Book Review: Last Chance Hero

29 Sep

UnknownThe inhabitants of Last Chance, New Mexico, could not be more pleased. Dr. Jessica McLeod has opened an office right on Main Street. Andy Ryan, the best athlete the little town ever produced, has ended his short career in the NFL and has come home to coach the mighty Pumas of Last Chance High. Unfortunately, Dr. Jess immediately gets off on the wrong foot 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 home run.

Meanwhile, Coach Ryan is discovering that it’s not easy to balance atop the pedestal the town has put him on. When this unlikely pair is drawn together over the future of a young player–whose gifts may lie in the laboratory rather than on the football field–they begin to wonder if they might have a future together as well.

With the flair that has made her Last Chance books a favorite among readers of contemporary fiction, Cathleen Armstrong draws on the passion Americans have for the traditions of small-town high school football.


Cathleen-Armstrong-hi-res-199x300Cathleen Armstrong is the author of Welcome to Last Chance, winner of the ACFW Genesis Award for Women’s Fiction in 2009 and the first volume in the series A Place to Call Home. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Ed, and their corgi, but her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives.


My Impressions:

Cathleen Armstrong returns to Last Chance, New Mexico in book 4 of her A Place to Call Home series, Last Chance Hero. In this contemporary romance novel old characters are joined by new as the town prepares for a return to the Glory Days of Last Chance football. Small town feel, endearing characters and a budding romance mix together to provide a very satisfying read.

Dr. Jessica “Jess” MacLeod is living her dream of practicing medicine in a small southwestern town. And while everyone in Last Chance is welcoming, they are not flocking to her office for appointments. Andy Ryan is returning to Last Chance after 10 years playing football in college and the NFL. As the newly appointed coach of the high school team, Andy has to battle expectations that may not align with reality. The two hit it off, but Jess doesn’t know anything about football and is not interested in learning. In a town where football is King, can the two find common ground?

Last Chance Hero is the fourth book Armstrong has set in the quaint and quirky southwestern New Mexico town, and I have to say I have not gotten tired of returning again and again. Secondary characters from previous books keep it familiar, and the introduction of new characters keep it fresh. I really liked Jess and Andy. They have a bit of the opposites attract story going on. I can really identify with that. My husband and I have such dissimilar interests its a wonder we ever got past dating! But after 35 years of being a couple with 30 of those years married, I can say that opposites can attract and thrive! Armstrong hits on the secret of success when she creates two characters that have the same goals and values. The football framework is fun — perfect for Fall reading. High School football is big here in middle Georgia, so I could certainly relate to all the hoopla surrounding the Last Chance team. I could also relate to Jess’ preference to a good book in front of a fire instead of sitting on cold bleachers! But Jess is a plucky heroine; her determination to learn more about football produced a few chuckles. Andy is more complex than his jock persona and I enjoyed his unfolding personality and emotions. Relationships are the center of this series, and Last Chance Hero explores the most important relationships — parent/child and God/His people. The importance of a close relationship with God is stressed, but never preachy.

Last Chance Hero can be read as a standalone novel, but the books are so good that I suggest you start at the beginning. An interesting storyline is introduced that I am hoping will be developed more fully in the next book. Each successive book in the series has been my favorite, and this one is no exception. All in all, a great read that I can recommend.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

3 Responses to “Book Review: Last Chance Hero”

  1. Carrie September 29, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    I love these books!

    • rbclibrary September 29, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

      Me too! And I am glad that there will be a book #5!

      • Carrie September 29, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

        ME TOO!!! Yay!!

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