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A Chance of a Lifetime

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Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it... To Benita Ford, Tallgrass, Oklahoma, will always be home. It's where her beloved grandmother raised her and where she rode bikes with her two best friends—the man who became her husband and Calvin. And Tallgrass is where she stayed, even after her husband died while serving his country. Now Calvin is home from that same w Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it... To Benita Ford, Tallgrass, Oklahoma, will always be home. It's where her beloved grandmother raised her and where she rode bikes with her two best friends—the man who became her husband and Calvin. And Tallgrass is where she stayed, even after her husband died while serving his country. Now Calvin is home from that same war, and the sensitive, mischievous boy she once knew is today a man scarred by wounds no one else can see. Falling in love with him is something Bennie never imagined. Tallgrass still haunts Captain Calvin Sweet. Yet it's where he must go to see Bennie—the one woman he always loved but could never have. Calvin regrets so much about what happened years ago. Still he can't deny being with Bennie makes his future feel bright, like anything is possible. But the demons of his past won't be quieted that easily. As old hurts linger, threatening to pull them apart, Calvin and Bennie must take the ultimate risk for the love of a lifetime.


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Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it... To Benita Ford, Tallgrass, Oklahoma, will always be home. It's where her beloved grandmother raised her and where she rode bikes with her two best friends—the man who became her husband and Calvin. And Tallgrass is where she stayed, even after her husband died while serving his country. Now Calvin is home from that same w Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it... To Benita Ford, Tallgrass, Oklahoma, will always be home. It's where her beloved grandmother raised her and where she rode bikes with her two best friends—the man who became her husband and Calvin. And Tallgrass is where she stayed, even after her husband died while serving his country. Now Calvin is home from that same war, and the sensitive, mischievous boy she once knew is today a man scarred by wounds no one else can see. Falling in love with him is something Bennie never imagined. Tallgrass still haunts Captain Calvin Sweet. Yet it's where he must go to see Bennie—the one woman he always loved but could never have. Calvin regrets so much about what happened years ago. Still he can't deny being with Bennie makes his future feel bright, like anything is possible. But the demons of his past won't be quieted that easily. As old hurts linger, threatening to pull them apart, Calvin and Bennie must take the ultimate risk for the love of a lifetime.

