Once Upon a Second Chance by Zee Monodee

ONCE

Once Upon a Second Chance by Zee Monodee
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (36 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aster

Leila Hassan Al-Nadir spent ten years in a forced, abusive marriage in the United Arab Emirates, before her husband divorced her…and another man stepped into his place to make her his wife. But before she can look at a future with this new man, he abandons her, dropping her off on the island of Mauritius in the care of his stepmother.

Khalid Al-Nadir wants nothing more than to be with Leila, his wife. But he hides a deep, dark secret—his intentions when he made her his weren’t noble. Despite falling in love with her in the end, he knows she will be better off without him.

Leila craves answers; Khalid desires salvation. Fate, in the form of Khalid’s stepmother, intervenes and sets this estranged couple up for a one night stand date with Madame Eve’s agency.

Can Leila and Khalid have a second chance, once they both face the truth that brought them together?

Every culture has its traditions and expectations, and Leila finds herself on the wrong end of circumstance.

Leila Hassan Al-Nadir is a young woman stuck in a very difficult position. After being sold by her father , the man she’d married divorced her without warning and she was immediately married to another-who left her the next morning. She’s now been set up on a date to help her get over her difficult past with men.

Khalid bin Abdallah Al-Nadir is Leila’s second husband. Initially, Leila was his target for a sinister reason, but one night with her was all he needed to fall in love. Guilt-ridden by his actions, Khalid is tormented with his desire to be with Leila, yet knows it will never work. Convinced to give the 1Night Stand a try, he assumes he’ll meet a nice lady, tell her good night, and be on his way. Little did he know what he’d be faced with.

This was an interesting book. I’m not familiar with the Muslim culture, nor the religious traditions, so it was interesting to learn more about it. There was a lot of detail added in the story, and it was necessary to the plot. Unfortunately, at times it was a distraction from the main goal — a love story between two people.

I liked Khalid. He seemed a genuinely good guy, trying to do the right thing. Circumstances left him in a difficult position, and the guilt forced him to do things he wouldn’t have otherwise done. He’s certain Leila will hate him as soon as he admits the truth, so he instead leaves before he can be hurt.

Leila was a little more difficult. I felt sorry for her. She was sold into a life she didn’t want, and had been routinely abused for years. Leaving one bad relationship, she was unwillingly thrust into another-and that husband abandoned her. I’m not sure what kind of upbringing Leila had, but she seemed resigned to her fate. She seemed to try to take back some power, but it was in a sexual way. Perhaps that’s the norm for that part of the world.

The author did a wonderful job of explaining a foreign world-figuratively and literally-to an inexperienced reader, and I felt I took new information away after having read this story. The information “dump” at times was overwhelming, and made the book a little hard to read, but the connection between the two people, which is what I’m looking for in a romance tale, was very easily understood. Love transcends any culture.

For a satisfying happily ever after, this is one to take a look at.

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