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Missed Chances: Short Love Stories with a Hint of What Might Have Been Paperback – November 3, 2015
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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It's a very nice compilation of short stories with the common theme of what might have been and, as promised in the introduction, the stories play up one another nicely. The darker, heavier fare is sandwiched between the sunnier, lighter pieces.
"Aunt Philippa and the Men" by L.M. Montgomery opens the collection, and is a quick, engaging, funny read. It was written in first person from the standpoint of a young woman who seems real and relatable. You will love both her and her Aunt Philippa.
"The Kiss" by Kate Chopin is short, cynical, and delightful.
"The Victory" by Rabindranath Tagore employs stylistic elements that I probably did not appreciate as much as others might and I felt it was perhaps a misfit for this collection.
"The Mystery of Wilhelm Ruetter" by Helen Hunt Jackson was the most difficult one to read. The writing would be considered quite cumbersome by modern standards and the phonetic transcription of the characters' broken English with a thick German accent did not help.
"The Florentine Experiment" by Constance Fenimore Woolson was quite enjoyable to read. It will be a treat for the fans of Jane Austen.
Apart from Tagore's story, this collection also offers a nice window into the portrayal of women by North American female writers in the 1800's, some of whom were willing and able to write about real female characters, with agency and a range of thoughts and feelings. Those characters stand strong and appealing today.
Full disclosure: The publisher provided me with a pdf of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Speaking of Aunt Philippa, she is by far my favorite character in the book. She’s a man-hating woman and an absolute riot to read. Her simple explanation of “that’s the men for you” for every undesirable situation that arises with the opposite sex is funny to say the least. I don’t want to give too much away but there’s a cute twist at the end that I rather enjoyed. Bonus: the story takes place in PEI, which isn’t too far from my corner of the world.
The stand out story for me is The Victory by Rabindranath Tagore. As silly as it may sound, it reminds me of a rap battle gone wrong between two poets (read it – you’ll know what I mean) which obviously wasn’t how the author intended it when he wrote it back in the 19th century but for some reason that’s how I imagine the scene would go down if it happened in today’s day and age. Rap battle aside, Shekhar’s decision at the end reminds us that it’s important to never give up as we don’t know what the future holds. Sure, the ending is sad but then who doesn’t love a good love tragedy?
I’m really happy that the publishing company, Annorlunda Books, approached me to review this book. I wasn’t familiar with any other the authors and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to discover their work. Some stories I liked better than others, but overall it was a pleasant read. The book may not cater to everyone depending on taste however if you’re a fan of romantic tales from the Victorian era, pick up Missed Chances – you’re sure to enjoy it.
Note: This book was given to me by the publishing company in exchange with an honest review.
You can find this review, and many more, on the CommonBookSense Blog: commonbooksense.blogspot.com
In these five stories, we take a ride on the rocky (sometimes nauseating) rollercoaster of love.
"Aunt Phillipa and the Men" had a more historic feel to it. I wasn't sure if there really was a prince somewhere in there or if that was just the name of the town. It almost felt like a world out of Jane Austen.
The other four weren't much better.
Stories just seemed to babble on and on, never really leading to an interesting point. I mean, they sounded compelling enough and I thought I'd get through them rather quickly being that they were short stories. Sadly, that wasn't the case.