Left to Chance
by Amy Sue Nathan
No one knows why Teddi Lerner left her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.
Twelve-year-old Shayna— talented, persistent, and adorable—persuaded “Aunt Tee” to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding. Even though it’s been six years since Shay’s mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend’s husband marrying someone else. But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.
Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same. That’s when she truly sees the hurt she’s caused and—maybe—how to fix it.
After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her. As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself. And she’ll finally see what she overlooked all along.
I sashayed down Lark wearing my light blue sundress, as if I were the star of an elaborate tampon commercial. All that was missing was the voiceover.
To me, Cousin Maggie had been like a fairy godmother in sensible shoes. She seemed to know what I needed, and when I needed it. It was Cousin Maggie who handed me Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret two months before I got my period when I was eleven. Cousin Maggie also gave me my first real camera for Hanukkah when I was fourteen. “You can make the world look however you want it to look with this,” she’d said.
At least at a wedding there were drinks and hors d’oeuvres. When alone at a wedding I talked to the bartender, sipped cocktails, nibbled my way through the mashed potato bar. Maybe funerals should have cocktail hours too. Mini latkes with applesauce. Kosher wine to drown your sorrows. Monogrammed tissues. I’d draw the line at funeral favors.
I flinched to stop myself from looking for my best friend. How I wished that bittersweet was still a term best left for chocolate.
I fell right into this cleverly written and delightfully engaging tale packed with witty humor and the irreverent and snarky inner musings of a woman returning to her small-town and attempting to atone for her cowardly and less than stellar exit six years prior. Poor Teddi, despite her best intentions she was forever on the back-foot and coming up a bit short. The storyline was superbly crafted and the writing was cunningly amusing yet also poignant and keenly insightful. The narrative was vividly detailed with humorous and revealing observations that kept me smirking. I adored these flawed yet appealing characters, they plucked at my curiosity and kept me intensely interested and in need of knowing every little thing about them. Amy Sue Nathan has a new fangirl.