From the back cover...
What happens when your heart is intercepted before you even know it's in play?
The folks in Last Chance, New Mexico, could not be more pleased. Dr. Jessica MacLeod has opened an office right on Main Street and Andy Ryan, the best athlete the little town ever produced, has come home from the NFL to coach the high school football team. Unfortunately, Dr. Jess immediately gets off on the wrong foot with this football-obsessed town 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 goalpost.
Despite having little in common, Jess and Andy find themselves drawn to each other. But when a disagreement over the future of an injured player puts them both on the defensive, it begins to look like this game is over . . .
I really liked Last Chance Hero! It was easy reading and the pages flew by. I had a Mexican food craving for days after reading this book (But that could be the power of suggestion coupled with strong pregnancy hormones!). Regardless, the green chili sauce described in this book made me want to hit every Mexican restaurant within the state. The small town was charming, but the secondary characters did not overwhelm the main storyline.
I could relate to the heroine, Dr. Jessica "Jess" MacLeod, in that I've very little interest in football. (For those of you who have the urge to throw something at me because of that statement, please don't aim for the face. :) ) However, there is a Friday Night Lights/Facing the Giants/Remember the Titans quality to the story that will satisfy football fans, but isn't overdone for those of us who are "weird."
Andy Ryan was a sweet hero. He's the football hero from Last Chance's Glory Days. Due to injury, he retired early and is now coaching the high school football team. Between the town putting tons of pressure on him to reignite the Glory Days and demons he hasn't dealt with from his past, Ryan has quite a bit on his plate.
I was slightly surprised at how easy Jess and Andy's relationship seemed to go until they disagreed over the treatment of one of the football team's stronger players. Even that though seemed to be resolved relatively easy. In my opinion, it was mostly wounded pride that pulled them apart. Which isn't a bad spin because really, if we can get over our wounded pride, more rifts could be resolved.
My only real critique to the story is the spiritual journey for the characters. Most of the reviews that I've read where the reviewer complains about this, they says there was too much. I felt like it was the opposite. Andy's spiritual journey was good, but I just felt Jess' journey wasn't a complete look at the questions and struggles that Christians and non-Christians alike face. She's not a Christian when she comes to Last Chance, and despite the fact that Andy and the majority of her friends are, there are not a lot of conversations about God, and there's not a lot of soul searching on Jess' part regarding this. So it fell like all of a sudden at the end of the book, she understood without having the reflections or the questions that we all go through. A point in the pros column is that the story isn't preachy, which is great because who likes that? That is a helpful quality for new Christians or non-Christians.
Last Chance Hero is the fourth book in the A Place to Call Home Series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand. The story works well on it's own. The bonus of reading the first three books is that you see the previous character's turn up, and that's always fun!
I received a copy of Last Chance Hero by Cathleen Armstrong from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
God bless you guys! See you on September 20th!! :) (Oh, my goodness! Where did September go???)
V. Joy Palmer