The Chance

A Novel

Price may vary by retailer
BUY FROM:
BUY FROM SIMON & SCHUSTER:

About The Book

#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury proves it’s never too late for love in this heartwarming story about childhood friends, broken lives, and an age-old promise.

Years ago, the day before Ellie moved from Georgia to California, she and her best friend Nolan sat beneath the Spanish moss of an ancient oak tree and wrote letters to each other, sealing them in a rusty old metal box. The plan was to return eleven years later and read them in 2013, the year Nolan’s time traveling books say all the mysteries of the world will be understood.

Now, as that date approaches, much has changed. Ellie, bereft of the faith she grew up with, is a single mom living in a tired apartment and trying to make ends meet. Nolan, now an NBA star, has dealt with terrible personal tragedies that fueled his faith and athletic drive in equal measure. Ever since his father and coach succumbed to a heart attack, Nolan has suffered from a transcendent loneliness. Drowning in an ocean of grief, he often thinks about Ellie and the innocence of their childhood days together.

As Ellie and Nolan move toward the possibility of a reunion at the oak tree, Molly and Ryan, the central characters from author Karen Kingsbury’s previous novel The Bridge, return in their own ongoing story. Written by the “Queen of Christian Fiction” (Time) with eloquence and grace, The Chance is a beautiful tale of heart-wrenching loss, the power of faith, and the wounds that only love can heal.

Excerpt

The Chance Chapter One
Summer 2002

Her mom didn’t come home for dinner—the third time that week.

That was the first hint Ellie Tucker had that maybe her father was right. Maybe her mother had done something so terrible this time that their family really would break in two. And no one and nothing would ever put them back together.

Ellie was fifteen that hot, humid Savannah summer, and as the Friday afternoon hours slipped away, as six o’clock became six thirty, she joined her dad in the kitchen and helped him make dinner. Tuna sandwiches with a new jar of mayonnaise, warm from the cupboard. They worked without talking, her mother’s absence weighing heavy in the silence of the passing minutes. The refrigerator didn’t have much, but her dad found a bag of baby carrots and put them in a bowl. When the food was on the table, he took his spot at the head, and Ellie sat next to him.

The place across from her, the spot where her mother usually sat, remained glaringly empty.

“Let’s pray.” Her father took her hand. He waited for several beats before starting. “Lord, thank You for our food and our blessings.” He hesitated. “You know all things. Reveal the truth, please. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

The truth? Ellie could barely swallow the dry bites of her sandwich. The truth about what? Her mother? The reason she wasn’t home when the doctor’s office she worked at closed an hour ago? No words were said during the meal, though the quiet screamed across the dinner table. When they were finished, her dad looked at her. His eyes were sad. “Ellie, if you would do the dishes, please.” He stood and kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll be in my room.”

She did what she was asked. Twenty minutes later, she was still finishing when she heard her mom slip through the front door. Ellie looked over her shoulder, and their eyes met. Lately, Ellie felt more like the mother, the way a mother might feel when her kids were teenagers. Her mom wore her work clothes, black pants and a white shirt. As if work had just now gotten done.

“Where’s your father?” Her mother’s eyes were red and swollen, her voice thick.

“In his room.” Ellie blinked, not sure what else to say.

Her mom started walking in that direction; then she stopped and turned to Ellie again. “I’m sorry.” Her shoulders dropped a little. “For missing dinner.” She sounded like someone Ellie didn’t know. “I’m sorry.”

Before Ellie could ask where she’d been, her mom turned and walked down the hall. Ellie checked the clock on the microwave. Seven thirty. Nolan had another hour in the gym, another hour shooting baskets. Then Ellie would ride her bike to his house, the way she did most nights. Especially this summer.

Since her parents had started fighting.

She dried her hands, went to her room, and shut the door behind her. A little music and some time with her journal, then Nolan would be home. She turned on the radio. Backstreet Boys filled the air, and instantly, she dropped the sound a few notches. Her dad said he’d take away her radio if she listened to worldly music. Ellie figured worldly was a matter of opinion. Her opinion was the Backstreet Boys’ music might be as close to heaven as she was going to get in the near future.

