Even when Chauncey Irving isn’t looking for trouble, trouble seems determined to find Chauncey Irving, and there was indeed a time when the man went purposefully looking for it with a certain sense of obsessive need. Until, that is, a very wise boy taught Chauncey a little lesson about what it means to live and think and behave outside the confines of his own existence and to start considering the one who considers him above all others.
I knew the moment I started reading The Auspicious Troubles of Chance it was going to be unlike any book I’d ever read before, not only because Chauncey started out by talking directly to me from the pages of the book, but also because the man was bleeding from a gunshot wound when he decided it’d be a great idea to start telling the story of how he’d gotten from New York City to Buckinghamshire, England, by way of a short detour in Africa.
So how does an orphan who found himself on the streets of New York by the age of seven, working odd jobs—well, mostly losing odd jobs because Chauncey was and still is a bit of a pill—end up in England via Africa and the French Foreign Legion? That’s a long story and one Chauncey should tell because it’s his to share, but I will say it’s an awfully good one.
It’s where Chauncey’s life ended, really, there in the African desert, as part of a unit of ragtag soldiers who didn’t fit in anywhere but under the command of Jacky Valentine, quite possibly one of the most charming men I’ve ever encountered in the pages of a book, but that’s beside the point. The point is why Chauncey’s life ended, and that’s because Africa is the place he became Chance. Africa is the place where Chance was born to the reality that in order to change his life he was going to have to change his heart, and it was with the help of three teenage boys, clever beyond their years, boys who taught Chance that as bad as his life has been, if he’s vigilant enough, he’s bound to meet someone whose life has been worse, boys who eventually become part of a make-shift family with Jacky and Chance, that Chance finally came to the realization he could open his heart to the man who loved him in spite of the fact Chance had done everything to sabotage that gift.
Loving the first person narrative is easy to do when you love the narrator, and oh my, did I love Chance, even when he didn’t love himself and couldn’t move fast enough to get out of his own way. He tested Jacky’s patience and resolve nearly every step of the way, but he did so with wit and charm and no small amount of exasperating determination to do exactly the opposite of what he’d been ordered to do. It wasn’t easy for Chance to accept that Jacky loved him, given his past, and it wasn’t until Chance nearly lost Jacky forever that he was finally able to accept what change had created in him.
I had a sneaking suspicion after reading Roses in the Devil’s Garden that I could truly, madly, deeply become hooked on Charlie Cochet’s work. The Auspicious Troubles of Chance is all the proof I needed to quit suspecting and just let it be.
This is the first book in The Auspicious Troubles of Love series and I’m every bit as excited to see what’s yet to come for Johnnie, Henry, Alexander, and Bobby as I am glad to know that Chance and Jacky will be back along with them. I adore them all; their humor and their heart and their fears and all the promise of wonderful things yet to come.
Buy The Auspicious Troubles of Chance HERE.