The Gods of Second Chances

Life on Alaska’s Yatki Island is simple and peaceful for fisherman Ray Bancroft, a widower who’s raising his 11-year-old granddaughter, Sitka. At the mercy of his latest catch and the occasional fishing tourist, Ray ekes out a meager living surrounded by a close knit community and the granddaughter he adores. His life is largely complete.

But a good writer knows there’s no story in content characters, so author Dan Berne throws a few wrenches into Captain Ray’s quiet little world.


It all starts when Ray’s estranged daughter, Jenny, announces she’s coming home after her latest prison stint. Jenny promises she’s reformed herself for real this time. Not only has she found Jesus, she’s clean and sober and anxious to start raising Sitka, the daughter she barely knows.

But Ray’s relationship with Jenny is built on years of mistrust and bitterness, and he’s reluctant to hand Sitka over to an ex-addict with a prison record and no job. To make matters worse, Sitka’s father, a local thug with an extensive criminal history, also returns to the island intent on setting up housekeeping with Jenny and his long lost child.

Ray’s determined to protect Sitka and soon finds himself embroiled in a legal battle in which his granddaughter, his fishing boat, and his livelihood are at stake.

What I love about this story is its unassuming premise, and the humble characters that live ordinary lives in the unforgiving Alaskan landscape. Ray’s story is one that could happen to anybody, and I was rooting for him from the opening scene. As Berne layered on the complications, Ray’s plight drew me in further, right up through the riveting climax and the grim but poignant conclusion.

The Gods of Second Chances is a story of love and family loyalty. It’s about righting past wrongs, letting go of resentment, and ultimately, forgiveness. Publisher Laura Stanfill of Forest Avenue Press promises readers “quiet books for a noisy world,” and that’s exactly what this novel delivers.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 42 Comments

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42 thoughts on “The Gods of Second Chances

  1. Sounds very interesting. And best of luck with it to my friend Laura Stanfill at Forest Avenue Press. They publish some great books.

  2. Sounds like a good read. Great review, Gwen x

  3. Good to see u back.

  4. Sounds like a great book!

  5. That sounds like an awesome book! I must go find it now!

  6. Sounds like a great read filled with tension. :)

  7. Sounds like a great read, and the setting of Alaska only serves to enhance the intrigue. Wonderful review.

  8. katiewritesagain

    Ive found the best books through a trusted friend’s recommendation. I’m going to pick it up this week.

  9. Aye, my Kindle is going to explode! This sounds good…thanks, Gwen!

  10. I’ve ordered a sample from Amazon. The Kindle edition is only $4.99.

  11. Sounds like a nice read. I know Laura has been working hard on her publishing company. Thanks for the review Gwen!

  12. Rajni

    I am drawn in by the setting, the plot and the characters. Can’t wait to read the book. Thanks for telling us about Berne’s book, Gwen.

  13. Thanks for the great review, Gwen! You’ve really captured so much of what made me fall in love with this book and decide to publish it.

    • It was your review when the book launched that drew me to it, Laura. Looking forward to your May and September releases! And thanks for the reblog!

      • I love how things like that work, Gwen! That’s the way books, and book recommendations, should spread. Forget algorithms and advertising. Word of mouth rules! And it was my pleasure to reblog your lovely piece.

  14. Reblogged this on Laura Stanfill and commented:
    Thanks to Gwen Stephens for this great new review of The Gods of Second Chances, the first novel my small press has released. We’re working on multiple deadlines right now, with a new book launching May 1, and advance copies of our September release in production, so while I’ll catch up on blogging soon, it’s exciting to be able to reblog Gwen’s post today.

  15. Great review for an interesting story. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Hi, Gwen. Thanks for reading the novel and posting the insightful review!

  17. Thanks for the heads up on this one Gwen, another title to add to my book pile- it sounds just the sort of story to keep my attention .

  18. I’ve been looking for a book to read on a trip, and this sounds like the perfect choice. Thanks for the compelling review, Gwen.

  19. Great review, Gwen, for what sounds like a wonderful book. I’m so happy to see a press that still believes in quiet books.

    • That’s what I enjoyed most about discovering this book. It was a write-up on the publisher’s blog, which I stumbled upon when the title released. “Quiet books for a noisy world” — it won me over immediately.

  20. Pingback: Ray Quiet - Running (Official Video) | @Jim_E_O @RayQuiet | Hip Hop Headquarters

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