30 review for A Chance of a Lifetime

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I won a copy of A CHANCE of a LIFETIME by Marilyn Pappano, through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest. This was a refreshing change as I usually read mystery, suspense, psychological thrillers. I found myself relaxing and being drawn into the story, through her characters and their journey. "A Chance of a Lifetime,"is the fifth book in the Tallgrass series, but the first book I have read in the series. While I am sure I missed out a lot of background information on the characters, I was still able to I won a copy of A CHANCE of a LIFETIME by Marilyn Pappano, through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest. This was a refreshing change as I usually read mystery, suspense, psychological thrillers. I found myself relaxing and being drawn into the story, through her characters and their journey. "A Chance of a Lifetime,"is the fifth book in the Tallgrass series, but the first book I have read in the series. While I am sure I missed out a lot of background information on the characters, I was still able to follow the story with no difficulty. I just felt it would have enriched my interpretation of the story, had I read the previous novels in the series in sequence. The novel focuses around the romance of Bennie, a nursing student and widow, and Calvin, her former best friend who has just returned from war suffering from PTSD. There is also a secondary romance between Lucy and Joe. Like Bennie and Calvin, Lucy and Joe are old friends that also had hidden feelings for each other. I personally felt that the secondary romance between Lucy and Joe, was not needed in this novel, to allow for more character driven plot of Bennie and Calvin. This book is well written, and not a fluffy type romance, that would normally put me to sleep! It was an emotional and character driven journey, with believable and compelling characters. I could feel their pain, and in the case of Calvin I wanted to understand more about his PTSD, and his inner battle over trying to commit suicide. Bennie had always been the love of Calvin’s life…but she married someone else, another one in their circle of friends. And Bennie never knew! And Bennie doesn’t know what happened between Calvin and her husband that ended a friendship. But everything changed as a result of the war. Bennie lost her husband in the war, and now her best friend, Calvin comes back from the war a different person. PTSD has changed him forever. The truth will set you free. A chance of a Lifetime! This is an emotional story that readers will relate to in different ways, depending on their background, but few will be untouched by this gripping story of pain and reconciliation. Thank you Marilyn Pappano for allowing me to read your book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This was a terrific romance with a deeply emotional side to it. Benita, J'Myel, and Calvin grew up together in Tallgrass, three friends who went through the good and the bad together. J'Myel and Calvin enlisted in the Army together, promising to always have each other's backs. But multiple deployments brought changes to them both, including J'Myel's marriage to Benita. Then J'Myel and Calvin grew apart, destroying the link among the three, ending in J'Myel's death. Now Calvin is back in Tallgras This was a terrific romance with a deeply emotional side to it. Benita, J'Myel, and Calvin grew up together in Tallgrass, three friends who went through the good and the bad together. J'Myel and Calvin enlisted in the Army together, promising to always have each other's backs. But multiple deployments brought changes to them both, including J'Myel's marriage to Benita. Then J'Myel and Calvin grew apart, destroying the link among the three, ending in J'Myel's death. Now Calvin is back in Tallgrass, lost and hurting. How I ached for Calvin. The things that he saw and did, then the loss of his two best friends, left him feeling alone and hopeless. Combined with his PTSD, he attempted to take the only way out that he could see. Fortunately for him, he was stopped by a teenaged thief, which then got him the help he needed. But now Calvin has to face the loss of his army career and the feelings of shame over what he tried to do. Being back home in Tallgrass is both good and bad. Good because his family and friends are there to give him the support he needs, but bad because the good memories only emphasize what he feels that he has lost. Bennie has spent her entire life in Tallgrass. It is home and she has no desire to leave. She has moved on pretty well from the death of her husband, though she still feels the loss of the life they could have had. She doesn't know what happened between him and Calvin, but she regrets that it ended her lifelong friendship with him. She knows he's coming back, and with the close relationships between their families, she knows that she will be seeing him again. She hopes to finally find out what went wrong. I really loved seeing the relationship develop between Bennie and Calvin. She has become stronger and more independent since J'Myel's death. I liked seeing her ask Calvin straight out what had caused the rift, and that she was able to deal with the answer. I loved that she knows Calvin well enough to see that he has changed, even if she doesn't know what has caused the changes. I really liked seeing her try to draw him back into life in Tallgrass without making light of the pain that she can see in his eyes. For Calvin, it is a very slow process. He knows that his family is aware of what he did, and facing them is hard. Being around Bennie starts to bring a little light back into his life. He's always had feelings for her, but she was J'Myel's girl, then wife. Just because he's gone, doesn't mean that it would be right to move on those feelings, but how can he not. I enjoyed Bennie's slow awakening to the way that her feelings for Calvin are changing from friendship to something more. Once she accepted those feelings she was ready to move forward with them, but found that there was something that was still holding Calvin back. I loved her patience and understanding as she told him that she would wait until he was ready. But her own nature also was evident when she told him that she'd only wait for so long before she would start pushing him. I really liked the way that Calvin was able to talk to one of the guys about what had happened with him. The way that he was listened to and not judged made it easier for Calvin to believe that he could move past it. I also liked the advice he got, that if he wanted a relationship with Bennie he was going to have to tell her everything. The most moving and realistic part of the book was when he did just that. His nervousness and vulnerability were real and believable, as he opened up to Bennie and confessed all. I also liked her reaction of guilt that she hadn't recognized just how much he was hurting. It was something that was very realistic to me, as was her need to process what she had learned. Her talk with the hospital chaplain was an eye opener for her. I loved her big scene at the end as she showed Calvin just how deep her feelings were. There was also a secondary romance running with Joe and Lucy. I liked seeing his patience finally pay off as Lucy reached the point of being able to accept his attentions. It was really sweet to see the way he took care of her, especially after what happened to her. Lucy had some self-esteem issues because of her weight. I liked that Joe didn't ignore them, but helped her deal with them. I really enjoyed the importance of family and friends in this book. Calvin has come home to his family, who want to help and support him but are unsure how to do it. I loved his grandmother and Bennie's, who were best friends and pretty feisty old ladies. Neither had any trouble speaking their minds and frequently provided some excellent guidance. I also enjoyed seeing the arrival of Diez, the boy who had stopped Calvin's suicide attempt. It was really sweet to see the way that Calvin's family took him in and gave him something he'd never had - a real sense of love and family. It will be interesting to see more of him in later books. I also loved the Margarita Ladies group and how they were always there for each other.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    The last book in the series ended on an ominous note with a prodigal son hitting absolutely rock bottom and knowing that 'you can't go back' is no longer an option. Calvin Sweet is coming home and Benny Ford might get to hear 'why' after all the years. And let's not forget Lucy and Joe whose story has been percolating in the background of the last few books. This was probably my most anticipated Tallgrass book yet and I was not disappointed when I closed the last page. This is the fifth book in The last book in the series ended on an ominous note with a prodigal son hitting absolutely rock bottom and knowing that 'you can't go back' is no longer an option. Calvin Sweet is coming home and Benny Ford might get to hear 'why' after all the years. And let's not forget Lucy and Joe whose story has been percolating in the background of the last few books. This was probably my most anticipated Tallgrass book yet and I was not disappointed when I closed the last page. This is the fifth book in the series. It's one of those series that goes along best if read in order, but is also written so that the reader can jump in at any point or read one as a standalone. As a 'jumper inner', I can vouchsafe you on this. Though yes, I do need to go back for the first two books. The story begins with Captain Calvin Sweet arriving at the local army fort to voluntarily check into the hospital and then transition into the Warrior Transition Unit on his way to being parted from the army. Twelve years of deployment broke him and at a weak point and deep in depression he planned to commit suicide. If not for the intervention of a quirky car thief who stopped him by breaking his arm, taking him to the ER, and then robbing him, he might have succeeded. The army post for his last, short assignment is in his hometown and that brings with it the challenge of facing his family, neighbors, friends, and that long-broken and hostile friendship with Benny one of his two bestfriends growing up. Benny lost her husband in Afghanistan and her other best friend, Calvin long before that when J'Myel and Calvin parted and never reconciled. Calvin never showed at her wedding or J'Myel's funeral. Why? That is what she wants to know after all these years. Now that he's back, she will work up the fortitude to ask him. But the Calvin who comes back isn't the one who left. This man has dark shadows in his eyes, a brooding heaviness and never smiles or laughs. This one looks back at her with just as much anger and pain as she did him. What happened years ago? Lucy is finally taking the plunge on her catering business. She is scared to death, but it's not like she doesn't have a financial safety net. She has worked through much of her grief and will always love Mike, but now realizes she is lonely. Her first time out dating didn't net a guy, but dare she try for the one next door? Joe has always seemed like a best bud and big kid, but lately he's gotten a certain look in his eye and makes it clear that he is a man and he's been waiting long enough for her to get back in the game. Swirling around these two couple's lives are the ladies from the Tuesday Margarita Club and the down home residents of small town, friendly Tallgrass including a little dog and needing teenage boy who both just want a home. At this point in the series, the cast of characters has grown and the Tallgrass setting is cozy and familiar. I enjoy each new installment as comfortable reading, but I like how there is depth and heart. In this installment, Calvin has PTSD and guilt, Benny is carrying around some unresolved feelings, and Lucy and Joe have to both come to the point. PTSD and other war injuries are handled with knowledge and care. I didn't know about the Warrior Transition Unit, but found it's inclusion a nice addition. Also, the situation with why Calvin and J'Myel along with Benny broke up their friendship was a strong element and by far the one that interested me the most beyond their reconciliation. The reveal was heartbreaking and not quite what I was expecting. The pacing is gentle and is very much character driven. The easy writing, setting, and scenes back that up. It was nice to be along for Calvin and Benny's family affairs, town happenings, the widowed soldier wives' Margarita club get togethers and coming together to help one of their own in need. I didn't realize it before, but each book adds in a dog character that pretty much steals my heart each time. All in all, this book/series are satisfying in an understated way that can reach deep. I think those who enjoy gentle small town romance with a post-military flavor should take a look-see. My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Arlena Dean

