Star-crossed Love Lost Makes For a Hard Pill To Swallow In "Chance Of A Lifetime"

Title:  A  Chance Of A Lifetime
Series:  Providence Falls #1
Authors:  Jude Deveraux, Tara Sheets
Length:  366 pages
Expected Date Of Publication:  September 15th, 2020
Publisher:  Mira
Rating:  3.5 Stars

In 1844 Ireland, Liam O’Connor, a rogue and a thief, fell madly in love with a squire’s daughter and unwittingly altered the future. Shy and naive Cora McLeod thought Liam was the answer to her prayers. But the angels disagreed and they’ve been waiting for the right moment in time to step in.

Now Liam finds himself reunited with his beloved Cora in Providence Falls, North Carolina. The angels have given Liam a task. He must make sure Cora falls in love with another man—the one she was supposed to marry before Liam interfered. But this Cora is very different from the innocent girl who fell for Liam in the past. She’s a cop and has a confidence and independence he wasn’t expecting. She doesn’t remember Liam or their past lives, nor is she impressed with his attempts to guide her in any way.

Liam wants Cora for himself, but with his soul hanging in the balance, he must choose between a stolen moment in time or an eternity of damnation.

Please enjoy this exclusive excerpt from...
Chance Of A Lifetime
Jude Deveraux and Tara Sheets
PROLOGUE For an angel as old as Agon, there was nothing new under the sun, or above. After thousands of years studying the human condition, he’d pretty much seen it all. Time didn’t lie. It proved over and over again that human beings were f lawed. They led messy lives. They didn’t always learn from their mistakes. And yet, as he swooped into the Department of Destiny and prepared for another day of judging souls, he remained ever the optimist. Because time also had a way of proving that even in the face of all odds, love would prevail. He landed silently in the misty chamber and slapped his associate on the back. “What’s up, Samael?”The shorter angel jerked, fumbling for the clipboard in his hands. He gave Agon a scathing look of disapproval. “How many times must I tell you not to sneak up on me like that?”“Oh, yes. Sorry,”Agon said breezily. “Who’s up next?”Samael checked the clipboard with a heavy sigh. Pale curls framed his round face. Next to Agon’s imposing figure and dark hair, Samael looked almost boyish. But he’d been in charge of the Department of Destiny for over three hundred years, and he ran it with a stoic sense of justice that made him seem much older. “A grave disappointment, to be sure. The soul of Liam O’Connor stands judgment today.”“Ah.”Agon shook his head sadly. “Poor Irish ruffian. Such a tragic love story, Liam and the fair Cora.”“Those two should never have fallen in love,”Samael said with a scowl. “It shattered all of our plans. For over a century! So many destinies were ruined because of it.”He tucked his wings neatly behind his back, then glanced at Agon. “Are you ready to call him in?”“Yes.”Agon turned toward the wall of mist and pasted an encouraging smile on his face. “I told you not to do that,”Samael said. “This is serious business. We must ref lect the gravity of the situation through our appearance and mannerisms.”“But humans like smiles,”Agon said. “I thought perhaps it would make him feel more comfortable.”“His soul hangs in the balance between heaven and hell, and we’re about to judge it,”Samael said f latly. “Who could possibly be comfortable with that?”“Right.”Agon arranged his features to appear as bleak and unyielding as the surrounding chamber. “Much better,”Samael said with a nod. Then he raised his hand and called into the void. “I summon the soul of Liam O’Connor.”Like a cannonball hurled through a cloud, a man shot out of the mist, tumbling head over heels to land before the angels in a tangle of curses and grunts. Unlike other souls who were called to the Department of Destiny, Liam did not rise on unsteady feet, shaking with fear, terrified to stand judgment for his past life’s choices. Instead, he jumped up, slapping at wisps of fog still clinging to his hair and clothing, dark eyes casually scanning the room. Samael regarded him coolly. “Do you know why you’ve been summoned to the Chamber of Judgment?”Liam raised a dark brow. “Judgment day, I’d imagine?”For someone who stood on the brink of eternal damnation, he was far too nonchalant. But the angels knew this was part of his act. Liam O’Connor was no stranger to deception. “We have reviewed your past life and found you wanting,”Samael said. He f licked his hand, and moving images suddenly appeared in the misty wall. Liam picking pockets. Breaking into houses. Liam running through the forest carrying a bag of stolen jewels. A stagecoach in the background with victims shouting after him. A musket ball shattering the branch of a tree near his head. Liam laughing in the face of danger. “You were a thief,”Samael said. “And you stole from innocent people. Often.”