Love the Hero ...
Chef Chris Reed has recently moved to the small town of Last Chance where he has taken over the Dip ‘n’ Dine diner with the hope of turning it into a destination restaurant—a plan that might be foiled by stuck-in-the-mud employees, and the fact he now has to care for his seven-year-old niece, Olivia. Sarah Cooley has returned to Last Chance to teach second grade, having recently broken up with her college boyfriend, Brandon Miller, as he was too controlling.
I liked the writing. The Christian elements were subtle and not preachy. I liked Chris, especially the way he had such patience with his stubborn employees, and the way he cared for Olivia. I really liked Olivia, who struggled to cope with feelings of rejection and abandonment (and I would have liked to have seen more of her personal growth). Elizabeth, Sarah’s grandmother, was wonderful the way she stepped in and looked after Olivia. In fact, Olivia was the only thing that kept me reading.
But I didn’t like Sarah, and didn’t I understand what Chris saw in her. At one point she describes herself as “too stupid to live”, and while that might be a bit harsh, she came across as narrow-minded and judgemental, unfriendly, and none too bright. She doesn’t like the fact Brandon keeps texting and calling her, yet doesn’t think to change her cell phone number (or block his number). She doesn’t like Chris because he’s from the city (Albuquerque might be the biggest city in New Mexico, but it’s hardly Chicago or New York). And there’s no noticeable change or growth in her character.
It seems I already own the first book in this series, Welcome to Last Chance, although I haven’t read it (it was a free download). After reading One More Last Chance, I’m not sure I want to, even though it won the 2009 ACFW Genesis Prize. The writing in One More Last Chance is good, the plot had potential, and the minor characters are portrayed well (several of them are annoying, but they are portrayed well). But those positives aren’t enough to outweigh the Sarah effect. I have a hard time enjoying a romance novel where I don’t like the heroine and can’t understand what the hero sees in her.
Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Cathleen Armstrong at her website.