    Title: A Chance of a Lifetime Author: Marilyn Pappano Publisher: Forever Series: Tallgrass # 5 Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: Five Review: "A Chance of a Lifetime" by Marilyn Pappano My Thoughts.... This series really puts more icing on the cake as this is this author's fifth in the Tallgrass series that features Benita Ford and Captain Calvin Sweet from Tallgrass Oklahoma. The reader will be presented with a story that will be with the reader long after the read. This read will take the reader to thre Title: A Chance of a Lifetime Author: Marilyn Pappano Publisher: Forever Series: Tallgrass # 5 Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: Five Review: "A Chance of a Lifetime" by Marilyn Pappano My Thoughts.... This series really puts more icing on the cake as this is this author's fifth in the Tallgrass series that features Benita Ford and Captain Calvin Sweet from Tallgrass Oklahoma. The reader will be presented with a story that will be with the reader long after the read. This read will take the reader to three friends since childhood but after growing up we find that only two of the third friends had remained friends. What had happened in the total relationship to Calvin, J'Myel and Bennie known as childhoods....'The Three Musketeers?' Would a death of one of the friends and the return of another from Afghanistan who was now back home suffering with PTSD bring these two friends [Bennie and Calvin] back together again after many years had passed? I loved how this author was able to bring into this storyline not only the two main characters but another group of characters were simply off the chart so well developed, defined, well portrayed and believable. Here are just a few of this wonderful cast of characters..... The Sweets Family, Pickerings Family, Ms. Emmeline, Diez, Joe Cadore, Lucy[Luce],Trinity Adams, Ilena Gomez, John, Tuesday Night Margarita Club members....Carly Clark, Jessy, Fia, Marti, Patricia, Leach, Therese to name a few. Many of these people will have there own story that will be well mentioned in this story. The Margarita Club members who were all friends and widows...who had lost a husband in war. I loved this group of ladies! I found this novel to be very well written by this author...the main question would Calvin and Bennie take the ultimate risk for a love of a lifetime after all is said and done and Bennie learns the whole story of just what had happened between them[Calvin & JMyel? I don't want to spoil any of it other that say you will have to pick up this author novel 'A Chance Of A Lifetime.' It will keep your attention all the way to the end giving her readers a good read. Would I recommend? Yes I received a copy through NOR in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Reviewed for NetGalley: So, this book really felt like it had two main romances in it. The first one was interesting, we find out the fate of the soldier from the last book who was incredibly depressed and suicidal. It was an interesting story, one that needs to be told. How PTSD can effect someone and ways they can deal with it, and try to get help. The other story was about Lucy. She finally got to be a sort of main character, and here's the thing. How Pappano has talked about Lucy has always a Reviewed for NetGalley: So, this book really felt like it had two main romances in it. The first one was interesting, we find out the fate of the soldier from the last book who was incredibly depressed and suicidal. It was an interesting story, one that needs to be told. How PTSD can effect someone and ways they can deal with it, and try to get help. The other story was about Lucy. She finally got to be a sort of main character, and here's the thing. How Pappano has talked about Lucy has always annoyed me. Lucy is fat. She stress eats and so, after her husband died she put on a little weight. Over the course of the other 4 books she is CONSTANTLY beating herself up about her weight, and her friends also beat her up about it. Her neighbor brings her a dog with the idea that she'll take care of it, it's a stray, but also that it will help her get exercise (Note to anyone planning to get a pet, that's not a good reason). And then, even though he loves her, he basically concern trolls her about her health. And though, even though MOST of the time, when we see Lucy eat, and she's eating something healthy, and most of the time, we see her exercise, guess who still has (view spoiler)[ a heart attack (hide spoiler)] . Every time I write a review about one of these books I always consider writing something about the way she portrayed Lucy, and I never have, because Lucy was such a side character. But it finally made it's way to the fore in this story, and I felt like I had to say something. Also, her hero, Joe, he seemed a bit entitled. I hate it when people decide they like a person, but that htey're not ready. I HATE THAT. Just ask her, you know? sigh.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Anderson

