Love Finds You in Last Chance, California by Miralee Ferrell
February 1, 2009
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥ (four out of five)
I was so excited when author Miralee Ferrell contacted me about reviewing her book, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California… hey, I was born there! Wait, not in Last Chance (wouldn’t that be a coincidink?) – in California. Anyway. You might have seen these Love Finds You books traveling throughout the blogosphere. I know I was curious about them because they are all written by different authors but take place in city/states. Here’s the 411 on the Love Finds You books:
The novels in the series – uniquely titled after American towns with unusual but intriguing names – inspire romance and fun. Each fictional story draws on the compelling history or the unique character of a real place… Summerside Press plans to publish at least one novel set in each of the 50 states. Be sure to catch them all!
About the Book:
…life was a constant struggle for most of [Last Chance’s] hundred or so inhabitants. The town’s survival depended on the productivity of the half dozen mines dotting the landscape within a mile or two of town and it was rare to see a wagon roll into the area. Mule teams brought most of the goods, and Alex doubted that a stagecoach or train would ever wend its way up the steep, forested canyon walls or along the dense ridge tops. Last Chance was truly the end of the trail in more ways than one. – page 20
(From Amazon.com) It’s 1877 and Alexia Travers is alone in the world. Her father has died unexpectedly, leaving her burdened with a heavily mortgaged horse ranch. Marrying one of the towns all-too-willing bachelors would offer an easy solution, but Alex has no interest in marriage. Instead, she dons mens clothing and rides the range, determined to make the ranch a success on her own. Help arrives when Justin Phillips, an acquaintance of her father’s, comes to Last Chance with his young son. Justin’s and Alex’s combined effort to save the ranch quickly turns into a fierce competition between cowboy and tomboy. But when disaster threatens Travers Ranch, they must work together to save someone they both love. Can these two independent people learn to depend on God and on each other?
This book is hailed as a “romance novel”. Okay, so I must be a little prejudiced or something because that would immediately discourage me from picking this book up. When I think romance, I think of reading the same story over and over, just with different characters and settings. So if you’re like me, don’t miss out on this because of it’s label! It’s much more than a romance novel.
What I really liked about this book is that the author brilliantly took a potentially-overdone and predictable Western plot (girl trying to make it on her own out in the West, ranch hand comes along and romance blooossoms), added some wonderfully-developed characters, a little mystery and a lot of danger, and kept it unpredictable and fresh. It’s not often I read a Western and am unsure of who the “bad guy” really is. So either authors are making it too easy on us, or I’m akin to Sherlock Holmes and can solve the case in the blink of an eye. Well, apparently I’m not a Sherlock because I was surprised at the end of this one. ;-)
Okay, the characters. I loved Alex. I loved Justin and his adorable little son, Toby. And Aunt Martha and Uncle Joe. Am I missing anyone? Oh! I even had a soft spot for Christy, the victimized saloon girl (and wouldn’t mind hearing her story if a book was ever written about her). I think an author has done his or her job well if you’re thinking about the characters long after reading a book – they were even stronger than the plot I think. I liked that we were given insight into Alex’s deep thoughts and struggles, and not just, “Oh dear, I have a crush on the new ranch hand! What shall I do?”. Okay, she never thought that way – I could actually relate to her character (she was mature and had integrity – just like me! ;-) and was glad she didn’t start fainting at the first sign of trouble. Alex (only Aunt Martha and Uncle Joe can call her Alexia, by the way – whoever wrote that summary above from Amazon is gonna be in trouble) has so much on her plate after her father dies, so many insecurities though she fights hard to hide them. What with the men quitting because they don’t want to work for a woman (and working for the competition), horse rustlers, the townspeople wanting to give her advice (Get married! Oh yes, the answer to ALL our problems!)… at one point someone reminds her not to question herself and tells her it’s vital that she have confidence in her decisions or other people will lose confidence in her. That’s one thing I struggle with and so I can totally relate.
I found little nuggets of wisdom that made me really think throughout this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it would be worth trying some of the other Love Finds You books after this excellent introduction!
Read the Prologue at You’ve Got Books!
Buy the book on Amazon!
Miralee’s Blog (She has the trailer for this book there)
Miralee has another book coming! Read about Finding Jeena.