“Well…”Liam crossed his arms and leaned against the wall of mist. “Crops were failing. I only stole to help put food on the table. Simple as that.”“Do not attempt to lie to us,”Samael said coldly. “We can see into your soul, Liam O’Connor, and we know the truth. You enjoyed stealing. You reveled in your life as a thief.”“Fine.”Liam pushed off the wall and began to pace, dragging the tips of his fingers through the roiling fog. “I did enjoy thieving, and I was good at it, too. I was never any good at farming. But I kept my brother’s family from starving, didn’t I? That has to count for something.”Samael gazed at him sternly. “You didn’t only steal objects.”He f licked his hand and another image appeared, a sweet, innocent young woman with glossy blond curls and rosy cheeks. She had a round, pretty face with a nose just a little too prominent, and a smile just a little too trusting. She was holding out a rose. “Cora,”Liam breathed. He stepped closer, but the image of the young woman vanished. “Bring her back!”He grasped at the fog with both hands. “Let me see her again.”“She wasn’t meant for you, ruffian,”Samael said. “You stole her from her fiancé.”“But I loved her,”Liam shot back. “And she—”“You interfered with her destiny,”Samael interrupted. “She was supposed to marry that man, and together they were going to raise a child who would someday help the world.”Liam scowled. “Her fiancé didn’t deserve her. She wanted me. It was me she loved in the end.”“Ah, yes,”Samael said icily. “The end.”Liam glanced away. “Things ended very badly for her, as you well know,”Samael continued. “For both of you. And now, because of you, Cora’s soul has never found peace. In every new life we’ve given her, she’s afraid to fall in love. She never lives long enough to fulfill her destiny.”He f licked his hand again. This time, terrible images appeared. Cora as a young nurse, caring for soldiers during an outbreak of scarlet fever…dying in a hospital bed. Cora as a nanny, rushing to save a young child from the path of a runaway horse…dying in the street. Cora working in a factory during WWII…dying in an explosion. The angels knew Liam wouldn’t understand some of the things he was seeing, but the message was very clear. Cora’s life always ended in tragedy. “Enough!”Liam f lung his hands up, scrubbing his face. “Just tell me my fate. Is it to be hell, then?”The angels exchanged glances. “It is true you’ve done much wrong in your life,”Samael said. “But you’ve also done some good. For this reason, we’re going to give you a chance at redemption.”Liam’s head shot up. He glanced back and forth between the two angels.

My Thoughts
Chance Of A Lifetime by Jude Deveraux and Tara Sheets is for the most part a very sweet second chance romance / loosely formatted police procedural.  Heavy on the romance.  Kinda?!

Confused yet?
Thought so...

Picture it!
Ireland 1844.
Liam O'Connor is a young and impoverished commoner with sticky fingers.  Heading a gang of thieves bound and determined to rob the local Squire's house.  While he and his household are away.
Only Liam, wary of the plan because the Squire had done his brother and his family a kindness the previous winter. And secretly hoping to thwart other dastardly deeds sure to be associated with it.  Decides that he will be the one to burgle the noble house well ahead of the proposed date.  And thereby prevent an unnecessary damage that the others of his crew intend.

Only to find that it is he who has hos heart stolen. When upon scaling the house and entering an open upstairs window.  He finds himself face to face with Cora McCleod.  The daughter of the Squire.  And apparent 'love at first sight' to our Liam.