    Absolutely hooked on this series Unfortunately Marilyn Pappano could never write this series fast enough to please me. It is one that I find totally engrossing. The way it brings all of the characters of the Tuesday Night Margarita Club, their families, past and present together in each book, yet manages to concentrate so well on one or two members and their lives at the time. So glad to finally see Lucy and Joe realizing their mutual feelings are actually returned. I must say though, Bennie and C Absolutely hooked on this series Unfortunately Marilyn Pappano could never write this series fast enough to please me. It is one that I find totally engrossing. The way it brings all of the characters of the Tuesday Night Margarita Club, their families, past and present together in each book, yet manages to concentrate so well on one or two members and their lives at the time. So glad to finally see Lucy and Joe realizing their mutual feelings are actually returned. I must say though, Bennie and Calvin stole my heart. Although I'm not sure how much of that might actually had to do with Gran and most especially Mama. Not only are those two ladies wise, but two of the funniest characters around. I so look forward to the next trip to Tallgrass, Oklahoma with Ms. Pappano and her memorable characters.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Wine

    Another installment in a fabulous series I've really enjoyed The Tallgrass books by Marilyn Pappano. In this book we follow the lives, the trials and tribulations of army widows as they face the challenges of picking up the threads of life and facing the challenges of life alone after their men went to war....and didn't return. Pappano has a real gift for creating warm realistic people that make readers care about them ... Cry for them and laugh for them... Highly recommended to all readers looki Another installment in a fabulous series I've really enjoyed The Tallgrass books by Marilyn Pappano. In this book we follow the lives, the trials and tribulations of army widows as they face the challenges of picking up the threads of life and facing the challenges of life alone after their men went to war....and didn't return. Pappano has a real gift for creating warm realistic people that make readers care about them ... Cry for them and laugh for them... Highly recommended to all readers looking for a meaty read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

    FINDING LOVE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT The story is the fifth book in the Tallgrass series but can read well as a stand-alone. Two people, both healing, both scarred, and needing each other. Can these childhood friends find love with each other? Can Bennie help Calvin with the demons that are haunting him? I won an advanced reading copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am FINDING LOVE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT The story is the fifth book in the Tallgrass series but can read well as a stand-alone. Two people, both healing, both scarred, and needing each other. Can these childhood friends find love with each other? Can Bennie help Calvin with the demons that are haunting him? I won an advanced reading copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Thielen

    This series focuses on a military town where a group of women are trying to take back their lives after being widowed by war. In this story one soldier comes back with serious ptsd issues. One of the widows takes a chance in both her personal life, and in her career only to have a health scare.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Donna Schwartz

    Loved this book as it was written about an African American couple and their families! I also appreciated the insight it gave me into PTSD from a soldier's point of view. Not something I've had exposure to. Great book! Loved this book as it was written about an African American couple and their families! I also appreciated the insight it gave me into PTSD from a soldier's point of view. Not something I've had exposure to. Great book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    I didn't really buy the easy transition of brotherly love to romantic love between the main characters Calvin and Benita. I thought Joe and Lucy's romance was more interesting. I didn't really buy the easy transition of brotherly love to romantic love between the main characters Calvin and Benita. I thought Joe and Lucy's romance was more interesting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Another great book in The Tallgrass series!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I liked Bennie and Calvin, but had to seriously question how Bennie just stopped speaking to Calvin because J'Myel said so. I can't really see that happening if they were the great best friends they were described to be, so I had a hard time with that. But, I liked this more than the last couple before it and I'm glad the flip flop talk was curtailed here. It kind of made me realize I've continued reading the series to get Lucy's story. I liked Bennie and Calvin, but had to seriously question how Bennie just stopped speaking to Calvin because J'Myel said so. I can't really see that happening if they were the great best friends they were described to be, so I had a hard time with that. But, I liked this more than the last couple before it and I'm glad the flip flop talk was curtailed here. It kind of made me realize I've continued reading the series to get Lucy's story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Turner