The boys were singing about being larger than life when the first shout seemed to rattle her bedroom window. Ellie killed the sound on the radio and jumped to her feet. As much tension as there had been between her parents lately, neither of them ever really shouted. Not like this. Her heart pounded loud enough to hear it. She hurried to her bedroom door, but before she reached it another round of shouts echoed through the house. This time she could understand what her father was saying, the awful names he was calling her mom.

Moving as quietly as she could, Ellie crept down the hall and across the living room closer to her parents’ bedroom door. Another burst of yelling and she was near enough to hear something else. Her mother was weeping.

“You’ll pack your things and leave.” Her father had never sounded like this—like he was firing bullets with every word. He wasn’t finished. “I will not have you pregnant with his child and . . . and living under my roof.” His voice seemed to shake the walls. “I will not have it.”

Ellie anchored herself against the hallway so she wouldn’t drop to the floor. What was happening? Her mother was pregnant? With someone else’s baby? She felt the blood leaving her face, and her world started to spin. Colors and sounds and reality blurred, and she wondered if she would pass out. Run, Ellie . . . run fast. She ordered herself to move, but her feet wouldn’t follow the command.

Before she could figure out which way was up, her father opened the door and glared at her, his chest heaving. “What are you doing?”

The question stood between them. Ellie looked past him to her mom, sitting in the bedroom chair, her head in her hands. Get up, Ellie wanted to scream at her. Tell him it’s a lie! Defend yourself, Mom! Do something. But her mother did nothing. She said nothing.

Ellie’s eyes flew to her father again, and she tried to step away, tried to exit the scene as quickly as possible, but she tripped and fell back on her hands. Pain cut through her wrists, but she moved farther away from him. Like a crab escaping a net.

It took that long for her father’s expression to soften. “Ellie. I’m sorry.” He stepped toward her. “I didn’t mean for . . . You weren’t supposed to hear that.”

And in that moment Ellie knew two things. First, the horrible words her dad had shouted through the house were true. And second, her life as she knew it was over. It lay splintered on the worn-out hallway carpet in a million pieces. She scrambled to her feet and turned away. “I . . . I have to go.”

Her father was saying something about how this was more than a girl her age could understand and how she needed to get back to her room and pray. But all Ellie could hear was the way her heart slammed around in her chest. She needed air, needed to breathe. In a move that felt desperate, she found her way to her feet and ran for the front door. A minute later she was on her bicycle, pedaling as fast as she could through the summer night.

He would still be at the gym, but that was okay. Ellie loved watching Nolan play basketball. Loved it whether the place was packed with kids from Savannah High or it was just the two of them and the echo of the ball hitting the shiny wood floor. With every push of the bike pedal, Ellie tried to put the reality out of her mind. But the truth smothered her like a wet blanket. Her mother had come home late again—the way she’d been coming home late since early spring. And today . . . today she must have admitted what Ellie’s dad had suspected all along.

Her mom had been having an affair. Not only that, but she was pregnant.

The truth churned in Ellie’s stomach, suffocating her until finally she had no choice but to ditch her bike in the closest bush and give way to the stomachache consuming her. One disgusting wave after another emptied her insides until only the hurt remained. A hurt that she already knew would stay with her forever.

Exhausted and drained, Ellie sat on the curb, head in her hands, and let the tears come. Until then, shock had kept the sadness pushed to the corner of her heart. Now she cried until she could barely breathe. Her mom didn’t love her father, which meant she didn’t love either of them. She wanted more than Ellie and her dad. There was no other way to look at it. Shame added itself to the mix of emotions because Nolan’s mom never would have done something like this.

Ellie lifted her face to the darkening sky. Nolan. She wiped her face and inhaled deeply. She needed to get to him before it got any later, needed to find him before he left the gym. Her bike was old and the chain was loose, but that didn’t stop her from reaching the school in record time. The sound of the ball hitting the floor soothed her soul as she rode to the back door of the gym. She leaned her bike against the brick wall next to his.

