Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “The prize wasn’t to live a perfect life but only to survive the times between the perfect moments that come along…“
In Chance of a Lifetime, we are once again submerged into the captivating and extraordinary lives of the residents who call the fictional town of Harmony, TX. home. Dreams, hope, and second chances are all given voice in this installment as we encounter love from the past, the present, and the future.
Emily Tomlinson, the town librarian, is the survivor of a brutal attack. She unconsciously blames her former best friend, Tanner Parker, for not being there when she needed him most. Tanner, a loner, has only his business and the caring for his ill mother to fill his life but he finds himself remembering his friendship with Emily and begins to slowly work his way back into her life; hoping that the feelings they had for one another in the past are only buried and not completely gone.
Rath Matheson, a small time lawyer, is struggling to make his business a success. When a series of accidents leaves him seriously injured, Rath begins to wonder if being a lawyer is worth his life. Rath’s luck changes when Trace Adams arrives in town. Claiming to be the niece of Martha Q and needing a place to stay, Rath finds his body under her fierce protection as she begins to investigate his “accidents.” As Rath and Trace spend more time together, Rath begins to wonder who will protect his heart from breaking when she leaves.
Jodi Thomas’s Harmony series is like receiving letters from home. Brimming with gossip, news of family, and well wishes; you find yourself waiting with anticipation for the next letter to arrive. A smoothly written romantic contemporary that digs deep beneath the facade of a small town and reveals the love, laughter, pain, and heartbreak that resides within. Romance, friendship, and secrets all intertwine and revolve around one another as old and new friends try to find the strength to live and love in the best way they know how. As the story unfolds we are shown the strength of the human heart and it’s capacity to love, learn, and forgive. While the main character of the series, Regan, does not play a role in this installment, other characters who we have come to love are prevalent and we even meet some new residents who show the same capacity to hold our attention and hearts.
Mystery, suspense, and surprising revelations builds a solid storyline in this installment, creating an intriguing read that fills you with strong emotions as you watch those you have come to love fight through the pitfalls of life. Both storylines build slowly and allow us and the players involved to deal with and heal past issues that have frozen them emotionally. Ms. Thomas continues to create multi dimensional characters, expanding and evolving their lives and the world they live in. Not one of them is perfect though each one is a vibrant personality that takes command and dominates the scenes they are in. Ms. Thomas has such a wonderful gift for creating memorable and witty characters. She writes with such intimacy that we are instantly drawn back into their lives as if we never left. These are folks you can find anywhere. They are your friends and loved ones. I like we aren’t promised a happily ever after. The story always leaves off with the promise of more to come and that works because no ones lives are ever over at the words, ” The End.”
I enjoyed seeing glimpses of various town residents from past stories. Ronnie is still growing and seems to have shattered the bonds that tied her to her mother, Dallas. We learn she has a secret and I look forward to learning more about it. I can only hope it involves who I think it does. Bigg, his brother Bran, and Bigg’s roommate are continuing to grow into their own and expanding beyond what the town expects of them. Bits and pieces of all the town residents make their way into the story, which rounds it out beautifully and left me satisfied. Martha Q, one of my favorite characters in the book, is still around and butting into everyone’s business, though she, like Regan, takes a firm seat in the back of the car for this ride.
I only had one problem with this particular installment and that involved Rath’s story. I found the reasoning of the villain behind his accidents to be frivolous after the seriousness of the plot. It was disappointing. That is the reason I gave a B+ instead of my usual A for this series.
This series continues to enchant and delight me and I recommend it to everyone who wants a small town contemporary series with realistic characters, charming romances, strong friendships, and interesting lives that will have you waiting anxiously each new visit. Even though this could be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading the first in the series, Welcome To Harmony. This is a continuation and is written as such.
Overall Rating: B+