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Reviewed by Bernadette Longu for Readers' Favorite
Riley & Ben: Life Offers Second Chances by J T White takes place from the year 1941 and finishes in the year 2011. The main characters are Whitcomb Riley McHenry and his son Ben. Other characters that make an appearance are essential in the shaping of Riley and Ben. This is especially so for Ben as he has to put up with harsh treatment from his stepmother. Riley grows to be an extremely patient and understanding father as he has to learn how to keep the peace between his son and his wife Eileen, who likes to have everything done her way and can throw tantrums of note if they are not met. Each one of the characters has an effect on both Riley's and Ben’s lives in good ways and not so good ways – but both learn how to compromise and accept that each person is an individual and that they can learn from each character and use it in their lives as they move forward.
Riley & Ben weaves a delightful story of how a father and son get a second chance at life in different ways. Riley's and Ben’s 'second chances' take different routes as each learns how to be better and adapt to difficult situations. How to accept the loss of a loved one and how to be there for someone who was thought to be lost forever! During their journeys, they alienate members of their family for the sake of keeping the peace, lose loved ones, and find peace in the most unexpected ways and with the most unexpected people. I really enjoyed this book and even felt sorry for some of the characters who could not seem to open their hearts to accept the love that was offered so freely and willingly. I got angry with others, who only wanted to get their own way in all things and at all times and no matter the cost. The end had a twist which was a surprise but at the same time a kindness to the character that had blocked the happiness of Ben and Katie. This book captures your imagination from the first page to the last, making you want to continue reading until the story ends. The characters are so real that you can relate personally to them. This is what makes reading Riley & Ben: Life Offers Second Chances by J T White such a joy to read from start to finish.