Nolan kept the door propped open in case a breeze came up. Ellie slipped through the entrance and took a spot on the first row of the bleachers. He caught the ball and stared at her, his eyes dancing, a smile tugging at his lips. “You’re early.”

She nodded. She didn’t trust her voice, not when all she wanted was to cry.

A shadow of concern fell over his tanned face. “Ellie? You okay?”

No one could take away the pain like he could, her best friend, Nolan Cook. But as much as she wanted his comfort and understanding, she didn’t want him to know. Didn’t want to tell him why she was upset, because then, well, for sure it would be true. There would be no denying the truth once she told Nolan.

He set down the ball and walked to her. Sweat dripped from his forehead, and his tank top and shorts were damp. “You were crying.” He stopped a foot from her. “What happened?”

“My parents.” She felt her eyes well up, felt her words drown in an ocean of sadness.

“More fighting?”

“Yeah. Bad.”

“Ahh, Ellie.” His breathing was returning to normal. He wiped his forearm across his face. “I’m sorry.”

“Keep playing.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded strained from all she wasn’t saying. She nodded toward the basket. “You have another half hour.”

He watched her for a long couple of seconds. “You sure?”

“We can talk later. I just . . .” A few rebel tears slid down her cheeks. “I needed to be here. With you.”

Again he narrowed his eyes, worried. Eventually, he gave a slow nod, not quite sure. “We can leave whenever you want.”

“When you’re done. Please, Nolan.”

A last look into her eyes, then he turned and jogged back to the ball. Once it was in his hands, he dribbled right and then left and took it to the hoop. In a move as fluid and graceful as anything Ellie had learned in her three years of dance, Nolan rose in the air and slammed the ball through the net. He landed lightly on both feet and caught the ball. Dribbled back out, juked a few imaginary opponents, and repeated the move. Ten straight dunks and he jogged to the drinking fountain and drank for half a minute. Next it was three-point shots.

Nolan played basketball with his heart and mind and soul. The ball was an extension of his hand, and every move, every step, was as natural for him as breathing. Watching him, Ellie felt her eyes dry, felt herself celebrating his gift of playing basketball, the way she celebrated it every time she had the privilege of seeing him play. Nolan’s dream was as simple as it was impossible.

He wanted to play in the NBA. It was something he prayed about and worked toward every day. Every hour of every day. From the A’s and B’s he struggled to earn to the long hours he put in here each night. If Nolan didn’t wind up playing professional basketball, it wouldn’t be for lack of trying or believing.

When he’d sunk five shots from spots all along the arch of the three-point line, he ran to the water fountain once more and then tucked the ball under his arm and walked back to her. He used his shirt to wipe the sweat off his face. “Could it be more humid?”

“Yeah.” She smiled a little and looked at the open back door. “Not much of a breeze.”

“No.” He nodded to her. “Come on. Let’s go to my house. I’ll shower, and then we can go to the park.”

That was all Ellie wanted, a few hours alone with Nolan at Gordonston Park. The place where they had their favorite oak tree and enough soft grass to lie on their backs and count shooting stars on summer nights like this one. She still didn’t say anything, not yet. They walked silently out the back door, and Nolan locked it. His dad was the Savannah High coach, and he had given his son a key a year ago. Too much trouble to open the gym every time Nolan wanted to shoot.

They rode their bikes to Pennsylvania Avenue and took the shortcut down Kinzie to Edgewood. Nolan’s house was only half a mile from Ellie’s, but they might as well have been in separate worlds for how different the neighborhoods were. His had fireflies and perfect front lawns that stretched on forever. Ellie’s had chain-link fences and stray dogs, single-story houses the size of Nolan’s garage.

The sort of house Ellie and her parents lived in.

She sat with Nolan’s mother in the kitchen while he showered. Ellie’s eyes were dry now, so she didn’t have to explain herself. The conversation was light, with Nolan’s mom talking about the new Bible study she’d joined and how much she was learning.

