Welcome to Last Chance, by Hope Ramsay
Publisher: Grand Central (Hachette Book Group)
Author Hope Ramsay was born in New York and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer her mother would pack her off to her aunt to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Hope earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Buffalo, and has had various jobs working as a Congressional aide, a lobbyist, a public relations consultant, and a meeting planner. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart Awards through the Romance Writers of America. She resides in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband, two grown children, and two demanding cats. You can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar. Other titles include: Home at Last Chance (coming September 2011).
Welcome to Last Chance, South Carolina, a town that lives up to its name, as Jane Coblentz soon learned when exiting the 9:30 bus from Atlanta. She was broke, had nothing on her including clothes, and a history of bad choices chasing her. After a one night fling with musician and songwriter Clay Rhodes her first night in town, Jane is determined to make a fresh start and better decisions. The Universe appeared to be on her side. She quickly got a job and rent-free housing at the local Cut 'n' Curl salon, plus her one night with Clay was turning into something a lot like love. But as fate would have it, Clay had a past as tormenting as hers, and as those past regrets came into Last Chance one by one, so too did hers. Now she must trust not only in Clay, but herself as well if she's going to have any chance at true happiness.
*SPOILER ALERT* I hate issuing these, but I find it necessary in order to relay my concerns with this book. Everything, from the characters to the setting to the back story, were so well done, except-- the plot and storyline. It really ruined the book for me. Here's why: Clay left Carolina to head to Nashville years ago to make it in country music. He made a success of himself, but at a cost. Both women he fell in love with dumped him for other men. He then came home after the band kicked him out, then went on to the bestselling charts. In the book, both women come back to him, or try. It seemed over the top to me, as there was enough conflict without that. Jane had a history of choosing the wrong men too. First, the guy she ran away from home with when she was seventeen, then the gambling addict she ran away from at the start of the story. Both pasts come back to haunt her, and get her in serious legal trouble. The legal angle was weak, which struck me from the start, and after awhile, it grew tiresome in how it was handled and portrayed in the book. The ending, her running from goons trying to kill her while carrying an angel-wielding little girl from town, was over the top.
But like I stated earlier, it is so easy to fall in love with the small town setting and the many secondary characters in this book. It's what propelled me to keep going. The author also did a spectacular job of illustrating the desperation of Jane when she first arrived in town. It was heart-breaking.
Author and Reviewer