Read In the Land of Second Chances: A Novel by George Shaffner Online


In Ebb, Nebraska, things are pretty much as they were fifty years ago–aside from that coffee shop–and that’s just the way folks like it. Plucky Wilma Porter is the proprietress of Ebb’s only Bed and Breakfast, and she knows everything there is to know in town: the mental state of Clara Tucker Booth Yune, a rich recluse who says only two words at a time; the gossip at LoretIn Ebb, Nebraska, things are pretty much as they were fifty years ago–aside from that coffee shop–and that’s just the way folks like it. Plucky Wilma Porter is the proprietress of Ebb’s only Bed and Breakfast, and she knows everything there is to know in town: the mental state of Clara Tucker Booth Yune, a rich recluse who says only two words at a time; the gossip at Loretta Parson’s Bold Cut Beauty Salon; and the sad series of events that have led poor Calvin Millet to the edge of desperation. Calvin is the owner of Millet’s Department Store, a village mainstay for generations, but many fear that it–and the downtown–won’t survive his terrible run of bad luck.Wilma prays for a miracle to save Ebb’s special way of life, but she’s surprised when it arrives in the form of a traveling salesman, if that’s what he is. Vernon L. Moore claims to peddle games of chance, but he sticks his nose in odd places and says things like, “uncertainty is the spice of life.” He is welcomed nonetheless, because he seems to have the power to change minds, save fortunes, and fix broken hearts....

Title : In the Land of Second Chances: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345484987
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

In the Land of Second Chances: A Novel Reviews

  • Richard
    2019-05-01 18:05

    In the Land of Second Chances by George Shaffner A novel, set in a rural town Nebraska. A traveling salesman shows up with seemingly powers to persuade and help people learn to get along. He is only there for 6 days but he has a great influence in the lives of the people. The story is told through the eyes of the woman proprietor of the town’s only Bed and Breakfast. Everyone seems to be intertwined in the story. Everyone knows what is going on in the lives of everyone else. I liked the book but there were too many references to body parts and the language was strong in some places. It could have been a better book without the bad language. The message is strong of “being kind to one another” and “striving to have a positive influence in the lives of people around you. I liked the following quote about the salesman’s lack of television watching: When asked why he didn’t watch TV he said: "I used to, but not anymore. Too much violence, too many commercials, too many artificial ‘reality,’ and too much repetition, especially too much repetition. I prefer the radio and a good book. When I listen to the radio or read a book, the song or the story appears in my mind. I can read in silence, too. There’s a lot to be said for silence.” P. 205There were some other gems pronounced by the salesman. So, not a bad book. Just too much peppered language and innuendo.

  • Brenda
    2019-04-25 19:45

    I sort of enjoyed this book. It's about a traveling salesman who came from who knows where (a great mystery) to a small town. He had only his great philosophies of life to sell to the citizens of Ebb, Nebraska. I wondered if the book would have garnered five stars if the foul language were removed. Alas, I'll never know, because it really got in the way of truly enjoying the message it might have meant to convey. I did have a problem with the reincarnation bit, far-fetched to me. Since it was only barely touched on, I ignored it. But coming back to earth as a seal? First novel, not terribly bad. It could have been outstanding.

  • Deb
    2019-05-05 16:55

    I really liked this book. Some people are probably going to pick it up, think "Inspirational" and put it back down, and they'll be missing a treat. It's funny, unconventional and moving, with a lot of feisty ladies who have no compunction about stating their opinions. This is not an "angel with a magic power" story about miraculous healing. It is about good (and may maybe not so good) people coming to terms with difficult situations, reasoning thir way to hope, as it were.This is the first of what are now three titles about the same town and I expect to enjoy the others as well.

  • Lori
    2019-05-06 18:56

    Didn't know what to think of this book at first. It's about a traveling salesman who stops in this little town and ends up helping most everyone in the town with their problems. It has some Christian beliefs in it ... don't want to spoil it with telling too much. In the end, I loved it. It made me laugh out loud in several parts; plus, uplifted me in others. Definitely looking forward to reading another of his books.

  • Katharine Holden
    2019-05-06 19:05

    Forced. Arch. Self-conscious writing.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-22 01:02

    It was quick read. I enjoyed this book. It had an interesting way bringing the reader through a side door to ponder some basic truths and how one arrives at 'faith'.

