Saturday, August 17, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance ... A Charming Story!

Welcome to Last Chance
by Cathleen Armstrong
A Place to Call Home series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available August 2013
288 pages

About the Book
She's learned you can't count on anyone--but she didn't count on landing in Last Chance.

The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

My Thoughts
I enjoyed reading Cathleen Armstrong's debut novel, Welcome to Last Chance. The story is sweet, the town is charming, and the characters residing in Last Chance, New Mexico are just that—characters—and they certainly provide a lot of color to this small town WAY off the beaten path. I love stories set in small towns. There's something so beautiful about the way people know one another and band together in the midst of struggle. Last Chance was certainly no exception, though I wondered a time or two if they didn't give people the benefit of the doubt a little too quickly at times.

Lainie and Ray piqued my interest from the very beginning. I knew there was more to their stories than initially explained and I enjoyed finding out more about them. Elizabeth, though, was my favorite, though! She was just so warm and caring. I definitely look forward to reading more about Elizabeth in future books in the series. 

While the characters and the setting were huge hits for me, I felt that there were a few missteps in the plot. First, there were a ton of characters ... and some with similar names, which always confuses me. I liked seeing a fuller picture of the town, but it did get a little overwhelming at times. Also, the main story was supposedly about Lainie and Ray, but there were three other stories that were pretty fully explained in the book. I almost felt like they could have (should have?) been four separate books in the series. That would have given me the "more" I found myself looking for at times. The second complaint is that there were a couple of plot points that just didn't make sense to me—the trip to Juarez, for instance. And finally, the ending was abrupt. The book was shorter than many, and I felt the buildup, but then it just skipped to the ending. Another 20 pages might have helped me out a bit.

Even with these missteps, I still very much enjoyed the book and look forward to other books in the series! [3.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Ed, and their corgi. Though she has been in California for many years now, her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. After she and Ed raised three children, she returned to college and earned a BA in English. Welcome to Last Chance won the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for Women's Fiction.

Cathleen Armstrong Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

1 comment:

  1. I know! This book was very good...but I agree, longer is better with a book like this! I love small town, I live in one! That's why books set in small towns usually resonate with my heart. Great review of a book I loved!


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