The Chance of a Lifetime by Kendra Smith
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.
I didn’t like this book. If I had picked it up on my own, I would not have finished it.
The protagonist is Katie, a Brit who is dragged to Australia by her husband’s career and debt. She is miserable in her new country, but just as she’s starting to make her peace with Australia, she learns that her husband has been unfaithful.
As a former expatriate myself–I lived in Singapore from 2010-2017–some of Katie’s angst rang true. The longing for home and the way that it’s easy to build up home as a paradise when the truth is that our problems follow us no matter where we go rings very true. The struggle to make new friends. Trying to redefine yourself in your new country. The way it feels to go back “home” and find out everyone has moved on and changed without you. All of that is something any expat will relate to. It is the *only* reason I gave the book two stars instead of one.
Katie is not a pleasant person. I did not root for her. I didn’t care that her husband cheated on her, especially when she made out with another guy before they left England, and they almost hook up again when he and his wife come visit them in Australia. She loves a grudge. She’s whiny, far past the point where a writer could demonstrate that she was sad and missing England and struggling to cope with life in a new country.
Moreover, her husband isn’t someone I’d root for either. He faked Katie’s signature on the immigration paperwork, saying they were moving there permanently instead of the one to two years he’d told Katie it would be. He cheat on her. He effectively disappears for a huge chunk of the book.
Side characters are sketches rather than developed characters. I couldn’t even keep track of which kid was which with the exception of the new baby.
Plenty of the book played out in incredibly predictable ways. I don’t mind tropes, but there’s a difference between executing a trope in an original/interesting way and just being predictable.
I finished the book because I felt obligated to do so as I’d received the arc in exchange for the ARC. I would not have done so otherwise. In my opinion, this one is well worth a pass.