Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Second Ending

The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman
5/30/23; 352 pages
Random House

The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman is a highly recommended humorous and captivating debut novel about two pianists and a reality show competition.

Prudence Childs, 48, was once a household name as a child prodigy and star who played the piano for the famous and influential until she gave it all up to live an anonymous normal life and raise a family. Alexei Petrov is a current, young virtuoso who hosts a reality show competition with a large following. For reasons of her own, Prudence agrees to a competition facing Alexei on the dueling pianos TV show where the winner will take home a million dollars.

Adding to the drama is an ex-husband who hopes to extort money from Prudence, an HOA president who wants revenge, and a show producer with increasing demands. Both Prudence and Alexei have to win the competition for differing reasons but the two don't realize how much they have in common. The subject of controlling/stage parents is also readily present and the result of domineering actions is illustrated in the development of the characters.

The Second Ending is a compelling novel that will especially resonate with those who love music and play any instrument, but will certainly be enjoyed by any reader who loves well-written character based novels. The eccentric characters come to life in this novel that is packed with drama, humor and the love of music. Challenging and difficult issues are tackled with humor and passion. The narrative held my attention throughout and the ending was satisfying. This is a great debut novel!

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House via NetGalley.

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