The problem...

Young Cora, it seems has been fated to marry her father's solicitor, Finley.  And Liam's suit derails that.  Thereby not allowing for the birth of a child destined to help humanity.
A crime which Liam must answer for at judgment.

Bring on the reincarnation...
Along with the all too convenient story set up.
Wherein Liam is transported from 1844 Ireland, to heaven, and then on to present day Providence Falls, North Carolina.
Without so much as a GPS, 21st century tips and tricks guide, or at least a list of the latest slang and technological advancements.
Only a duffle, some clothes, some money, A cell phone...
(Which he knows how to use.  Strangely enough.)
And one directive.

Get Cora to fall for Finley Walsh at all costs.
Although I'm quite sure that they did not intend that he become a murder suspect in the process.

Go figure.

As mentioned before.  This is a very sweet romance turned mystery.
Albeit with a few flaws.
The first of which is the fact that quite a few people from Cora and Liam's shared past have all managed to settle in the same North Carolina town.  And now either work together or know each other personally.
Liam is a cop with no training, no knowledge of procedure or law.  But he can just waltz into the local police department and immediately be partnered with his reincarnated long lost love.


Annd the coincidences just keep coming.

The only thing that works to save this story is the fact that Liam and Cora are extremely likeable.  And readers spend the majority of the book hoping for some sort of "happily..."
The attainment of which this reviewer is at liberty to neither confirm or deny.  Although one may be in sight by book two.

This is a light read.  With just enough readability to keep one on the hook til the end.  But sadly lacking the staying power to leave a lasting impression beyond the last page.

About Jude
Jude Gilliam was born September 20, 1947 in Fairdale, Kentucky. She has a large extended family and is the elder sister of four brothers. She attended Murray State University and received a degree in Art. In 1967, Jude married and took her husband's surname of White, but four years later they divorced. For years, she worked as 5th-grade teacher.

She began writing in 1976, and published her first book, The Enchanted Land (1977) under the name Jude Deveraux. Following the publication of her first novel, she resigned her teaching position. Now, she is the author of 31 New York Times bestsellers.

Jude won readers' hearts with the epic Velvet series, which revolves around the lives of the Montgomery family's irresistible men. Jude's early books are set largely in 15th- and 16th-century England; in them her fierce, impassioned protagonists find themselves in the midst of blood feuds and wars. Her heroines are equally scrappy -- medieval Scarlett O'Haras who often have a low regard for the men who eventually win them over. They're fighters, certainly, but they're also beauties who are preoccupied with survival and family preservation.

Jude has also stepped outside her milieu, with mixed results. Her James River trilogy (River Lady, Lost Lady, and Counterfeit Lady) is set mostly in post-Revolution America; the popular, softer-edged Twin of Fire/Twin of Ice moves to 19th-century Colorado and introduces another hunky-man clan, the Taggerts.

Deveraux manages to evoke a strong and convincing atmosphere for each of her books, but her dialogue and characters are as familiar as a modern-day soap opera's. "Historicals seem to be all I'm capable of," Jude once said in an interview, referring to a now out-of-print attempt at contemporary fiction, 1982's Casa Grande. "I don't want to write family sagas or occult books, and I have no intention of again trying to ruin the contemporary market." Still, Jude did later attempt modern-day romances, such as the lighthearted High Tide (her first murder caper), the contemporary female friendship story The Summerhouse, and the time-traveling Knight in Shining Armor. In fact, with 2002's The Mulberry Tree, Deveraux seems to be getting more comfortable setting stories in the present, which is a good thing, since the fans she won with her historical books are eager to follow her into the future.

Jude married Claude White, who she later divorced in 1993. Around the same time she met Mohammed Montassir with whom she had a son, Sam Alexander Montassir, in 1997. On Oct. 6th, 2005, Sam died at the age of eight in a motorcycle accident.

Jude has lived in several countries and all over the United States. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and has an additional home in the medieval city of Badolato, Italy. 

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