Molly Canaday wishes she could repair her life as easily as she fixes cars. She was all set to open her own body shop in Last Chance when her mother ran off and left her to manage the family yarn shop instead. Now guided by the unsolicited-though well-intended-advice of the weekly knitting club, Molly works to untangle this mess. But her plan unravels when the new landlord turns out to be difficult-as well as tall, dark, and handsome.
Simon Wolfe returns to quickly settle his father’s estate and then leave Last Chance for good. Still wounded by a broken heart, Simon is surprised when the town’s charming streets and gentle spirit bring back good memories. Soon the beautiful, strong-willed Molly sparks a powerful attraction that tempts him to break his iron-clad no-commitment rule. Can Simon and Molly find a way to share work space-and build a future together in Last Chance?
I have mixed feelings about The Last Chance Knit and Stitch. In the first half of the book, Molly behaves like a teenager despite being in her twenties. She’s perpetually angry, resentful, and rebellious. While she does have some legitimate reasons to be mad (particularly at her mother), Molly seems to always be looking for reasons to be angry or resentful. Frankly, it got old very quickly, and I almost put the book down.
I stuck it out, though, in part because while I could see where things should end up, I couldn’t for the life of me see how. And eventually, the characters as well as the plot began to draw me in. Although there was too much holding things in on the part of both main characters, as Molly began to grow up and Simon began to loosen up, I began to connect more with both of them. By the last half of the book I was finally rooting for them to get together. The turning point for me was a scene by the river, when Simon dares Molly to go skinny-dipping. It’s funny but also revealing; they’re both being truer to themselves and at the same time, more vulnerable.
Some of the secondary characters were a stitch. I loved Miriam, with her uncanny matchmaking forecasts. Simon’s gay assistant, Angel, is adorable (if slightly characactured), and Zeph, the Vietnam vet, is mysterious and fey. I didn’t quite buy the budding romance between Molly’s best friend Les and another woman, which came across as too abrupt, but it was sweet anyway.
There were some missed moments — more could perhaps have been made of Simon’s unfortunate childhood experience involving the Raintrees, for instance. A sudden late-chapter complication comes literally out of nowhere; there was no foreshadowing, and the only thing that kept it from feeling totally manufactured was that similar things really do happen in real life.
Ramsay lays the ‘Southern’ on with a trowel, but it’s authentic and affectionate. Her depictions of the small, economically-recovering South Carolina town and its residents are one of the novel’s strengths. I also applaud her for not taking the easy way out and turning Molly into more of a girly type; instead, Molly stays true to herself and her interests even as she matures, takes more responsibility for her life, and learns to deal with her family as an adult. She is, by the end, a complex, interesting and very likeable individual. I’m not sure we get to know Simon quite as well; he remains more reserved than Molly even as he opens up to her and to us. He’s a decent and principled man, one who has been deeply hurt but finds both healing and courage, leading to a satisfying ending for the book.
Rating: 3 stars
Category: Contemporary small-town romance
Series: Last Chance #6
Publisher: Forever (Hatchett Book Group)
Release date: Nov. 19, 2013
Book source: review e-ARC from the publisher
About the author:
Hope Ramsay was born in New York and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. Hope earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Buffalo, and has had various jobs working as a Congressional aide, a lobbyist, a public relations consultant, and a meeting planner. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart, and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.
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