The Second Ending: A Novel (Paperback)
A former prodigy who refuses to believe her best years are behind her and a young virtuoso searching for his passion both get an unlikely shot at their dreams in this sparkling debut about second chances, unexpected joys, and the miraculous power of music.
Prudence Childs was once the most famous kindergartner on the planet. After teaching herself to play piano at age three, she performed at the White House, appeared on talk shows, and inspired a generation to take up lessons. But as adolescence closed in, Prudence realized that she was being exploited and pushed into fame by her cruel grandmother, so she ran away. Broke and alone, she took a job writing commercial jingles, which earned her a fortune but left her creatively adrift.
Now forty-eight, with her daughters away at school, Prudence agrees to compete on a wildly popular dueling pianos TV show to reconnect with her inner artist. Unfortunately, her new spotlight captures the attention of her terrible ex-husband, Bobby, who uses the opportunity to blackmail her over a long-buried secret. If she doesn’t win, she won’t just be a musical failure; she’ll also be bankrupt and exposed in front of millions.
Her on-air rival, virtuoso Alexei Petrov, a young internet sensation with a massive audience and a dreamy Russian accent, has problems of his own. His demanding parents made him a technically flawless pianist but left him without friends, hobbies, or any kind of life outside his music.
As they prepare to face off onstage, the retired prodigy and the exhausted wunderkind realize that the competition is their chance to prove to their bad exes, tyrannical family members, and, most important, themselves that it’s never too late to write a new ending.
About the Author
Michelle Hoffman is a former arts and entertainment writer for The Arizona Republic. She began formal piano lessons at the age of five and now lives in Arizona with her husband, two spoiled Shih Tzus, and a very large piano.
“The heartwarming, feel-good debut of the year.”—J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of The Lager Queen of Minnesota
“To say I loved it would be an understatement; this was quite unlike anything I’ve read. The one-liners had me laughing nearly every page, and I found it so moving.”—Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary
“Captivates the heart, right from the opening notes . . . thoroughly enjoyable, top-class entertainment.”—Sarah Haywood, New York Times bestselling author of The Cactus
“Wild, witty, and bright. This is the novel for anyone who has ever wished they could reinvent their lives. I loved every page.”—Amanda Eyre Ward, New York Times bestselling author of The Jetsetters