understand and accept that the events which caused their trauma have passed and the worst is over but to move forward means opening the heart. For me, one of the messages is that tragedy does not define you, it shapes you. Trauma does not disqualify anyone from love but David doesn’t know how to be around people and they don’t know how to be around him. He needs someone with empathy and I will leave it to the reader to discover whether Jane is that person!
Why I recommend this book
It has the perfect mix of adventure, courage, hope, struggle, and recuperation with a storyline unfolding with warmth and detail. Set in Venice, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, with a reputation for romance that surpasses even that of the Italian capital, or Venice's near neighbour which was the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Gondoliers serenade their clients as they punt along the water. Wandering the cosy, cobbled lanes of Venice is one of the pleasures of a visit to this beguiling city and the shimmer of the water at the end of an alley or far corner of a square is as enticing a sight as you’re likely to behold anywhere on earth. How could romance not blossom here? The author’s effortless description of places is expertly and artistically done. Jane’s first glimpse of Venice.
“It was a scene that Jane had seen many times in books and on the TV. An unforgettable assortment of light cream-coloured stone buildings whose intricate maze of exotic Byzantine arches gave them an almost lacework appearance”
There is a lightness to the flow and way of writing. It is imaginative and reflective. This is Jane’s story so we are reading it from her point of view. The author, TA Williams, whom I interviewed some months ago is rather amused that some of his readers think the author must be female. Strangely, this is utterly plausible, Female writing is considered to be more ‘involved’ as it reflects a deeper interaction of the writer with the readers. Indeed, there are some wonderful threads running through the story which add a touch of glamour and sophistication such as Lady Cooper’s collection of Hollywood iconic dresses. Jane wears an evening dress which once belonged to Ingrid Bergman at a charity auction at Venice Casino.
“Had this dress really belonged to the star of Casablanca? It was a delicate off-white colour, quite sheer and unmistakeably pure silk. It was as light as a feather and shimmered in the light of a chandelier”
A comforting and enjoyable read. TA Williams uses escapism as a literary device to the best possible effect!
“She took a deep breath and hoped for the best. This job would be a chance in a million to work alongside a world-famous author and experience life in the unique surroundings of a seventeenth-century palazzo alongside the Grand Canal”
TA Williams studied languages at university, then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. He and his Italian wife returned to the UK with their little daughter (now long-since grown up) where he ran an English language school. Now he lives in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. He has been writing almost all his life but it was only seven years ago that he finally managed to find a publisher who liked his work enough to offer him his first contract.
The fact that he writes escapist romance is something he still finds hard to explain. His early books were thrillers and historical novels. He says that maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that he feels the need to provide something to cheer up his readers. His books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations!
Published by Canelo Escape (15 Sept. 2022)
Paperback and e-book available on Amazon
OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:
Second Chances in Chianti
Secrets on the Italian Island
Dreaming of Italy
Dreaming of Tuscany
Under a Sienna Sun
A Little Piece of Paradise
Dreaming of Rome
An Escape to Remember
Dreaming of Verona
Dreaming of St Tropez