Book-In-Focus: A Second Life by Bob Williams

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Everybody needs a second chance at one point in their life. It can be a chance to undo mistakes of the past, to escape the present, or to begin again and build a new future.

A Second Life begins with the story of an American soldier, John Thomas. Caught in the middle of World War II, he finds himself barely surviving being shot at by German soldiers. His life was saved by a French resistance fighter whose identity he soon assumed. This is the beginning of his "second life," a life that has freed him from a life at home that trapped him for years.

Now in his new identity, he meets a young Jewish mother and her child. This meeting is also the beginning of a new mission - to save them from suffering.

A Second Life is a fast-paced story set in 1943 during World War II. It is part historical fiction and part love story. Either way, the backdrop of WWII has lent to the development of characters who for anyone who has read the book has felt very real. This is perhaps the best quality of the book. Aside from the compelling story, it presents the characters in a very realistic way. The journey each character go through from beginning to end is something that can be felt by the readers. Even though it is set in a different time, the central themes of love, sacrifice, courage, and compassion can still be felt in its pages.

A Second Life is a book that tells a story of the horrors of war. It vividly describes what it was like to live in those times for different types of people. It is also a book that tells the story of redemption. It encapsulates in its pages how an individual, even in desperate times, can take the second chance that life throws at him to pursue something meaningful. Lastly, this is a book that tells a love story born in dangerous times.

Reader reviews of A Second Life include "The characters are beautifully drawn and feel very real which makes for a very compelling read." and "In A Second Life, author Bob Williams gives us a close up look at World War II with all the drama and details you could want."

Reviews and What Readers Say

“ The story grabbed me right away. John's early life told in contrasting chapters with his experiences in the war made for a compelling read. The characters were well drawn and felt true to life, making me want to know more about them. I especially appreciated the uplifting tone, even when things look darkest, that made what could have been a bleak and tragic tale shine as a love story and a reminder to enjoy every day. I look forward to more books by Bob Williams and will recommend this one to other friends. ”

Donna Ritchie, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase

“ Picked up a copy of Bob Williams latest book at the launch on a Thursday evening and finished it by Sunday night. Although his family life and the time was different than mine, I felt a little nostalgic getting introduced to the main character in his coming of age years as a young man in the early chapters. Felt upset about the cruelty of WWII in the middle chapters, but also uplifted about the kindness, compassion and willingness of good people to take risks for others in the middle chapters. And, I must admit, I felt a bit emotional in the ending chapters as the main character, now in his sixty's, looks back at his life. I think the story would be found especially interesting and meaningful read for anyone who has parents or grandparents who were part of the "Greatest Generation." I say, great action and suspense with a touch of romance; however, some might say great romance in the middle of action and suspense; you be the judge..."

―Patrick H.

" As a former History teacher and fan of historical fiction, I found Bob William’s fast paced thriller, “A Second Life” to be a compelling and gripping tale set in the backdrop of World War II. The characters are wonderfully developed and he quickly engages the reader, pulling them into a world of love, courage and suspense. Bob is not only a great storyteller but a tireless researcher. The impressive amount of background work that went into writing this novel is evident from his horrific descriptions of life in a Nazi concentration camp. But the novel is more than a historical condemnation of the brutality of the Nazi regime. It is a coming of age saga about the “Greatest Generation” as it was propelled from the safety and security of rural 1940’s America into the death and destruction of a world at war. “A Second Life” is a delightful read that will have you turning the pages as quickly as possible." ―Mike Mekdeci, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase

“ I have always been attracted to books with a Second World War setting. In fact, over the years I have read so many of them that I seriously doubted that there could be anything new or surprising to be found in the genre. Then along came Bob Williams' "A Second Life" and I realized how wrong I had been. The author uses a novel plot twist to grab our attention and we soon become immersed in both the horrors of war and and the power of redemption. The author's description of life in a Nazi concentration camp is one of the most vivid and emotionally heart-wrenching accounts I have ever read and the book is worth reading for that alone but there is so much more. The book is certainly a "war story" but it is also a story about love, compassion and sacrifice. For me, sometimes the ending of a book can be a little disappointing even if the overall story has been riveting. That's not the case here as the author brings all of the storylines to a very surprising but gratifying conclusion."


Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a roller coaster ride of emotion that takes you to the heights of exhilaration to the depths of despair. Bob Williams has developed a saga that is deeply and broadly researched. It presents a factual account of World War II and a fanciful story that could well have happened to any young man during that time. It could easily be made into a movie that would provide all the suspense and intrigue, love and hate that anyone would need. It is a quick read because you will not want to put it down. You might just need two tickets; one for the movie and one for the roller coaster.

―Roy E. Eldridge, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase

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Dr. Bob Williams is retired faculty in the College of Education at the University of Central Florida. He has worked as a teacher, school psychologist, principal, and superintendent of schools. Dr. Williams has published articles and coauthored a leadership book for educators. Also, he has been a keynote speaker at several different conferences and workshops. In 2014 he wrote a coming of age novel, " The Eastside of Town " and in 2017 a historical fiction novel, " A Second Life." He and his wife, Linda, live in Orlando, Florida.

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