Ellie wanted to care, wanted to feel as connected to God as Nolan and his parents were. But if God loved her, why was her life falling apart? Maybe He only loved some people. Good folks, like the Cook family. A few minutes later, Nolan came down in fresh shorts and a T-shirt. He grabbed two chocolate chip cookies from a plate on the kitchen counter and kissed his mother’s cheek.

Ellie blinked, and she realized, as she’d been doing a lot lately, that Nolan was growing up. They’d been friends since second grade, and they’d walked home together since the first day of middle school. But somewhere along the journey of time, they’d both done something they hadn’t seen coming.

They’d gotten older. They weren’t kids anymore.

Nolan was six-one already, tanned from his morning runs, his blond hair cut close to his head the way it was every summer. He’d been lifting weights, so maybe that was it. The way his shoulders and arms looked muscled in the pale green T-shirt as he grabbed the cookies.

Ellie felt her cheeks grow hot, and she looked away. It was weird seeing Nolan like this, more man than boy. His mother turned to her and smiled, warm and genuine. “Come by anytime, Ellie. The door’s always open. You know that.”

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you.”

Ellie and Nolan didn’t talk about where they were going. Their spot was the same every time. The patch of grass, alongside the biggest oak tree in the park—maybe the biggest in the city. The one dripping with Spanish moss, with gnarled old roots big enough to sit on. They walked side by side to the spot.

Ellie and Nolan had come here to talk about life since the summer before sixth grade. Back then they played hide-and-seek among the trees, with the enormous oak serving as home base. During the school year, when it was warm enough, they’d do their homework here. And on nights like this, they would do what came easiest for them.

They would simply crack open their hearts and share whatever came out.

“Okay. Tell me.” Nolan took the spot closest to the massive tree trunk. He leaned back, studying her. “What happened?”

Ellie had been thinking about this moment since she walked through the door of the high school gym. She had to tell him, because she told him everything. But maybe she didn’t have to tell him this very minute. Her throat felt dry, so her words took longer to form. “My mom . . . she came home late again.”

He waited, and after a few seconds, he blinked. “That’s it?”

“Yeah.” She hated postponing the truth, but she couldn’t tell him yet. “My dad was really mad.”

He leaned back against the tree. “It’ll blow over.”

“Right.” She moved to the spot beside him and pressed her back lightly against the tree trunk. Their shoulders touched, a reminder of everything good and real in her life.

“One day when we’re old and married, we’ll come back to this very spot and remember this summer.”

“How do you know?”

He looked at her. “That we’ll remember?”

“No.” She grinned. “That I’ll marry you.”

“That’s easy.” He faced her and shrugged. “You’ll never find anyone who loves you like I do.”

It wasn’t the first time he’d said it. He kept his tone light, so she couldn’t accuse him of being too serious or trying to change things between them. She would laugh and shake her head, as if he’d suggested something crazy, like the two of them running off and joining the circus.

This time she didn’t laugh. She only lifted her eyes to the distant trees and the fireflies dancing among them. Good thing she hadn’t told him about her mother, about how she’d run off with another man and gotten pregnant. That would change everything. Nolan would feel sorry for her, and there would be no more teasing about marriage. Not when her parents had made such a mess of theirs.

Ellie exhaled, hating her new reality. Yes, the news could wait.

Right now she wanted nothing more than to sit here beside Nolan Cook under the big oak tree at the edge of the park on a summer night that was theirs alone and believe . . . believe for one more moment the thing Ellie wanted more than her next breath.

That they might stay this way forever.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Chance includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Karen Kingsbury. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Everything about Ellie Tucker’s life was seemingly perfect. She had a nice enough house with two parents who loved her, an unshakable faith in God and His goodness, and a best friend who lived down the street and understood her completely. Ellie was a typical fifteen-year-old girl living in Savannah, Georgia until that fateful day her world came crumbling down around her. After admitting her two-year affair and pregnancy, Ellie’s mother Caroline was kicked out of the house by Ellie’s father, Alan. Just two days later, Ellie was forced to leave everything behind and move with her father to San Diego, without so much as a goodbye to her mother and only a teenage promise to her best friend, Nolan Cook, to meet again under an old oak tree. Eleven years passed, and Ellie’s former life dissolved before her eyes, except for her love for her childhood best friend. Forced to take a leap of faith and to put her heart on the line, Ellie learns what it means to be true to promises and to never give up on God’s plan.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

 
1. The Chance opens with Ellie and her father alone at the dinner table. Across from Ellie, her mother’s chair “remained glaringly empty” (p. 20). How does this initial image of brokenness function as a motif throughout the rest of the novel? In what other ways does the image of a broken family appear in The Chance?
 
