Saturday, January 31, 2015

At Home in Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

At Home in Last Chance (A Place to Call Home, #3)  Spunky haircut, hip leather jacket and scarf -- the cover of Armstrong's latest novel will surely draw in Christian fiction readers who want a contemporary story and setting.  AT HOME IN LAST CHANCE is the third novel to be set in this small Texas town which many, like main character Kaitlyn Reed, would classify as the last place on earth for starting a new life.  But fresh starts are possible and just maybe Last Chance is a special place for those who need those starts.  Despite having parents who supported her through her rough and rebellious teens, Kaitlyn has continued to mess up and now finds herself trying to reestablish a relationship with her seven year old daughter whom she recklessly left with her brother to seek personal romance and adventure.  She knows she has changed, that she's found an inner maturity and a need to make amends.  While her brother has given her a job at his cafe, it seems that everyone is waiting for her to make a wrong move, and the one who seems most sure it will happen is Kaitlyn herself.

She finds a kindred spirit in Steven, who would classify himself as the town's recovering bad boy.  While both feel an attraction to the other, and both can see the tremendous effort the other is making to begin a new, each is warned to stay away from the other.  Cries of "He's bad news" or "Stay away from her; she doesn't need you" come from every direction.  But like I said earlier, Last Chance is a special place, and despite the typical gossip and nosiness of small towns, there is genuine caring and when one begins to see the good in another, just maybe, one will  finally see the goodness within yourself.

I have not the read the first books in this series, but can tell the writer is following the series pattern of developing one person's (one couple's) story per book, while always tying the stories together.  I especially liked the inter-generational plot of this book.  Steven's 88 year old grandmother is the baby sitter for Kaitlyn's daughter Olivia, and it is her hospitalization that brings Steven and Kaitlyn closer.  She is also the person who first sees how much both "misfits" have changed.  From her aged perspective, she can clearly see that the two have plenty of time to leave the past and make a future.

Final word --- This is not a romance of boy meets girl, couple falls in love, problems hit and misunderstandings abound, followed by a miserable break up and then finally a reconciliation. Rather Kaitlyn's and Steve's personal stories take center stage, and as they find themselves, they find each other.  This is a much quieter story, but very affirming.

I would like to thank Revell Reads for a review copy of this book.  All opinions are mine.

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