Welcome to Last Chance
If you have an affinity for quirky plots, great characterization, amusing dialogue along with a sorrowful guardian angel, then you definitely need to read this book. Hope Ramsay has written a very appealing book in Welcome to Last Chance.
After working for seven years to get her life back on track, Wanda Jane Coblentz’ plans for a career as a country music star in Nashville have taken a “dive over the cliff called reality”, thanks to her rat fink boyfriend, Woody West. Two months ago, gambling winnings allowed Woody to fool Jane into thinking he was well connected in the music industry. However, it turns out Woody has major gambling debts, and the goons have come to collect. Once they take the two thousand dollars that she had worked so long to save, Jane knows she needs to leave town. Trusting that her positive affirmations will release her inner consciousness, providing her with a road map to success, Jane buys a bus ticket to Last Chance. Only when she arrives on the nine-thirty bus from Atlanta, the town sidewalks are rolled up, and the only open place is Dot’s Spot. Surveying the crowd, she immediately attracted to the fiddler, but she recognizes him as a “bad for women” type of guy, so she hones in on the least dangerous guy, hoping to sweet talk him into buying her supper, since she only has five dollars in her pocket.
Clay Rhodes takes notice of Jane the moment she walks through the door. He watches her survey the crowd, and then turn her laserbeam look at Ray. Since Ray is under his protection, Clay quickly disengages himself from the band and diverts Ray’s attention, and the attention of all the other men who try to approach her. After the sexual attraction between the two sizzles for a couple of hours, Clay makes his move, asks Jane if she is interested in exploring this further, and they end up at Peach Blossom Motor Court. After catching Jane looking through his wallet the next morning, Clay feels guilty, thinking that Jane slept with him because she needed a place to stay. Now, he feels obligated to help her, and the best way to do that is to assist her in leaving town. However, Miriam the town matchmaker knows something about soul mates, and all it takes is one call to Clay’s mother to turn things upside down.
What made this book work so well for me is the characterization. Wanda Jane Coblentz ran away from home right after high school, and since then she is been striving for success. She is not one to dwell overly long on her mistakes. At times she might think that she has the corner on bad luck, but most of the time she believes that her positive affirmations are going to change her life for the better. Clay Rhodes has moved back to Last Chance to take care of his uncle’s store and Ray, plus recover from the latest romantic breakup that affected his Nashville career. He doesn’t understand why he keeps falling for women who just need him rather then love him, ultimately dumping him for someone more exciting or richer. He is 34 years old, and it is high time that he settles down with a mature woman.
The secondary characters are captivating. This is one book that I hope is the beginning of a series because I sure became attached to Dash, Ray, Stony, Haley and many more. Finishing the book, I found myself going back to re-read scenes featuring them, looking for clues on a possible sequel. The plot is fun, with many twist and turns from a golf course with a statue of Jesus, characters with aliases, stolen rare artifacts, and of course the sorrowful angel.
If I had to state one criticism about the book it would be about the pacing. I thought it was a little slow at times, but all the appealing characters kept me reading anyway.
One of the fun parts of reviewing is discovering new authors. I am glad that the universe sent Welcome to Last Chance my way, and I am going to make sure that it does the same with Hope Ramsay’s future books.