2. A prevalent theme of the novel emerges early on when Ellie’s father prays for the Lord to “reveal the truth, please. In Jesus’ name, amen” (p. 20) and Ellie later thinks that “the truth smothered her like a wet blanket” (p. 23). How is truth and truthfulness an important theme in the novel? Are there different versions of the same truth? Like Chaplain Gray later tells Alan, do you think that it’s never too late to tell the truth because truth stands outside time (p. 173)? Why or why not?
 
3. For Ellie, Savannah is home, the place where she felt happy and loved. In San Diego, everything about Ellie’s life changes, and not for the better. Discuss how the setting—both Savannah and San Diego—affect the characters in the novel. What does Savannah symbolize for Ellie? For Nolan? For Alan and Caroline? In opposition, what does San Diego symbolize for these same characters?
 
4. Discuss Caroline Tucker. Do you like her? Why do you think she looked for love outside of her marriage? Do you blame her for splitting up her family and causing eleven years of heartache? In Caroline’s situation, is there a clear moral right and wrong? Can you think of a silver lining to this situation?
 
5. What does basketball symbolize for Nolan? Why is the game so important to him? Do you think Nolan depends on basketball, and if so, for what? Consider the connection between Nolan’s love of basketball and his love of God in your response.
 
6. On page 74, Nolan and his father recite one of their favorite Bible passages: “with Christ all things are possible.” For Nolan, what “things” does Christ make possible? How does this quote also apply to Ellie and her parents? Do you think that Christ makes the impossible possible for their family?
 
7. Consider the ways in which Caroline and Ellie are similar. How do Caroline’s choices act as foreshadowing for Ellie’s situation? Against what or whom are both women rebelling?
 
8. On page 97 Ellie says: “she didn’t really want to find Nolan Cook. Didn’t want him to see how she’d changed.” Why do you think Ellie was so scared to face Nolan? Were her fears justified? Although lapsed in her faith, do you think Ellie is still a good Christian? Why or why not?
 
9. Discuss the importance of letter writing in the novel. Which characters write letters and what motivates them to do so? Are the letters representative of words that are difficult to say in person? Is there a common purpose for each letter writer? What is that purpose?
 
10. On page 122 Alan declares that “the truth was . . . Caroline’s affair was his fault.” Do you agree with Alan’s conclusion? What makes Alan realize his fault after so many years?
 
11. Revisit the zoo trip Ellie and Kinzie take in Chapter Fifteen. Why is this particular moment in the novel so important? What happens to the relationship between mother and daughter on this trip? Do you think Kinzie’s questions prompted Ellie to search for answers to questions she had been too afraid to ask herself?
 
12. Discuss Molly and Ryan and how they function in the novel. Are they like angels on earth, facilitating miracles? Would the miracle of the reunited family have been possible without them?
 
13. Is there a particular moment in the novel where Ellie regains her lost faith? Can you attribute her renewed faith in God to any one character? If so, who? Do you think that Ellie and Nolan live happily ever after? What about Caroline and Alan?
 
14. Were you surprised that Ellie and Nolan rekindled their love under the old oak tree? Revisit this scene and discuss the symbolism of the moment. Was Ellie’s reaction what you expected? Was Nolan’s?

Enhance Your Book Club

 
 
1. Karen Kingsbury is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty novels. Have your book club read one of her newer releases, The Bridge, which tells the story of Molly and Ryan, the two characters seemingly responsible for the reuniting of the Tucker family. Discuss with your book club the ways in which Molly and Ryan’s story is similar to and different from Ellie and Nolan’s story. Why is love often so difficult to track down? What would Molly and Ryan say is the reason for their reunion? What about Ellie and Nolan?
 
