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Welcome to Last Chance (A Place to Call Home Book #1): A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Cathleen Armstrong
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)

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Book Description

She's learned you can't count on anyone--but she didn't count on landing in Last Chance.

The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town 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--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

"With equal parts hope, charm, and tender faith, Cathleen Armstrong spins a tale as warm and welcoming as a roadside café on a dusty highway. Exit from the fast lane and visit Last Chance. It's a place you won't soon forget."--Lisa Wingate, bestselling and award-winning author of Firefly Island and Blue Moon Bay

"With an eclectic cast of characters and well-developed plot, Welcome to Last Chance pulls the reader in from the first blink of the warning light on the dashboard of Lainie's car."--Beth K. Vogt, author of Catch a Falling Star and Wish You Were Here

"An outstanding debut novel! Welcome to Last Chance gives us a warm but never sentimental view of small-town life, sprinkled with characters full of quirks and faults--all seen through the eyes of a tough but fragile heroine. Cathleen Armstrong has crafted a story to cherish."--Sarah Sundin, award-winning author of With Every Letter

"A wonderful debut novel . . . . Readers will enjoy the simplicity of Welcome to Last Chance and the complexity of Lainie's character."--New York Journal of Books

Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, but her roots remain deep in New Mexico, where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. Her debut novel, Welcome to Last Chance, has already won the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for Women's Fiction.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Ed, and their corgi. Though she has been in California for many years now, her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. After she a

Product Details

  • File Size: 1185 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0800722469
  • Publisher: Revell (August 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B85M54A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut novel! August 24, 2013
I really liked the way this book started out, with Lainie dragging into Last Chance in a car that dies in the first parking lot in town. For the first few days, she doesn't know whether she is having good luck or bad luck with the things that are happening. Before she can blink, though, she has a place to stay and a job - just no car.

She has been on her own for so long that she doesn't recognize it when someone cares about her and is not just ordering her around. She has had her fill of being ordered around, but because of situations in her past, can't quite feel comfortable anywhere. She is afraid that her ex is going to come looking for her, and she can't let him find her.

I loved Lainie. When she discovered that she was in a situation that she didn't like - rather than staying to try to change her boyfriend - she packed up and left. Something I think not a lot of young girls would do. Especially ones that didn't have anywhere else they could call home. When she arrived in Last Chance, she was cautious, but she was not afraid of work. She was a good person who had just not had a perfect life.

Like the people of Last Chance, this book was warm and welcoming and presented the gospel in a very laid back way. For them it was just a fact of life - something they lived every day. They did not need to rub your face in it. Now don't get me wrong - Last Chance had some characters that weren't living the life they should, and even had some Christians whose heart was in the right place even if what came out of their mouths sometimes wasn't.

I thought it was a very strong debut novel and will happily read whatever Cathleen Armstrong comes out with next.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Story! August 17, 2013
I enjoyed reading Cathleen Armstrong's debut novel, Welcome to Last Chance. The story is sweet, the town is charming, and the characters residing in Last Chance, New Mexico are just that--characters--and they certainly provide a lot of color to this small town WAY off the beaten path. I love stories set in small towns. There's something so beautiful about the way people know one another and band together in the midst of struggle. Last Chance was certainly no exception, though I wondered a time or two if they didn't give people the benefit of the doubt a little too quickly at times.

Lainie and Ray piqued my interest from the very beginning. I knew there was more to their stories than initially explained and I enjoyed finding out more about them. Elizabeth, though, was my favorite, though! She was just so warm and caring. I definitely look forward to reading more about Elizabeth in future books in the series.

While the characters and the setting were huge hits for me, I felt that there were a few missteps in the plot. First, there were a ton of characters ... and some with similar names, which always confuses me. I liked seeing a fuller picture of the town, but it did get a little overwhelming at times. Also, the main story was supposedly about Lainie and Ray, but there were three other stories that were pretty fully explained in the book. I almost felt like they could have (should have?) been four separate books in the series. That would have given me the "more" I found myself looking for at times. The second complaint is that there were a couple of plot points that just didn't make sense to me--the trip to Juarez, for instance. And finally, the ending was abrupt. The book was shorter than many, and I felt the buildup, but then it just skipped to the ending.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
From the really good beginning to the really *sweet* ending, Welcome to Last Chance is an excellent read!

I have a hard time believing this is a debut novel-but I'm really glad about that, because now, Lord willing, I can follow Cathleen Armstrong's future writing career, hopefully through many more novels!

So what makes Welcome to Last Chance so special?
Well, first I'm going to talk about The Characters. Let's meet a few of them.
Lainie, a woman a woman on the run, whose sharp, hard demeanor is a shield over a heart that longs to stop running, but's she's been forced to run all her life.

Elizabeth, the elderly lady who takes Lainie in. Elizabeth is "soft, like pillows" and loves watching cop shows. She lets Lainie right into her house, giving her a neat little room with a quilt on the bed, and she also lets Lainie right into her heart... a place Lainie isn't sure she should go with anyone.

Then there's Ray, the steady, solid grandson of sweet Elizabeth. A man who doesn't drink and is stuck tending a bar that he can't wait to be done with, all because of a promise to his dying father.

Then you need to hear about The Setting. I love small towns, and Last Chance is a great example of why.

And then, of course, The Plot is what places the characters in the setting.

The plot here had everything I like: Sheriff's deputies, moral choices that must be made, redemption, regeneration, and real people coming to care for each other.

Really, it is all three (Characters, Setting and Plot) that come together like bacon, eggs and biscuits fresh from the oven that make this story so delicious.

As Cathleen's tag-line says, It's Grace, served with a side of green chile.

Thank you Revell for my copy of Welcome to Last Chance!

*Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Relaxing reading.
Published 6 hours ago by Annamarie Van Giesbergen
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read.
A cozy and comfortable read. For me, there was no suspense or mystery, yet this kept my interest.
Published 8 hours ago by Joy E Ray
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved everything about this book and look forward to reading more of her books.
Published 18 hours ago by Janet L. McRoberts
5.0 out of 5 stars fun read
A little different and refreshing plot could have gone several different ways. Glad it had a solid ending. Enjoyed it.
Published 1 day ago by olypops
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Very good book. Couldn't put it down. The kind of book I enjoy reading. Wish I could find more like it.
Published 1 day ago by Regena Helmers
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay storyline
For me, too many things were left out of the story and not wrapped up. Lots of pieces missing or brought up in the story and then never cleared up. It needs polishing.
Published 1 day ago by Carla Goff
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
This was a good read. I liked the small town atmosphere and the characters made me want to know them personally.
Published 1 day ago by Linda Shipwash
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good book, great ending!
I enjoyed this book, it has a great ending. Smaller towns do have friendliness and concern for each other. I would recommend this book.
Published 1 day ago by Brenda
4.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Story with Memorable Characters
A well written yarn and somewhat predicable. I liked the faith introduced to build character and support of the lead. It is a good read well worthy of one's time.
Published 1 day ago by T. Richard Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Last Chance
This is the kind of story you can really get into. As Lainie becomes entrenched in Last Chance, you the reader does as well. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Like2Read
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