Title: Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay
Last Chance Series Book Seven
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
“Last Chance captures the essence of Southern charm and quirkiness. I’m totally captivated!” — Sherryl Woods, New York Times bestselling author
Jenny Carpenter is the unrivaled pie-baking champion of Last Chance, South Carolina’s annual Watermelon Festival and the town’s unofficial spinster. With her dream of marriage and children on hold, she focuses on another dream, turning the local haunted house into a charming bed-and-breakfast. But her plans go off course when the home’s former owner shows up on her doorstep on a dark and stormy night . . .
Mega-bestselling horror writer Gabriel Raintree is as mysterious and tortured as his heroes. His family’s long-deserted mansion is just the inspiration he needs to finish his latest twisted tale, or so he thinks until he learns it’s been sold. The new innkeeper proves to be as determined as she is kind, and soon Gabriel finds himself a paying guest in his own home. As Jenny and Gabe bring new passion to the old house, can she convince him to leave the ghosts of his past behind-and make Last Chance their first choice for a future together?
Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay is a charming addition to her Last Chance series. In this delightfully homespun romance, new B&B owner Jenny Carpenter clashes with gruff author Gabe Raintree when he returns to town to work on his current novel.
Jenny is sweet and good-natured and although she can be a bit of a pushover, she easily resists Gabe’s offers to repurchase his old family home from her. Having had her heart broken recently, she is focusing all of her attention on completing the finishing touches on the B&B. Jenny is a nurturer and she is well-suited for her new endeavor but she sometimes has difficulty asserting herself. It is very gratifying to see her finally stand up for herself when her friends and some of the townspeople try to force her to do what they think is best for her.
In the beginning, Gabe is so grumpy and demanding that it is difficult to like him. He is intensely private and getting to know him is nearly impossible. Gabe is very troubled by his inability to remember the circumstances surrounding his brother’s long ago death and he refuses to heed the ominous warnings to leave town.
Gabe and Jenny’s relationship is adversarial right from the start and it stays that way for much of the novel. They are attracted to one another and while Jenny tries to woo Gabe with her tempting cooking, Gabe resists her efforts. They do eventually form an uneasy alliance as they try to uncover the truth about the ghostly shenanigans that are plaguing them.
While the overall plot is quite interesting, the pacing is a little slow. Although Inn at Last Chance is well-written, the dialogue is occasionally stilted and certain parts of the storyline are a little repetitive. The characters are well-developed but certain aspects of their behavior are frustrating. Gabe’s history is revealed in bits and pieces so it is not easy to put his attitude or actions into context. Jenny takes her Southern upbringing and values so seriously that in an effort to avoid conflict, for much of the novel, she won’t stand up for herself.
The storyline is interesting and engaging. The ghostly presence is quite intriguing and although a little mischievous, the ghost is also helpful. Gabe has mostly ignored a tragic and defining moment from his childhood and he finally comes to terms with long ago events. Jenny embraces her single status, makes a few changes and finds the courage to go after what she wants without any expectation of what may or may not come next.
Despite a few issues, Inn at Last Chance is an entertaining addition to Hope Ramsay’s Last Chance series. It is the perfect combination of intriguing mystery, paranormal elements and understated romance that old and new fans will enjoy.