Released: June 2014
When Matt leaves his family at the age of 17 to pursue a career in professional show jumping, stumbling across the love of his life isn’t exactly on the agenda. Working as a horse groom for years wasn’t what he had planned either, but his colleague and best friend Nick makes the workload a little bit more bearable. Liz, on the other hand, comes from a wealthy family, meaning she can afford the horse and the training she needs. However, even though she enjoys a more luxurious lifestyle than her future partner, they still have one significant thing in common: their parents don’t take their dreams seriously.
Despite sympathising with Matt and Liz because of their family situations and the struggles they face to achieve their dreams, I found it somewhat difficult to root for them as a couple. Before Liz even meets Matt she falls for her mentor Edward, a formidable, sarcastic and accomplished show jumper. Their complicated affair quickly becomes very dull, and their on-off relationship isn’t a page-turner. The competitive and thrilling world of show jumping is the most gripping aspect of the book, and the stunning horses are the most interesting characters.
There are characters in the novel that deserve more attention than they get – particularly Nick and Dom, who are shunted to one side for most of the book. When Matt and Liz finally meet and become interested in one another, it’s too late on in the story to be enthusiastic about them. One Chance would have been more compelling if Emily Gillmor Murphy had focused on Nick’s homophobic family and the damage their prejudice caused, rather than hastily unravelling Nick’s problems towards the end.
The special part of many narratives is not the destination the characters reach, but the journey they must go on to get there. This just wasn’t the case with One Chance – the journey and the destination needed more magic and chemistry.