    An okay read

  15. 5 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    http://openbooksociety.com/article/a-... A Chance of a Lifetime Tallgrass, Book #5 By Marilyn Pappano ISBN #9781455561582 Author’s website: http://www.marilyn-pappano.com/index.... Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jerjen Synopsis: Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it… To Benita Ford, Tallgrass, Oklahoma, will always be home. It’s where her beloved grandmother raised her and where she rode bikes with her two best friends—the man who became her husband and Calvin. And Tallgrass is where she stay http://openbooksociety.com/article/a-... A Chance of a Lifetime Tallgrass, Book #5 By Marilyn Pappano ISBN #9781455561582 Author’s website: http://www.marilyn-pappano.com/index.... Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jerjen Synopsis: Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it… To Benita Ford, Tallgrass, Oklahoma, will always be home. It’s where her beloved grandmother raised her and where she rode bikes with her two best friends—the man who became her husband and Calvin. And Tallgrass is where she stayed, even after her husband died while serving his country. Now Calvin is home from that same war, and the sensitive, mischievous boy she once knew is today a man scarred by wounds no one else can see. Falling in love with him is something Bennie never imagined. Tallgrass still haunts Captain Calvin Sweet. Yet it’s where he must go to see Bennie—the one woman he always loved but could never have. Calvin regrets so much about what happened years ago. Still he can’t deny being with Bennie makes his future feel bright, like anything is possible. But the demons of his past won’t be quieted that easily. As old hurts linger, threatening to pull them apart, Calvin and Bennie must take the ultimate risk for the love of a lifetime. Review: Calvin Sweet has returned home to Tallgrass, Oklahoma, to begin healing from his time in the military. Well, to be more exact, to try to heal from the PTSD that he is dealing with. He has survivor’s guilt and such a deep despair and depression that he does not know if he can ever claw his way out of it. But he also knows that if he is ever going to feel whole again, Tallgrass is where he needs to be. His family, his friends and his boyhood memories can be found right there. And so can Bennie, his childhood confidant, playmate and part of his boyhood trio of best friends. Bennie has lived in Tallgrass for most of her life. She lived there with her grandmother, after her mother deserted her and her father. It is here that she has always felt loved, from her grandmother and from her two best friends, J’Myel and Calvin. It is also here that she is healing from the death of her husband, J’Myel, while he was serving in the military. Between her grandmother’s love and the love of her best girlfriends, the Tuesday Night Margarita Club, she is surviving the loss of her husband and making a new life for herself. When she learns that Calvin is back, she is nervous to see him again. She has not seen him for a long time, and she cannot understand why he never acknowledged her wedding to J’Myel or his death. When she spends time with him, she sees that he has his own demons to exorcise and that he is not the same person she knew as a child. She wants to renew their friendship, help him to heal and maybe find a second chance at happiness, but she does not know if that is even possible. The characters are well rounded, well developed and three dimensional. They are people you begin to care about, root for and worry about. The family dynamics are such a treat to read about, and Calvin and Bennie have people in their lives that they can depend on. These same people will be quick to point out what they should do and try to keep the two in line. There are so many heart wrenching and heartwarming moments between them all, and my emotions went on a roller coaster ride while reading this book. The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The characters, the emotions involved and the realistic look at life make for a fantastic read. The small town setting, the military aspect, and the friendship interactions are woven together perfectly to hold the reader’s interest. In my opinion, the best part of this book is how realistically the author looks at a serious problem facing military families daily. She does not sugar coat the problems that soldiers face when returning home and the difficulties facing families when their loved ones return. It made me even more aware of the sacrifices that military families make and more thankful to them for these sacrifices. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-crafted women’s contemporary. I have read other books in this series and I have enjoyed them all, but this one may be my favorite. And this author is right up there at the top of my favorite author list. *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

  16. 4 out of 5

    Catherine (The Sassy Bookster)