  • Jane
    2019-04-30 01:04

    This would typically be classed as a "feel-good" title, with a bit of Christian and Eastern philosophy tossed into the mix. Soon after B&B owner Wilma Porter asks God to send some help to her little town of Ebb, Nebraska, a well-dressed traveling salesman named Vernon Moore shows up at her door. He ostensibly sells games of chance, but seems more intent on rescuing the town's citizens -- most notably, the owner of an independent (and financially distressed) department store whose daughter is dying of a painful and incurable disease.Most of the action is predictable, and a lot of cliches are trotted out as the story progresses. Moore's own backstory is never fully revealed -- he seems to have appeared out of thin air -- but he leaves in his wake many people who have been repaired emotionally, fiscally, psychogically and yes, spiritually.George Shaffner isn't a gifted writer -- he almost never uses contractions, which gives his dialogue a clunky, unrealistic feel. In addition, most of his characters are thinly sketched cliches -- instead of creating multi-layered individuals, he apparently just consulted Midwest Generic Casting to populate his fictional community. His narrator, Wilma Porter, seems too distant from all the characters to serve as a reliable voice. But the story has definite charm and an upbeat message, which redeems it from what, in other hands, might have been an unbearably saccharine fable.

  • Mara
    2019-04-28 16:53

    I just did not know what to make of this book. The voices of the characters are very well-written, I could hear the Midwestern small-town twang in so much of the dialogue and narration. And if the book had been a story of small-town life, I probably would have loved it. But this is the story of how Vernon Moore comes to this small town and allegedly changes the lives of so many of its residents. Moore's origins are a mystery, as is what he's actually doing in the town. But while he's there, he manages to convince several residents to have hope in the existence of God and an afterlife, all through using rational thought and mathematical probability. Knowing that Shaffner has also written a non-fiction book on the same subject made me feel as though I'd been tricked into reading a lecture. Nonetheless, the book is well-written and, for the most part, a pleasant way to read about the author's philosophical ideas. Still, I would have liked to see more about the characters, not to say some character development that could be explained by something in addition to the revelations from the entire town's new best friend, Vernon Moore.

  • Jann Barber
    2019-05-23 22:55

    Shaffner not only wrote an engaging story; he also managed to tuck logic and odds calculation into the storyline to address spiritual and philosophical issues. If found his logic to be quite compelling.Wilma Porter runs the Come Again Bed and Breakfast in the small town of Ebb, Nebraska. Large franchises are trying to come into the town and take over from the small business owners. One day, Mr. Vernon Moore, a traveling salesman (or is he?) comes to town and charms everyone with his good looks, probing questions, and philosophy of "reasoned faith."Whether you buy into this book will depend on your state of mind at the time you read it. If you are feeling cynical and negative, you will not enjoy this book. If you are feeling open to the positive things in life, you will enjoy it. I have purchased the next two books in this series.

  • Amanda R
    2019-05-18 21:37

    I thought this was a really sweet, fun, easy read, reminiscent of the Mitford books by Jan Karon. I was surprised that it was written by a man because I could actually hear Wilma, the narrator's voice in my head as I read it. I thought it was really down to earth and depicted life in small-town USA nicely. It made me want to be there. My only beef with this story was that it was a bit preachy in several parts and the philosophy was a bit too eastern for my taste so it came off kind of strong, as if it wasn't an element of a story, but rather the story was a platform for spreading his beliefs. At any rate, I did enjoy it overall and would not be surprised if I picked up the next book about Vernon Moore on a future library visit.

  • C.J. Prince
    2019-05-22 16:56

    This book is FORGETTABLE. I forgot I'd read it and found it as I sorted through a stack of books to take to a second hand store. I found this note inside:~a man's voice for a female character~moralistic~lack of authenticity; dialogue doesn't ring true~a fantasy but telling not showing~all his characters say "if it was..." instead of "if it were..." (One or two characters OK but not everyone)I would not have finished this book if it weren't for a book club.The main character is meddling even if it is for the "good."Moore's actions are manipulative.I do not regret reading it.I cannot recommend it to others.

  • Audry
    2019-04-24 21:58

    It was an ok book. There's too much swearing in it. If it just had the regular 'd' and 'h' in it, I could have enjoyed it more, but it had to have 'f' in it, too, which took a lot away from the book. The characters didn't sound like themselves using that word. Too bad. Vernon Moore is like an angel, and then we find out he's not, because he leaves a woman pregnant in the end. As if being single and pregnant is leaving her better than before. There's lots about reincarnation in this book. It's a good thing we know about the Plan of Happiness. Yes, she will get to live the rest of her life out, but as a girl, not a seal. Seriously.

  • Mmtimes4
    2019-05-22 22:04

    Wilma Porter owns the Come Again Bed and Breakfast, which is the only B&B in Ebb, Nebraska. You may think Im' exaggerating, but his town is perched on the sad edge of a slippery slope. I went to church and wished to God that I could help in some way, but He sent us a salesman. That's right, a salesman. At least that's my theory. You be the judge.I love how this book told the story of small town characters and their lifes. You feel like you are right there in the community. I didn't care for the philosophy the salesman offers instead of real faith and I also didn't care for the ending. The ending really influenced my opinion of the book.

