The inhabitants of Last Chance, New Mexico, could not be more pleased. Dr. Jessica McLeod has opened an office right on Main Street. Andy Ryan, the best athlete the little town ever produced, has ended his short career in the NFL and has come home to coach the mighty Pumas of Last Chance High. Unfortunately, Dr. Jess immediately gets off on the wrong foot when she admits that she’s never seen a football game, isn’t really interested in doing so, and, in fact, doesn’t know a first down from a home run. Meanwhile, Coach Ryan is discovering that it’s not easy to balance atop the pedestal the town has put him on. When this unlikely pair is drawn together over the future of a young player–whose gifts may lie in the laboratory rather than on the football field–they begin to wonder if they might have a future together as well.
I just love this whole series! Each book gets better than the last, in my opinion (which after all is what you’re here to read lol). Way back in July – when barely anyone was reading my blog yet 😉 – I reviewed book 3 in this series, At Home in Last Chance. You can read that review here. At the time, I said that I was thrilled to learn that a fourth book was due out in September (especially as I had been afraid it was just going to be a trilogy). Guess what? IT’S HERE!
As ever, Elizabeth stays steady as my favorite character across the series. She just always has the best lines, the greatest retorts, and the sweetest hugs. In fact, she reminds me more and more of my own Grandma King with each new book. This is a high compliment indeed since I still consider my Grandma one of my “bestest” friends even though she’s been with Jesus for several years now. It seems like I always have a favorite line of Elizabeth’s in each book – this time it was her response when Jess teasingly asked her if she always got her way.
“Not always,” Elizabeth unfastened her seat belt. “But most always.”
Honestly though, Cathleen Armstrong’s writing is full of great lines like that – and charm and grace too. Here’s another example, this one from Jess’ first experience with Elizabeth’s church.
There was no yelling, no pulpit pounding, no flinging of guilt, and no snake handling. Truthfully, she wasn’t really expecting snake handling, but you hear things.
The plot engages your attention right away and keeps you captivated with its humor and warmth. Last Chance really is a small town at its best – and worst – and this book, perhaps more than its predecessors, shows it in all its glory. But beyond the nitpicking and everyone-knows-your-name qualities, Last Chance Hero carries with it a deeper message of forgiveness and friendship… and football 😉
It seems like a 5th book must be in the works (and I’ve heard rumors supporting this idea) due to the way the book ended, the loose ends that still need tying & the feel that we were just getting started with Jess & Andy’s stories. I for one would be perfectly content for this series to continue for a long time!
Bottom Line: All the familiar characters in the series are back in Last Chance Hero, and it’s wonderful to get reacquainted with them! Cathleen’s delightful writing voice is at its sharpest yet, and the new characters will instantly become old friends. The underlying message of looking beyond our preconceived ideas rings more true in today’s world than ever before. Highly recommended for anyone who loves stories set in quirky small towns and for fans of Varina Denman, Susan Mallery or Robyn Carr.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for only my honest review.)
About the Author:
Cathleen Armstrong is the author of Welcome to Last Chance, winner of the ACFW Genesis Award for Women’s Fiction in 2009, One More Last Chance, and At Home in Last Chance. She lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Ed, and their corgi, but her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. You can follow Cathleen at her website as well as