Review: Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

The red warning light on her car dashboard drove Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. But as she encounters the people who make Last Chance their home, it’s her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life for Lainie’s comfort–especially since she’s on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie finds that she is increasingly drawn in to the dramas of small town life. An old church lady who always has room for a stranger. A handsome bartender with a secret life. A single mom running her diner and worrying over her teenage son. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little hick town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

This is my first novel by Cathleen Armstrong. It likely won’t be my last.

It was a quick, fun read. Perfect for when I was laying on the couch after hurting the whole right side of my right leg when I slipped and fell in my in-law’s driveway ;).

My biggest complaint about it was that it felt… too short* and compared to several other recently released contemporaries, it is a fair bit shorter. To go along with the shorter length, there were several secondary stories taking up quite a bit of room. I enjoyed those stories as well, but felt it left Lainie and Ray a bit less room than they may have otherwise enjoyed. I also felt the ending was a bit rushed.

If it sounds like I didn’t enjoy it, that’s not quite right. I did, but would have liked another 50 pages or so focusing more on Ray and Lainie.

I did love Lainie and Ray and the rest of the gang in Last Chance and really loved getting to know them and the town. I would love to read another book – or several – set there. But in the end, I was left feeling a bit… short-changed? I’m not sure what the word is, but looking for a bit… MORE.

Overall rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

*Print length is 289 pages. Beth Vogt’s Catch a Falling Star is 338, Becky Wade’s Undeniably Yours is 385, and Melissa Tagg’s Made to Last is 369. I’m using only recent contemporary novels as historicals tend to be longer anyway. Of those three, the next shortest is 50 pages longer – which is A LOT.
Thanks to the publisher for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

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