  • Heather
    2019-05-08 19:50

    "My name is Wilma Porter. I own the Come Again Bed and Breakfast, which is the only B & B in Ebb, Nebraska. You may think I'm exaggerating, but this town is perched on the sad edge of a slippery slope. I went to church and wished to God that I could help in some way. He sent us a salesman. That's right, a salesman. At least that's my theory. You be the judge."The characters were well written and I enjoyed the small town feel of the book. Even though I enjoyed part of the book, I was disappointed in how one of the characters developed and how the book ended.

  • Mary Ann Donaghy
    2019-05-16 20:02

    This was an unusual story. This gentleman comes to a small town claiming to be a salesman selling "games of chance". The only thing he actually "sells" is hope. No one can figure where he came from or why he's actually there. But his being a salesman is the one thing everyone agrees that he is not. The story is somewhat other-wordly. I enjoyed reading it very much. If I had to guess who wrote it, I would have guessed a woman author. Not sure how Mr. Shaffner managed the female point of view but it worked well.

  • Nancy H
    2019-05-10 17:45

    This was a very different book but a very intriguing one. It is about a small town in Nebraska, called Ebb, and a traveling salesman who just happens to stop by the town when several of the residents are having very hard times and difficult circumstances. Vernon Moore is not selling what people think he is selling, but instead he is helping people to have hope. There are funny moments, sad moments, heart-touching moments, and philosophical discussions that make they reader say, 'Aha'.

  • Hollie
    2019-05-18 17:52

    This book is about a Traveling salesman who sells hope. It has some intriguing ideas about religion and God which are definitely different from the western norm of relgious thought. The book is a bit stilted in it's dialogue and uses the people's names over and over in the narrative, which is annoying and seems condescending to the reader. However, the characters were developed and the book had a happy ending which I always enjoy.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-25 22:37

    It was a fun read with some parts that made me laugh. I loved the idea of a town of women. Mostly women. And altho I'm not a believer I enjoyed Vernon's "logic" arguments of the possibility of life after death. And his idea of man going astray once he ate his pet chicken made me go back to that part of the book several times just to chuckle over the whole concept.

  • Sandy Neal
    2019-05-18 21:53

    The setting is a town in Nebraska. Great characterization and spiritual plot. Discusses ideas like: What happens when we die? Reasoned faith. A Benevolent God. I enjoyed the presentation because though they were spiritual issues, the book is not preachy. I believe I had to share a phrase or two with strangers when I was reading this book in public!!

  • Brenda
    2019-04-29 23:01

    I read this book for an upcoming book discussion. At first I found the book very confusing, but as the story progressed the puzzle pieces fell into place. For a book that normally I would never have read, this turned out to be an interesting book. I am looking forward to the reactions of the other members.

  • Maggie
    2019-04-26 17:52

    I was not familiar with this author, George Schaffer; I'm glad I finally read one of his novels. This book is fun while presenting serious subjects worth thinking about. "There are four kinds of people in this world, Loretta." Vernon's description is something I'll think about for very long time. I highly recommend this book for book clubs and friends who enjoy discussing books.

  • JaNeise
    2019-05-01 23:36

    I just loved the characters in this book and it had several laugh out loud moments. Only a little language issue, but passable. The premise of the book is interesting,but the characters are endearing.

  • Carol
    2019-05-02 00:01

    Nicole recommended this book to me. It's written in a similar style to Fannie Flagg. We both enjoy her books. It's the first of a series. I enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading the others.

  • Marcelle
    2019-05-08 23:52

    Easy read about a small town where everyone knows everyone. A "salesman" (but we never know for sure what he is selling!) comes to town and through conversation causes everyone to see things differently and hence, do things differently.

  • Karen
    2019-05-07 00:01

    When a traveling salesman mysteriously visits the small town of Ebb, Nebraska, he settles in for 6 days at the Come Again B&B and begins solving many of the town's problems. Even though Vernon Moore says he is there to sell games of chance, he offers them hope and a listening ear.

  • Amber
    2019-05-03 22:47

    This was a fun, quick read. I loved the philosophy of hope of the book, and the proof of a benevolent God without any "religious claptrap." I think I'm a little too young for the white-haired salesman to be a heartthrob, though!

  • Becky
    2019-05-02 22:51

    Spiritually based books are not my favorite. After reading, I don't know if I'm suppose to believe that the traveling salesman was Jesus/God? He appeared 6 days before Easter and disappeared Easter morning.

  • Rebecca
    2019-05-08 23:45

    Read this for a book club. The characters and the story are kind of twee.I found it's main value to be as a spark for discussion of "what happens after we die", a question that has been considered and debated throughout history.

  • Lansing Public Library
    2019-05-02 00:35

    This was a great discussion of hope. There were many things said in the book the group appreciated especially with the current population of instant gratifiers. Everyone liked the quote ”Uncertainty is the spice of life”.

  • Diane Wachter
    2019-04-27 16:41

    HB-B @ 2004, 1/20/05. All the townspeople of Ebb, Nebraska are in trouble. When a traveling salesman, selling games of chance, befriends these people, one by one, asking intriguing questions that make them see their situations differently. Very good.