2. The game of basketball is extremely important in The Chance. On page 127, Nolan refers to “the zone” as the place “where there was only God and him and the leather round ball.” Attend a basketball game with your book club, either amateur or professional. As you watch, consider the ways in which the game is a kind of spiritual practice for Nolan. What connections can you draw between love of God and love of basketball? Afterward, share with your group your observations. What did each of you notice about the players? Do you think there is a reverence to sport that is similar to reverence for God?
 
3. God is very present throughout the novel, and in fact, He speaks directly with many of the characters in The Chance.. Invite your book club over for a faith club meeting. Over dinner, share with your group any moments in your life where you felt God speaking directly to you. What did He say? Like Ryan, do you feel that God has called you to any special vocation in your life, or to perform a certain duty at a certain moment?   
 

A Conversation with Karen Kingsbury 

1. Publishers Weekly has said that you have a “signature mix of melodrama, formula, and genuine emotional punch” in your novels. In your own words, how would you describe your “signature” writing style?  

I write Life-Changing Fiction ™, in that every time I tackle a story the characters come to life in my heart and mind. I see the story as a movie before I outline it or begin to write it. It’s important to me that readers relate to the characters in my books, that they see themselves in them. Real, relatable, relational fiction, where every book offers redemption and hope the readers. Oh, and every book should come with a pack of tissues! That’s what I write.

2. You now live in Nashville, Tennessee. Describe how being in the South is helpful for your writing process. Like Ellie, do you find that physical place helps you change your perspective, and maybe opens wider your heart to God?  

Yes, the physical place makes a difference. I wrote many of my books in Washington – pretty much all my Baxter family books and those involving the Flanigans. I loved living there and writing there. But here in the south my heart feels even deeper, even more connected to the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of life. Maybe that’s because Tennessee is gentle on my heart. I feel hugged by this place, and that makes the writing process happen faster and deeper.

3. The Chance is written from several of the main characters’ points of view. Ultimately, is this Ellie’s story? Or do you think it is impossible to separate Ellie’s story from the others?  

It is more Nolan and Ellie’s story than it is Caroline and Alan’s … but the stories are interwoven on purpose. When The Chance gets made into a movie, the actors who play Nolan and Ellie will be the leads, and those playing Caroline and Alan will be supporting.

4. Along the same lines, who is your favorite character in this novel and why?  

I really love them all, but I lean hard toward Ellie. It wasn’t her fault her life fell apart, and though she feels angry at God, her feelings are understandable. We need to see characters who don’t act perfectly in order to see ourselves in their journey. I also love Nolan’s absolute determination to never give up on Ellie.

5. Many of your characters reappear in subsequent novels. Do you think we will meet Ellie and Nolan again in the future? What about Molly and Ryan?  

You never know! Sometimes I’ll be writing a new story and the characters will take me into a place where suddenly I see familiar faces. That’s happened many times – and it could happen with these characters as well!

6. Describe your writing practice. Do you write daily or when you feel inspired? Do your story ideas come from your imagination or from real life experiences?  

I write daily when I’m working on a book. I try to find time to get in a chapter or two amidst having 4 high school boys and a full-time staff of family working to give books away to whoever asks. My stories always come from something in real life. A real-life conversation or some scene plays out in front of me and suddenly I have tears in my eyes. When real life makes me feel such strong emotion, I know there’s a story there somewhere. The real-life moment might be only enough for a title or a single line in the book. But it’s a spark, and very soon that spark becomes an entire fictional novel.

7. Is basketball as important in your life as it is in Nolan’s? If not, what is your “basketball”—the thing that makes you most inspired, most passionate?  

