Lanie is very likable with a sketchy past that chases her throughout the story. All the characters in the book are very hard workers, perhaps illustrating small-town life. All the people and elements of this story intertwined, but didn't feel forced at all. I especially liked Ray, the male character. His background was deep and his dream was huge. The location of his cabin was vivid, I wished I could have spent more time there!
I really enjoyed "Welcome to Last Chance". I found myself not wanting to stop reading it at times. The only thing that I wish there was more of was at the ending. More of the, what I call, the "happy ever after". When it came to the end, that was it..... The epilogue was not enough. There are 3 books to this series and I was hopping they would link more of it together. I am now up to the 3 book. Hope it has more.
Welcome to Last Chance was a fun book to read. After reading this book, I really felt connected to these characters in the small town of Last Chance, New Mexico. Lainie Davis started out in the book as a pretty rough character who had obviously lived a hard life. She was distrustful and didn't really fit in with the long-time residents of this small town.
I enjoyed seeing Lainie grow, both in learning about a relationship with God and in learning how to allow herself to be loved by the people living in Last Chance. She is very drawn to one man in particular, named Ray. I enjoyed their sweet romance develop, but was pretty nervous that Lainie would mess it up or that her past would find her.
This is really a great collection of characters, an enjoyable setting to read about, and there is plenty of drama to make for a very interesting story. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
This book has a great supporting cast. I enjoyed the townspeople and their personalities. The author struck a good balance between quirky and realistic. The main character seemed disconnected to me, like she held herself aloof, which was part of her personality, but it affected my ability to connect or relate to her. Her emotions were withheld not only from the other characters but from the reader as well. The relationship she had with Ray seemed a matter of convenience- their reasons for being together or caring for each other were not developed or communicated. There was some character growth, but it was very subtle. The ending was too abrupt for me, and the epilogue didn't make up for the lack of resolution.
From the really good beginning to the really *sweet* ending, Welcome to Last Chance is an excellent read!
I have a hard time believing this is a debut novel-but I'm really glad about that, because now, Lord willing, I can follow Cathleen Armstrong's future writing career, hopefully through many more novels!
So what makes Welcome to Last Chance so special?
Well, first I'm going to talk about The Characters. Let's meet a few of them.
Lainie, a woman a woman on the run, whose sharp, hard demeanor is a shield over a heart that longs to stop running, but's she's been forced to run all her life.
Elizabeth, the elderly lady who takes Lainie in. Elizabeth is "soft, like pillows" and loves watching cop shows. She lets Lainie right into her house, giving her a neat little room with a quilt on the bed, and she also lets Lainie right into her heart... a place Lainie isn't sure she should go with anyone.
Then there's Ray, the steady, solid grandson of sweet Elizabeth. A man who doesn't drink and is stuck tending a bar that he can't wait to be done with, all because of a promise to his dying father.
Then you need to hear about The Setting. I love small towns, and Last Chance is a great example of why.
And then, of course, The Plot is what places the characters in the setting.
The plot here had everything I like: Sheriff's deputies, moral choices that must be made, redemption, regeneration, and real people coming to care for each other.
Really, it is all three (Characters, Setting and Plot) that come together like bacon, eggs and biscuits fresh from the oven that make this story so delicious.
As Cathleen's tag-line says, It's Grace, served with a side of green chile.
Thank you Revell for my copy of Welcome to Last Chance!
*Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*