Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay

The Basics:
Inn at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay
Book 11 in the Last Chance series (if you count books in which novellas have appeared)
Published April 29, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

Pie-baking, ghosts and a writer - all sounds good to me. I really am a sucker for any book featuring writers or books. The cover reminds me of Sheryl Woods/Fern Michaels/Susan Mallery/Robyn Carr type books, so I guess I should expect something along those lines....


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?

My thoughts:

Inn at Last Chance is a sweet, gentle sort of contemporary romance. This book falls much closer to the Christian romance end of the spectrum than the erotica end, which is fine in theory.

In practice, this book was an odd combination of ghost story, contemporary romance and small-town mystery. Something didn't quite work for me, and I can't quite put my finger on what. 

While Jenny was painted as a small-town girl, unworldly, a little naive perhaps, with a big heart and an emphasis on cooking her way into a man's heart, Gabe was a grouchy, self-contained grump of a man, repressing a heartbreaking memory from his childhood. All of this works for the set-up for a romance, of course, and I didn't really have a problem with these two together (or dancing around being together). But I think the book tends to reach towards the Gothic with the ghost story elements and dark childhood bit, while the romance stays kind of the lighter side?  There's an imbalance here, for me.

This book has some sweet fade-to-black scenes, nothing over the top on that front, so if you're looking for something lighter on sex, than this could be your book.

I was bothered by the small town mentality - particularly since Gabe is technically one of the town's own, having grown up there. The narrow-mindedness irked me, as well as the attitudes about husband-hunting. 

I think, really, this was just not the book for me. It was probably too far on the sweet side without enough snark to suit me.  

Bottom line:

I could take or leave this one. There were some moments that I really liked, there were others that I really did not. Overall, it was a bit too emphatic on the small town / unworldly woman with a big heart for me, but I can see how it would have its appeal. 

3 stars
For fans of Fern Michaels, Sherryl Woods, contemporary romance, innocence, small town romances

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