~ About the Book ~
Maya Gupta is a survivor. After escaping an impending arranged marriage in India as a teenager, she has thrived in America. But now she faces her greatest challenge yet—cancer has invaded her life, and unless she finds a way to participate in a clinical trial in Washington, DC, this may be one battle she loses. When Maya’s best friend Kari offers Maya the lifeline of a place to stay—her brother’s currently vacant DC apartment—the young woman eagerly accepts and goes to meet her fate . . .
Ben Evans’s plans have changed, and he’s heading home for some much-needed rest and relaxation during his off-season in the major leagues. Upon arriving at his DC apartment, however, Ben is shocked to find Maya—his sister’s friend, who he hardly knows—in residence. He soon finds himself trapped between protecting his above-reproach reputation and searching for a way to help a woman he is coming to admire. When Maya’s fight to survive her disease becomes more complicated than ever, she and Ben scheme an extreme solution to her predicament that tests to what lengths they’re willing to go together to save Maya’s life.
~ Excerpt ~
“Maya, I spoke with your father again today.” Dr. Schuster took a deep breath and blew it out as though trying to steel himself against the words he was about to say. “I’m sorry, but if you have no means of paying for your surgery, I don’t have any choice but to drop you from the trial.”
Maya didn’t try to fight back the tears that instantly sprang to her eyes. “Doctor, please. Please give me a little more time. I can come up with the money. I only need another week or so.”
Dr. Schuster sighed heavily. “I’ve already talked to the board, and they aren’t budging on this.” Before Maya could protest further, he added, “Since it’s the weekend, I can delay the paperwork, but if you can’t come up with some proof that you’ll be able to continue treatment after this trial by Monday morning, I’ll have to cancel your infusion.”
Maya lifted her hands to cover her mouth as she bit back a sob. Her mind raced with possibilities, but she knew that even if the credit card came through with a high limit, she would need at least one more to afford the additional living expenses to make it through an extra three months here.
Dr. Schuster clenched his teeth for a moment and then shook his head. “I’m sorry, Maya. I really am.”
“If I can’t come up with the money now, would I be able to get into the trial again in a few months?”
She sensed the doctor’s discomfort as he shook his head again. “If you were responding more quickly, I might be able to get you in, but the truth is that your cancer is probably more aggressive than we first thought for the results to be so slow. If you have to stop now, medically speaking your survival rate wouldn’t be high enough to readmit you to the trial.”
Tears continued to run freely down Maya’s cheeks, and she could no longer form words. The doctor put his hand on her shoulder and then took a step back. “I’ll check back on you in the morning. The nurse will be in to give you something for the pain in about an hour.”
Maya watched him make a quick exit and swiped at the tears on her cheeks. Sliding farther down in to the hospital bed, she curled up beneath the blankets, silently praying that somehow God would give her a glimmer of hope, some indication that her life might still have meaning.
~ Review ~
This is definitely a story that tugs at the heartstrings! Maya Gupta has a large tumour at the base of her skull, and her only hope of survival is treatment to reduce it to an operable size. Chemo and radiation have been unsuccessful, and the clinical trial in Washington DC is her last chance. But even that presents problems. She has no one who can stay with her during the treatment, the side effects of which are nausea, and extreme fatigue and muscle soreness. The one thing she does have going for her is the fact that her best friend’s brother doesn’t need his DC apartment, meaning she has somewhere to stay. Except… her best friend didn’t exactly get permission from her brother, and when he returns from LA much earlier than expected, suddenly Maya doesn’t even have accommodation anymore.
I confess there were a few times I begged Maya to just speak up for herself rather than trying to cope with everything by herself, but I could also understand how she would feel like she didn’t have the right (or the energy) to do so. For that reason, Ben nearly missed learning just how precarious Maya’s situation was, but once he knew, I loved watching the gentle growth of their relationship as he cared for her. And I can’t forget to mention Henry, hospital orderly of the year! What a gorgeous heart he had!
The challenges Ben and Maya face aren’t limited to the effects of Maya’s treatment. A desperate attempt to contact Maya’s family in India has unintended consequences and could see her deported, her financial situation is dire, and Ben’s growing popularity as a rookie in the major leagues makes it difficult to keep his relationship with Maya out of the public eye. And even if they manage to deal with all that and make it through the treatment, there’s no guarantee that the tumour will be reduced enough to operate safely.
The characters occasionally seemed a little too ‘nice’, and there was a tendency toward telling in some of the writing, but it was impossible not to get caught up in Maya’s story as she struggled to overcome the odds stacked against her.
~ About the Author ~
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas for suspense novels as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists. She considers shoes an optional accessory which became evident when she won her first three Whitney Awards in 2013 (Code Word), 2014 (Deep Cover), and 2016 (Failsafe.) She currently lives in Virginia with her family where she enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.
Readers may wish to note that Ms. Abramson is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormon), and the faith element in some of her novels is specific to that faith. There are no references specific to the LDS faith in “Chances Are.”
Review by Katie Donovan.