Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsey

CHANCE 

Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsey
Publisher: Forever (Hachette Book Group)
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Holiday
Length: Full (338 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Dear Reader,
I’ve been wishing for a miracle for my oldest boy, Stone, and this Christmas my prayers might just be answered!

Her name is Lark, and she’s here in Last Chance, looking into her father’s past-and stirring up a whole mess of trouble without meaning to. As the chief of police, Stone sure has his hands full trying to keep up with her. Ever since his wife died, Stone’s put everything into raising his daughters and dodging the Christ Church Ladies’ Auxiliary matchmakers. And it’s clear Lark has been through some trouble and could use a place to finally call home. I only hope Stone can let go of the past soon enough to keep her . . .

Goodness, I need to stop talking and finish up Jane’s highlights so we can make the town tree-lighting. You come back by because the Cut ‘n’ Curl’s got hot rollers, free coffee, fresh-baked Christmas cookies-and the best gossip in town.

See you real soon,
Ruby Rhodes

South Carolina and pine trees swaying in the wind.

Lark Chaikin’s plan (er, challenge) is a bit quirky, but reflects her late father’s desires. And, Sheriff Stone Rhodes is not unsympathetic, but the law is the law. The two are on opposite sides from the start. And lets face it: Stone Rhodes is about as unbending a lawman as one can imagine. However, both our main characters are complex and interesting people, and though they seem plainly at odds, both surprise us. Lark is sophisticated, but at heart, there’s a country girl, with a genuine feeling for a people. She is also determined to solve what starts as a minor mystery. Stone has that tough exterior you’d expect of a lawman; but there is a lot going on inside. His own grief makes him both less sociable but more understanding.

Almost by accident, they find they have a common goal in discovering the truth about a specific important event in town.

The community is thoroughly involved from the start. Folks take sides, doubt one another, question the facts. Gossip takes off … and though you want to believe in charming little southern communities, we find out pretty quickly that even at the holidays, you can’t count on the clichéd charming community to help out overall.

Ms. Ramsey’s writing style is straightforward and unobtrusive. Conversations are believable and move things right along. One or two changes in point-of-view were a tad abrupt, but (recognizing this is a personal bugaboo) I suspect this will not dismay most readers. The secondary characters also do certainly move things along – young David’s romance with Lizzie is a whole entertaining side, and past loves come into it too. There is also that touch of ‘magic’ any good Christmas story needs – an angel to oversee them all. Although Last Chance Christmas is a series, you don’t need to have read any of the previous novels to thoroughly enjoy this one.

Somehow, despite disagreements, expectations and whole-town angst, not to mention a troubling investigation, Ms. Ramsey will still make us feel the heartfelt charm of it all, and leave you happily in the spirit of Christmas. From the swaying pines through a myriad of decoration all the way to the pageant, this book has everything.

My recommendation: Curl up with this book and a nice batch of frosted cookies. On another note: Cover designer went over and above on this one: Colors and design are completely perfect; Last Chance Christmas will make a lovely gift — for Christmas or any time of the year.

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