More than a year ago, when sifting through submissions for Forest Avenue Press, I found a story about a fisherman raising his granddaughter on a small Alaskan island, while struggling with the death of his wife and trying to make ends meet. Into his relatively stable life walks his estranged daughter, swearing she has changed, and wanting to reclaim a place in her daughter’s life.
I begged for fifty pages after reading the first five. And then I begged for the full. Because I had to know what happened to Ray and his granddaughter Sitka. And then I accepted the book for publication.
Dan Berne’s The Gods of Second Chances releases today, and we’re so excited to report that early readers have had the same reaction as me: they can’t stop reading! If you like fast-paced, beautifully written fiction, try it. Support a small press. And better yet, your independent bookstore. Here’s the description:
Family means everything to widowed Alaskan fisherman Ray Bancroft, raising his granddaughter with help from a multitude of gods and goddesses–not to mention rituals ad-libbed at sea by his half-Tlingit best friend. But statues and otter bone ceremonies aren’t enough when Ray’s estranged daughter returns from prison, her search for a safe harbor threatening everything he holds sacred.
And here’s a stellar blurb by bestselling author Rachael Herron, whose new literary novel, Pack Up the Moon, is due out March 4 from Penguin:
“With a story as riveting as it is fresh and characters as profound and compelling as the water that surrounds them, Dan Berne’s The Gods of Second Chances is a gorgeous plunge into the depth of the bonds of blood and belief.”
– Rachel Herron, author of Pack Up the Moon
ForeWord Reviews just put its spring reviews online, and this is their take on Dan’s book. It begins:
“With his strong debut novel, Dan Berne takes the story of a longstanding family feud and turns it into a poignant portrait of a man’s struggle to fight the battles of the present and past simultaneously.”
Here’s what one Goodreads reviewer said:
As much as this tale will break your heart, you are compelled to keep reading to find out how bad it can get, and if there is redemption in store. (“Please!”, I would plead to the author and his muse, as I referred back to the title of the book, “Give this poor character a break!”)
And another reader emailed me to say:
“There’s not ONE misplaced word in that book! I can’t wait to finish my work today and get back to it!”
You can see more blurbs and press coverage on our Gods of Second Chances catalog page. We’ve had reports of canceled evening plans, ignored chores, and ignored spouses, as our early readers have been riveted to the story. Someone in the industry recently said he was shocked this manuscript wasn’t grabbed by a bigger house, and I admitted feeling incredibly lucky and grateful to have found this in my submission pile.
The Gods of Second Chances is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon, Powell’s, and other independent bookstores, including directly through Kobo. If you’re in Portland, please join us at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at Powell’s downtown for the book launch reading! We hope to attract an overflow crowd to support this wonderful debut author.
I wouldn’t ordinarily ask (beg?) my blog friends to share this book with their friends, but I think it has a real shot at getting some major national attention because of Dan’s commercial pacing, sense of humor, and beautiful landscape writing. If you like books that feel like they should be turned into movies, this is the fiction release in our catalog that’s for you! We’ve sent out tons of advance copies, including using a publicist to reach some of the bigger-name publications, and things are starting to pop, but nothing helps more than word of mouth.
So if you’re interested, buy a copy, or just spread the word, invite Dan to guest post on your blog, suggest it to your book club (and then invite him to appear in person or by FaceTime), or contact you local library to at ask them to stock a few copies.
If you read The Gods of Second Chances, please consider reviewing it, sharing it with your friends, or buying another copy as a gift. Dan and I and the whole Forest Avenue Press community of readers, authors, and supporters will thank you, too. We’re a family and we’re grateful for every sale, and every opportunity, that comes our way.