Book Beat – At Home in Last Chance

Last ChanceOne thing I love in book series is watching characters I dislike come to redemption. And one thing I adore is authors who can make you love the unlikable character.

Cathleen Armstrong does just that in At Home in Last Chance. In Welcome to Last Chance and One More Last Chance, we met selfish Steven Braden, who thinks he’s all that with an extra dose of hot chili, and Kaitlyn Reed, who left her young daughter with her brother so she could gallivant around with a boyfriend.

Very. Unlikable.

So when I found out At Home in Last Chance featured these two characters, I was giddy with expectation. I knew Cathleen could bring these two to redemption without ever resorting to sentimentality. And what a story.

Kaitlyn Reed has joined her brother and daughter in Last Chance, New Mexico, despising her past actions and determined to change. She dislikes her job at the Dip ‘n’ Dine but sees it as the price she needs to pay. Steven Braden is also straightening out after a lifetime of irresponsibility and is preparing to enter the police academy. Steven’s reputation is such that his own dear grandmother warns Kaitlyn to steer clear of him. Kaitlyn intends to do just that. However, Steven and Kaitlyn find common ground in dealing with judgmental attitudes in the community and low expectations from those who love them, and they encourage each other.

This story truly touched me. Kaitlyn’s deep regret and shame over her past drew me in, and I hurt for her as she dealt with distrust from others and her own self-loathing. I also loved how Kaitlyn and Steven grew past their initial flirtation and rejection to develop a friendship that built each other up. As with the other Last Chance novels, the town is a character all its own, and the side characters live and breathe, full of quirks and strengths and foibles. A story full of depth and truth. Please don’t miss it!