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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Hoffman's novel is about facing dark realities, entering uncharted territory, leaning on music as a solace, and welcoming new beginnings. The Second Ending was fun and full of heart.

Prudence Childs was a prodigy. She taught herself to play the piano as a toddler, became famous, played at the White House, and appeared on television. She inspired a generation to take up the piano.

Then she realized her grandmother was exploiting her and she broke from both her family and her fame. She fell into a career writing jingles--creatively unsatisfying but it paid the bills.

Decades later, Prudence's dark past threatens to upend her peaceful, if uneventful, adult life.

One thing leads to another and she agrees to participate in a popular televised dueling piano competition--against Alexei Petrov, a young Russian pianist who has flawless technique. But Alexei's parents have always pushed him so ruthlessly, he never made friends or developed a life outside of music.

When the two face off, they each have something to prove--to their families, their exes, those who have doubted them--and to themselves.

There are a number of appealingly zany hijinks here as well as a surprising amount of heart. The Second Ending is about self-discovery, facing dark truths, taking a terrifying leap out of the safety of what is known, and opening the door to a boundless, uncharted future. I really enjoyed this.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Ballantine Books.

You might also like the books on my Greedy Reading List Six Rockin' Stories about Bands and Music.

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