Book: A Chance for Charity by S.L. Baum
Series or Stand-Alone: Series, Book #1Pages: 254
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal RomancePurchase A Copy: AmazonDescription (From Goodreads): A new family has just arrived in the isolated mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. Welcome the Johnstons - Jason (a doctor), Rachel (a designer), and their niece Emily (a current High School Senior).
Publication Date: June 4th, 2010
Emily has lived the life of a quiet loner in the past, trying to go unnoticed. But with Telluride being such a small and welcoming town, she finds a group of friends at school almost immediately. When Emily meets Link (another new transplant in town) her world turns upside down. She doesn't understand why she feels a magnetic pull toward him, or why she unknowingly lets her guard down around him. Link is just as confused by his own need to be with her.
Emily knows she is playing with fire. She should be doing whatever she can to keep herself isolated, to keep Link from getting too close. Danger has a way of finding Emily's family - that is what keeps them on the move. They arrive in a new town every few years - it is safer that way.
Because... Emily isn't really Emily... her real name is Charity - and Charity has an even bigger secret. Charity and her family are not like other people, they have "skills" that mere mortals cannot begin to comprehend.
Before long, Charity is struggling with the reality that her two lives are coming closer to each other with each passing day. Soon Link will find himself wrapped in a supernatural world that he never knew existed - and discover that mortals are not the only beings that walk this earth.
A Chance for Charity was a beautifully crafted, well developed paranormal story. While the story falls under the young adult category, the characters themselves do not behave like naive teenagers – because they are nothing of the sort. Although Charity (who currently goes by Emily) appears to be a seventeen-year-old, in reality she is in her nineties. She, and her companions, Catherine and James, are “immortal ones”. They never age and can heal themselves, but they can be murdered.
Baum does a fantastic job with the characters, especially Charity. I found her to be extremely endearing and easy to sympathize with. For the past seventy odd years she has kept the world at a distance, after she lost her first love during the attack on Pearl Harbor. She looks to Catherine and James for companionship, but it is obvious that she is missing something.
The book begins when Charity, Catherine and James move to the small town of Telluride, Colorado. Because they do not age, they are forced to start over every few years to avoid discovery. The trio is constantly looking over their shoulders for the Lords family – a family who has made it their legacy to hunt down the immortal ones. When they arrive in Telluride, they change their names as a precaution, here Charity is known as Emily Johnston. James and Catherine pose as Charity’s Aunt and Uncle, since they appear older then Charity.
Like the character of Charity, I was also impressed with James and Catherine. As the book progresses both characters are fleshed out and we are given their back stories. I don’t want to give too much about the characters away, but the way they met was very creative. Both Catherine and James care immensely for Charity and act in the parental roles, even though in reality she is over ninety years old.
Soon after the makeshift family arrives in Telluride, Charity meets Link. She instantly feels comfortable with him and cannot seem to stay away. She knows that by allowing a relationship (of any kind) to progress she is putting her family in danger, but she cannot get him off her mind. She feels that she knows him from somewhere and Link feels the same pull towards her.
The only problem I had with this book can be found with Charity and Link’s relationship. Let me start by saying that I loved the two of them together. Link brings out another side to Charity; a side that she has kept hidden away for decades. He too has kept his distance from others and they sort of heal each others wounds. That being said, I thought their relationship progressed way too fast. They go from acquaintances to friends at a reasonable pace, but there descent from friends to soul mates was like lightning. I could kind of see it from Charity’s perspective; I mean she has been waiting to fall in love for a while. But Link is only twenty-two. How many twenty-two year old guys are ready to make a declaration of love after something like two months? Please don’t miss understand me, I was thrilled with their relationship, I just wish they would have slowed down at bit.
On another note, the plot line and writing were phenomenal. You get to meet a few different supernatural creatures as the book progresses – some vampires, witches and even a few shifters. However, I really appreciated that the supernatural elements were not over done. This was obviously a book about supernaturals, but that was not front and center. Often times with these sort of books, the characters themselves suffer because the author was so focused on their supernatural qualities and traits. All of the characters in A Chance for Charity were beautifully developed and the plot lines were well thought out.
There is also plenty of excitement packed within the pages; things really start to heat up when the Lord brothers come to town. Catherine, James and Charity have to decide whether to runaway once again or to stay and put up a fight. Like I said before, although they are immortal, they can be killed. They are terrified of losing one another, because they are all they have. I cannot imagine how lonely it would be, living on forever as you watch those around you die. The three of them keep each other sane; I don’t think they could stand it if they lost one another.
On a final note, the setting is also to-die-for. The images of the quaint ski town of Telluride that Baum paints are gorgeous. I could easily picture every different setting; Catherine’s store, Charity’s mansion, the ski slopes – every lovely detail was described. Yet, the writing never seemed to drag. The pacing was always just right. While we get a lot of information about each character, it comes in short segments so it is never overwhelming. There is nothing I hate more than when a writer goes off on a side note for pages and pages and pages. Thankfully, this is avoided and everything flows smoothly.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Chance for Charity and look forward to reading the sequel, which is going to be published sometime this year. Besides the minor problem with the pace of Charity and Link’s romance, the book was flawless. I connected with all of the characters, loved the storyline and cannot wait to see what happens to Charity and the gang next.