    Warning: If you are looking for a lighthearted and fun romance, this is not the book for you. However, if having your heart squeezed just a little bit as you experience a bundle of heavy emotions is something you're up for, then by all means read this book. Captain Calvin Sweet never thought that he would return to Tallgrass, at least not alive, but he's back where the memories of a happy childhood and childhood friendships haunt him on every corner and where the regrets of those lost friendships Warning: If you are looking for a lighthearted and fun romance, this is not the book for you. However, if having your heart squeezed just a little bit as you experience a bundle of heavy emotions is something you're up for, then by all means read this book. Captain Calvin Sweet never thought that he would return to Tallgrass, at least not alive, but he's back where the memories of a happy childhood and childhood friendships haunt him on every corner and where the regrets of those lost friendships as well as demons from the war front threaten to pull him under. But Tallgrass has something else: the woman he's loved most of his life and whom he didn't ever expect to have a chance with. Benita Ford grew up in Tallgrass with her two best friends, a trio whose bond seemed unbreakable, until both went away to war and things changed. A marriage to one of them, a gradual drifting apart, death, the loss of that tight bond and all that's left is questions and regrets from the two living friends. What can Bennie expect now that Calvin is back home? The synopsis of this book does not really do the story justice because it's way more than a story of former best friends salvaging their friendship and finding that they want more from each other than friendship. It's about choices and regrets, loss, grief and healing, family and bonds of friendships but above all, it puts a face on PTSD in a whole new way. Previous stories in the series have mentioned soldiers that lost a limb and most times, that's the picture in everyone's mind when thinking about PTSD and war veterans, but what about the warriors who seem whole on the outside but are just as damaged on the inside? Very few really understand them and can empathize with the hopelessness and despair that can pile up and lead to live-changing decisions such as Calvin made or the guilt and shame that come with such decisions. Thankfully, Calvin has a support system to fall back on in the form of his family and community and even his estranged friend, and a new lease on life. Calvin has loved Bennie forever but never expected to have those feelings reciprocated and before he can look forward to a future with her, he must come clean with her about what happened to tear their friendship apart and the struggles he lives with, to give her the chance to decide if she would willingly take them on. Bennie has also lost a lot in her young life too, from her mother's abandonment, to the deaths of her father and husband and has her own support group, The Margarita Club, a group of women who have lost a lot to the war too but have banded together to see each other through their struggles in a heartwarming sisterhood. I have to say that I have a new appreciation for military families and what they go through. On a light note, Bennie was a very lucky woman to have had the love of her best friends, two very different men for different seasons in her life. That said, while it was a lighthearted and enjoyable addition to the story, I found the secondary romance between Lucy and Joe distracting and wish they'd gotten their own book. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Want more? Subscribe to my Newsletter on The Sassy Bookster. Follow me on Twitter | Tumblr | Bloglovin’. Like my page on Facebook.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    4.5 stars. A Chance of a Lifetime by Marilyn Pappano is a moving novel of friendship, family and love. This latest installment in the Tallgrass series focuses on healing the invisible wounds of war as well as the hurts of the past when Calvin Sweet returns to Oklahoma. Calvin, Benita "Bennie" Ford and J'Myel Ford grew up together and the three were inseparable. Calvin and J'Myel joined the Army following high school while Bennie remained in Tallgrass. A rift between Calvin and J'Myel ended their c 4.5 stars. A Chance of a Lifetime by Marilyn Pappano is a moving novel of friendship, family and love. This latest installment in the Tallgrass series focuses on healing the invisible wounds of war as well as the hurts of the past when Calvin Sweet returns to Oklahoma. Calvin, Benita "Bennie" Ford and J'Myel Ford grew up together and the three were inseparable. Calvin and J'Myel joined the Army following high school while Bennie remained in Tallgrass. A rift between Calvin and J'Myel ended their close-knit friendship and since Bennie was dating J'Myel at the time, she acquiesced to his demand to end her friendship with Calvin too. In the intervening years, Bennie married, then buried, J'Myel while Calvin's multiple deployments and devastating losses of several friends has left him battling severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through the help of an informal widow's support group, Bennie is doing well despite the heartrending loss of her husband. She has a strong faith, invaluable friendships with other widows and a close relationship with the grandmother who raised her. In spite of the losses she has experienced, she remains upbeat and cheerful and she is well on her way to realizing her dream of becoming a registered nurse. Bennie is dismayed to learn that Calvin is back in town and her hopes to avoid him are soon dashed as their paths continue to cross. Although Calvin's emotional state is much improved, he is still struggling with the series of events that led to his return to Tallgrass. Committed to his battle against the deep despair and PTSD, he is reluctant to discuss the reason for return with nearly everyone. Each day, the dark cloud is lifting, but Calvin is well aware this is a battle he will fight for the rest of his life. As he and Bennie spend time together, he realizes he needs to be honest with her about why he is in Tallgrass, but fearing her reaction, Calvin adroitly evades her probing questions. With a little well-intentioned meddling from their families, Calvin and Bennie slowly resume their old friendship. After they finally discuss the lingering issues from the past, their relationship eventually turns romantic. Bennie notices some of the differences in Calvin's behavior but she easily puts these changes down to his wartime experiences. He continues to hide the truth about the dark turn his life has taken from her but overall, Calvin is gradually improving despite a few momentary setbacks. Bennie is a little confused by his reluctance to take their romance to the next level, but she patiently waits until he is ready to take the next step. However, nothing can prepare her for Calvin's confession and she is uncertain what, if any, this announcement has on their future together. A Chance of a Lifetime is an emotional novel that realistically portrays the invisible wounds inflicted by war. Marilyn Pappano sensitively educates readers about PTSD and depression but she does not sugarcoat the harsh realities of what the future holds for both the veteran and their loved ones. As with previous installments of the Tallgrass series, the characters are multi-faceted with true to life flaws and imperfections. The storyline is impeccably developed and the romance between Calvin and Bennie builds gradually over the course of the story. While the Margarita Club plays a smaller role in this outing, the women are still on hand to lend support when needed. All in all, another warm and inviting addition to a beloved series that old and new fans are sure to love.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Keeper Bookshelf

