Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong
Rating: * * *
Lainie Davis, on the run from her old life, ends up in Last Chance, NM. What she hopes will be a few hours’ stay while her car is repaired turns into months as she finds a job, makes new friends, and begins to trust others besides herself. She meets and befriends Ray, who is also in Last Chance by circumstance rather than by choice. Lainie finds herself wishing she could remain in Last Chance forever, although she fears her past will catch up with her and she will be forced to leave.
Welcome to Last Chance is a novel about chances: 2nd, 3rd, last chances. Every character in the story is offered chances: to make a better 2nd impression on someone; to see the impact of their words and deeds on others; to change lives in ways tiny to huge. What each person chooses to do with those chances makes the story.
Lainie is independent and stubborn. I cheered at her take-no-guff response to being harassed by a customer, and I laughed out loud at the outfit she chose for her first Sunday outing in town, an outing she was ordered to attend, much to her disgust. Her choices are not always the wisest, but she does take responsibility for her own actions.
This is Cathleen Armstrong’s debut novel. While at times it is awkward due to too much dialogue and a hazy timeline, I enjoyed the book. If you like this novel, you may also like Lisa Wingate’s Daily, TX series.
I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley.