Title: Welcome To Last Chance
Series: A Place To Call Home
Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Published: August 1, 2013
When Lainie Davis sees that red warning light come on in her car, she thinks nothing of it, until her car breaks down in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. Lainie is determined to find a way to leave this tiny one-horse town any way possible, until she starts to meet the people. These people who call this town their home are way too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life, and with her on the run that can become a problem.
Because she’s stuck in Last Chance for the time being, Lainie finds herself getting to know the colorful residents and integrating herself into the town. The more she does that the more she finds herself drawn to the town and the people, particularly to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Lainie can start to imagine herself staying here but it’s too dangerous and she knows it.
With Lainie growing closer to the people and Ray, she starts to fall in love, but she also starts to feeling an overwhelming sense of danger and she knows her time is limited before her past finds her. She’s not willing to risk being found, but she doesn’t want to leave either. For once her word seems to finally be good, but the arrival of who’s she running from can alter her world forever.
Can Lainie leave Last Chance or will she decide to stay? Will Lainie fall in love with Ray and stay or will they fall apart and make it easy for her to leave? Can Lainie outrun her past or will it catch up to her? What will happen if her past does find her? How will Lainie react to Ray’s secret? Who is chasing Lainie and who is she running from? Can Last Chance be all that Lainie needs or will El Paso be more for her?
This book captured my eye as soon as I saw the cover and I figured a story about a girl on the run was even better. Add a romance in there and I’m practically jumping up and down ready to dig in. However, my expectations for this book weren’t quite fulfilled and I was a bit disappointed about that. This book was enjoyable but this wasn’t a book that really captured me nor is it one that I would read again.
The story started out pretty good. The urgency and frustration of Lainie’s situation flows through the pages, but as the story progressed the less I felt connected to the character. Also, the sense of urgency about who Lainie’s running from is almost abandoned for most of the book and picked up all of a sudden towards the end, giving it a choppy feel. Because of that, I didn’t love the execution of this story, though I did love the concept.
The romance isn’t my favorite either. I felt that the majority of it was physical and that there wasn’t much emotional growth between Lainie and Ray. Their conversations never really got really deep and it left me feeling like I got left out of a major part of the story. Though I liked the fact that there was kissing in this book, I really wish the author would’ve put more into the emotional side and less on the physical.
The thing I loved most about this story was the unique and overly kind characters that made up Last Chance, New Mexico. Books with characters like this are why I imagine an idyllic life in a small town. These characters are all unique and quirky and just plain lovable. I wish I lived around these loving folks just so I could experience the family-like atmosphere they create with their open and kind ways. This is something g the author did amazingly.
Cathleen Armstrong didn’t “wow” me with this book, but I believe this is a debut for her and as far as a debut goes this is pretty good. The author has a ways to go before her books will top the charts for me but she has amazing potential and I look forward to seeing what she can do. I think in a few books she will be amazing and I can’t wait to see it.
Overall, I didn’t love it. I felt the concept was better than the execution but the lively characters that love in the small town can capture your heart. I think this book is good for people who want a romance with a twist and don’t mind a debut novel to get that. I think this book is best left to the adults, though teens might enjoy this one too. I give this book a two and a half out of five.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*