    Originally reviewed at Keeper Bookshelf I believe it’s impossible for an outsider to truly understand what the men and women serving our country go through in order to keep the rest of us safe. At times (if not all the time), the families of those who serve go through a different side of war that cannot be imagined outside of that group. I feel we can empathize, and try to understand but we can’t, not really. One of the reasons I have loved Marilyn Pappano’s Tallgrass series is the sense of bein Originally reviewed at Keeper Bookshelf I believe it’s impossible for an outsider to truly understand what the men and women serving our country go through in order to keep the rest of us safe. At times (if not all the time), the families of those who serve go through a different side of war that cannot be imagined outside of that group. I feel we can empathize, and try to understand but we can’t, not really. One of the reasons I have loved Marilyn Pappano’s Tallgrass series is the sense of being allowed into that circle to perhaps understand a bit better how serving one’s country, at any time, filters down through the other people in that military person’s lives. I am proud and humbled by the sacrifices so many people have and currently are experiencing in order to maintain my freedoms. A simple thank you can never be enough. I enjoyed Bennie and Calvin’s story very much. It’s always a delight to catch up with the many characters in this community. Three friends from childhood face a very different adulthood. Two will marry. Two will serve. And one of those who served will return to a very different life than he left behind. Calvin has loved Bennie for, well as long as he can remember. But she married another, the third member of their three musketeer childhood circle. He’s still certain that Bennie never knew how he felt about her back then. And he’s certain she doesn’t know what changed between him and her husband that forever ended that friendship. Bennie has lost her husband to war. And she’s also lost her best friend. Oh, Calvin returned but he’s not the carefree man he once was. PTSD is an insidious experience. One that every person affected by it reacts to a bit differently. Reaching a loved one going through this can be difficult, frightening and demanding. As Bennie and Calvin begin to see each other as more than childhood friends, the reality of PTSD will factor into their lives. As will the truth that has been left unsaid from years ago. There are no easy fixes. Calvin and Bennie will love each other, and question everything before they make that final choice to risk everything for the love of a lifetime. A Chance of a Lifetime is emotional, gripping and a story with touches of faith and inspiration. Combine that with believable characters that you can relate to and you have an excellent addition to the Tallgrass series. *I received an e-ARC of A Chance of a Lifetime from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    - I received a copy of this book from the publisher via a Goodreads giveaway Having received this book from the publisher, I was not familiar with this series prior to reading this 5th instalment. While this may have hindered me from fully enjoying some of the background characters (the Margarita girls), I was still able to fully enjoy this book as a standalone. "A Chance of a Lifetime," the fifth book in the Tallgrass series by Marilyn Pappano, centres around our main romance: Bennie, a nursing s - I received a copy of this book from the publisher via a Goodreads giveaway Having received this book from the publisher, I was not familiar with this series prior to reading this 5th instalment. While this may have hindered me from fully enjoying some of the background characters (the Margarita girls), I was still able to fully enjoy this book as a standalone. "A Chance of a Lifetime," the fifth book in the Tallgrass series by Marilyn Pappano, centres around our main romance: Bennie, a nursing student and widow, and Calvin, her former best friend who has just returned from war suffering from PTSD. While the book focuses heavily on their relationship, readers are also introduced to a secondary romance between Lucy and Joe. Like Bennie and Calvin, Lucy and Joe are long time friends fighting their growing feelings for one another. This book is definitely not a light hearted romance; it is emotional and character driven. Both couples are fully developed as separate characters and their relationships/friendships are firmly established before the romance begins, almost 3/4 in. This left me far more invested in the characters and felt very natural and real, not at all forced like so many romance books are. As well, the grief that all the characters feel in some way (Calvin and his PTSD, Bennie over her husband and Lucy over hers) is compelling and completely believable. The author does a particularly good job with Calvin's inner struggles and his guilt over his actions. While Calvin and Bennie's story was obviously the focus of this book (and hence the resolution at the end), I found myself equally interested in Lucy and Joe and wish there had been a bit more resolved there. Hopefully, this will continue on in the next book, which appears to be out in September 2016. In all, "A Chance of a Lifetime" is a compelling read and far more complex than your standard romance novel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought this one was a bit depressing, not what I'm looking for when I read a romance book. I get that what Calvin is going through is a very real problem, PTSD, depression and suicide, but it didn't seem like he dealt with his issues. Instead it was like everyone was ignoring the elephant in the room and tip toeing around Calvin. I was glad when he slowly started to talk to people about his issues, but even then he glossed over things. While I liked Bennie with Calvin it seemed like the reaso I thought this one was a bit depressing, not what I'm looking for when I read a romance book. I get that what Calvin is going through is a very real problem, PTSD, depression and suicide, but it didn't seem like he dealt with his issues. Instead it was like everyone was ignoring the elephant in the room and tip toeing around Calvin. I was glad when he slowly started to talk to people about his issues, but even then he glossed over things. While I liked Bennie with Calvin it seemed like the reason they quite talking was glossed over too, they never really talked about why Bennie with with what her husband asked instead of standing up for her friend she had known for so long. It seems like for a few books now Joe and Lucy have been dancing around each other, but I feel like they got short changed by sharing this book with Calvin and Bennie. I'm glad that they finally are going for things and that all the Margarita girls were there to support him.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melinda M

    A Chance of a Lifetime is a book that includes real life ups and downs and life in a small community. This is part of a series sat in Tallgrass, OK and is the fifth in the series. Captain Calvin Sweet comes home and is dealing with PTSD among other things. Meanwhile the other two thirds of his group from high school are not doing well either. His best friend marries the girl, Benita Ford, and got killed in action. Benita Ford and Captain Calvin Sweet need each other but there are all types of pr A Chance of a Lifetime is a book that includes real life ups and downs and life in a small community. This is part of a series sat in Tallgrass, OK and is the fifth in the series. Captain Calvin Sweet comes home and is dealing with PTSD among other things. Meanwhile the other two thirds of his group from high school are not doing well either. His best friend marries the girl, Benita Ford, and got killed in action. Benita Ford and Captain Calvin Sweet need each other but there are all types of problems getting there. Marilyn Pappano deals with real problems in a realistic way in her fictional town that makes it clear that life is not easy but enjoy the happy parts and fight thru the hard parts. It is an interesting read that keeps you involved and guessing at times. Love the characters and look forward to going back to read the first four books. I recieved this book thru Goodreads giveaway.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This was such a sweet book about 2 old friends getting to know one another again after a lot of time went by. Bennie lost her husband and her best friend serving his country. Calvin was serving his country, too, and came home to see what life is after his military career is over. Calvin was best friends with both Bennie and her husband. They both of issues to get through so they can find their way to one another. The story between Lucy and Joe was different than what was happening with Calvin and This was such a sweet book about 2 old friends getting to know one another again after a lot of time went by. Bennie lost her husband and her best friend serving his country. Calvin was serving his country, too, and came home to see what life is after his military career is over. Calvin was best friends with both Bennie and her husband. They both of issues to get through so they can find their way to one another. The story between Lucy and Joe was different than what was happening with Calvin and Bennie. Some surprises there. I love the town of Tallgrass, Oklahoma. It seems like a great town to be in. ☆☆☆☆☆ I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Would I recommend this book? Yes! Author? Yes! Would I read more from this author? Yes! Happy Reading! Melissa