Basketball has at times certainly been high on the list. My husband has coached varsity basketball for twenty-four years. This is the first season when he has taken any time away from the sport. During various seasons we would be consumed with basketball. Don would talk to me about who was coming up to high-school age, and who was trying out. Then at tryouts our conversations were consumed with who was excelling and who wasn’t panning out, who was a surprise. During the season I was my husband’s chief scorekeeper. We have our own system where I know innately when he needs information – how many timeouts he has left, who’s in foul trouble on our team or the opposing team. Yes, it’s been all-consuming at times. Now I’d say that thing is simply family. Seeing our boys through high school and helping them find their path to faith and success.

8. The Chance, like many of your novels, focuses on family relationships. As the mother of six children, can you describe the importance of family in your life? Why do you think it took eleven years for the Tucker family to mend their problems?  

People have a way of compartmentalizing their hurts. If something’s broken, it’s often easier to assume it’s not fixable than to go the miles – in the Tucker family’s case, literally – to see if there is something worth saving. Family is everything to us, and no, I can’t imagine going eleven1 minutes with things broken. We catch ourselves at home, and have a talk or a meeting about how we’re doing, how we’re connecting as a family.

9. Do you agree that in the end, The Chance is ultimately about the power of forgiveness? Would you name forgiveness as the major theme of the novel?  

Yes, forgiveness is the theme that runs throughout. The damage when forgiveness doesn’t happen, and the beauty when it does.

10. Who are you reading now? What is next for you as a writer?  

I’m about to read Mitch Albom’s book Time Keeper. My son just read it, so it’s on my list. I love how he writes. For me as a writer, I’m working on Fifteen Minutes now, and very soon I’ll start with Chasing Sunsets. Both books are stand-alones and are two of the most significant books I’ve ever written. Very excited for my readers to get these books in their hands! But I will say …The Chance has stayed with me. It’ll go down as one of my all-time favorites for sure.

About The Author

Photograph © Dean Dixon

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books are being developed into a TV series slated to debut fall 2019. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. She and her husband, Donald, live in Tennessee near four of their adult children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Howard Books (September 2013)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451672985

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"Another weeper from Christian-fiction diva Kingsbury, this time featuring a prayerful NBA star and his long-lost first love."

– Kirkus Reviews

"In The Chance, Kingsbury (The Bridge, 2012) delivers another excellent novel filled with heart, adventure, and second chances. . . . Kingsbury is one of the most dependable names in inspirational fiction, and The Chance may be her best yet. She infuses such real emotion into her characters, readers will find themselves in tears multiple times throughout the novel. A beautiful balance of human fragility and the power of God’s grace makes this is a must-read."

– Booklist

"At age 15, Ellie finds her world turned upside down when her parents separate and her father moves them from Georgia to California. A devastated Ellie and her best friend, Nolan, write letters to each other and bury them beneath an oak tree. The two agree that in 11 years, no matter what surprises life brings, they will return and dig up the letters together. VERDICT Reminiscent of Nicholas Spark's The Notebook and Richard Paul Evan's The Walk, Kingsbury's (Coming Home) latest novel offers her characters forgiveness and love without an expiration date. Her many fans, and readers who like to escape their daily cares with a gentle Christian romance with elements of women's fiction, will enjoy the reappearances of Molly and Ryan, familiar characters from The Bridge, as well as a likable cast of fresh protagonists."

– Library Journal

Kingsbury knows how to get down to business; readers start worrying from the opening sentence about 15-year-old Ellie Tucker and her family: "Her mom didn't come home for dinner, the third time that week." Family troubles prompt Ellie's abrupt move from Georgia to California, but before that happens she and her best friend Nolan write letters to one another that they bury and agree to unearth in 11 years. During that time, Ellie and Nolan naturally change, their paths diverging; he becomes an NBA star, she a single mother. Reckoning with loss and forgiveness for bad choices are required for healing. Kingsbury's themes are familiar, and her writing has benefited from a change of publisher. The action clips along, and readers root for the main characters. The fan-fic element of her writing remains— there's not only an NBA star but another celebrity affecting the action. But the author pours a fervent message about love and reconciliation into a novel that makes the lesson of hope go down much more easily than it would via sermon.

– Publishers Weekly

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Karen Kingsbury