Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Last Chance by Sarita Leone

TITLE: Last Chance
AUTHOR: Sarita Leone
PUBLISHER: Whiskey Creek Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 56k)
GENRE: Historical romance
COST: $6.99

Widow Laura Perkins opted to stay in Nebraska after her husband died, but she has given no thought about ever remarrying. Her dead husband still lives in her heart, and she is content with her life, especially since her sister has joined her for company. At least, until Chance DeWitt arrives in Granite Creek, ready to work the ranch his family has owned for three generations…

I am having the worst luck lately in running into stories that lapse into tell not show. I had hoped choosing an author I enjoyed before would counter all that, but unfortunately, that just wasn’t the case.

Though Laura Perkins has been widowed, she stays in Granite Creek, Nebraska, since it was part of her dead husband’s dream. To make her life more bearable, her younger sister Callie Jo comes to stay with her, but it’s another arrival who has caught her eye, the rancher Chance DeWitt. Chance has come out to Nebraska to run the family ranch, and make a success of it one way or another, without revealing the secrets the ranch holds. Their chemistry is strong, and for the first time since her husband’s death, Laura feels something for another man.

The author has a quiet, understated style, both in voice and storytelling, and while it worked well for the first book I read by her, it renders this one difficult to finish. The beginning meanders along, taking its time introducing the two main characters, but almost immediately, Laura suffers. Her sister Callie Jo is far more vibrant and interesting than Laura ever is. The only time Laura seems to have a spark is when Chance shows up. The problem with that is…it takes a while for that to happen. And even then, it’s more the chemistry between the two I’m responding to rather than any depth to their characters.

I would have been okay with this is if the story itself was well written. It’s just not. There are time jumps past pivotal events, with the details coming out afterward in conversation rather than getting shown to the reader. It happens over, and over, and over again, so much so that it got incredibly frustrating. It’s not like a lot even happened. There’s a murder that happens on Chance’s ranch – that we don’t see, but hear about – and one of Chance’s men gets questioned about the murder – that we don’t see, but hear about – and Callie Jo gets kidnapped – that we don’t see, but hear about – and…are you seeing a pattern here? It weakened an already slow story, and the entire thing borders on lugubrious.

In spite of really enjoying the first story I read by this author, this one fails to come close to that standard. Hopefully, it’s anomalous with the rest of the author's work.


6/10 – Though there are nice moments, too much gets told not shown and slows it down dramatically


6/10 – Sweet and strong, though I never felt like I really knew him


4/10 – Not sure what the appeal was, her sister was far more interesting than she was

Entertainment value

4/10 – The slow beginning and then the patchwork tell not show nature of the second half really made this a lugubrious read

World building

6/10 – The environment was well-realized, but I didn’t believe the time period for the most part



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