  23. 4 out of 5

    Beyond the Pages

    I really had a hard time getting into this book. There was so much going on, and I, quite honestly, felt lost. What I thought was going to be a straight forward story turned out to be multiple storylines weaved into one big community of lives. What I liked (and had a special appreciation for) was the veteran/PTSD angle. I loved that. I also liked the good guy returning home to get the girl concept. What I did not care for was the drawn out love story. It was a tedious journey to get to the meat I really had a hard time getting into this book. There was so much going on, and I, quite honestly, felt lost. What I thought was going to be a straight forward story turned out to be multiple storylines weaved into one big community of lives. What I liked (and had a special appreciation for) was the veteran/PTSD angle. I loved that. I also liked the good guy returning home to get the girl concept. What I did not care for was the drawn out love story. It was a tedious journey to get to the meat of Benny and Calvin's story. I got rather tired after a while and chunked my reading just to get to the end. In truth, I never made it to the end. I hate when that happens, but I just could not make it, take it. Rating: 2/5 Audience: Adult Status: M Source: NetGalley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I've read most of the books in this series and one thing about Marilyn Pappano is that she doesn't write cutie fluffy romances. Her hero's are almost always combat veterans who return home changed men. Her ladies have all faced adversity and are learning to deal with the life they've been handed. We follow two couples in this book, Calvin and Bennie who have been friends since they were nine years old, Bennie's dead husband was their third musketeer. Calvin is leaving the army because of PTSD . I've read most of the books in this series and one thing about Marilyn Pappano is that she doesn't write cutie fluffy romances. Her hero's are almost always combat veterans who return home changed men. Her ladies have all faced adversity and are learning to deal with the life they've been handed. We follow two couples in this book, Calvin and Bennie who have been friends since they were nine years old, Bennie's dead husband was their third musketeer. Calvin is leaving the army because of PTSD . Lucy and Joe are also facing some unplanned health issues. Tallgrass is a wonderful small town and I always enjoy visiting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jaime Fiction Fangirls

    I enjoyed this book and was happy to see Bennie and Calvin get the happiness they both deserved, even if they have a long road ahead of them. I was also happy to read more about Lucy and Joe. This is my favorite aspect of this series, you don't just get one storyline in each book you get a broader look at the people and the town of Tallgrass. It's easy to become invested in the characters when you get glimpses of them in each book. *I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest revie I enjoyed this book and was happy to see Bennie and Calvin get the happiness they both deserved, even if they have a long road ahead of them. I was also happy to read more about Lucy and Joe. This is my favorite aspect of this series, you don't just get one storyline in each book you get a broader look at the people and the town of Tallgrass. It's easy to become invested in the characters when you get glimpses of them in each book. *I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenn O'Brien

    It is always fun to escape to the town of Tallgrass and find which one of the Margarita Girls is going to find happiness next. There are no surprises here, if you have been reading the series, you know one of girls is going to heal her broken heart and find joy again. I do enjoy the women in these books and their support of one another. Sure, they have a common bond of loss, but the friendships are true heart in these books. I loved Gran and Mama in this story. It would be great to see a stand al It is always fun to escape to the town of Tallgrass and find which one of the Margarita Girls is going to find happiness next. There are no surprises here, if you have been reading the series, you know one of girls is going to heal her broken heart and find joy again. I do enjoy the women in these books and their support of one another. Sure, they have a common bond of loss, but the friendships are true heart in these books. I loved Gran and Mama in this story. It would be great to see a stand alone story just focusing on these feisty old broads!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janeiowa

    Another intense read from Ms Pappano Marilyn Pappano writes of returning from Afghanistan and Iraq US soldiers and the issues they bring home with them, and the women who have become the Tuesday Margarita Club...aka the Fort Murphy Widows Club. I would suggest reading this Tallgrass series in order, as characters do reappear. Can it be read as a stand alone? Yes, of course, but I like knowing about some of the reappearing characters. This book involves two women from the Margarita Club, Lucy and B Another intense read from Ms Pappano Marilyn Pappano writes of returning from Afghanistan and Iraq US soldiers and the issues they bring home with them, and the women who have become the Tuesday Margarita Club...aka the Fort Murphy Widows Club. I would suggest reading this Tallgrass series in order, as characters do reappear. Can it be read as a stand alone? Yes, of course, but I like knowing about some of the reappearing characters. This book involves two women from the Margarita Club, Lucy and Benita.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    A strong hero with a BIG weakness, PTSD is rarely talked about and needs to be. There was roo easy a resolution of the whole dead husband turning away from Calvin but still a good story. A lot of family feel in this one. I love the way the main romance is not the only story and not the only romance. I love when a series overlaps stories.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This has got to be my favorite addition to this series and that's saying something as I've really enjoyed them all. A well written and well developed storyline with both a H and h dealing with issues that are explained realistically and honestly. Well done. This has got to be my favorite addition to this series and that's saying something as I've really enjoyed them all. A well written and well developed storyline with both a H and h dealing with issues that are explained realistically and honestly. Well done.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chris Conley

    Focusing attention on the very real problems of our returning service men and women is such a wonderful plan for these books. Each of these stories is a real tribute to these folks and their loved ones.

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