Author: Karly Lane
I was on a very tight timeline to get this one read and reviewed, it’s been sitting on my desk a week or so but I picked up a different book to read first then got my Blog Tour date which gave me a week to finish that, read this and review them both. I was worried I would miss my deadline, I shouldn’t have because once I got started it didn’t take me long to get through this captivating read.
Third Time Lucky started life as the Christmas themed novella December’s Wish which was released back in 2013, I remember being interested in the lead up to the release but I never ended up finding the time for it.
Christmas Creek is a small town in the mountains of NSW and it is strongly Christmas themed, but it’s struggling. The local economy isn’t great and many families are struggling. December Doyle has a plan to help put the town back on the map but she needs community support.
December is back in her home town and living in a flat on her parents property after being widowed and left drowning in debt. Slowly she is putting her life back together and working towards clearing her debt, she has two part time jobs in town and is pretty content with the way things are going.
Of course in a small town the rumour mill runs rampant and there is a lot going on. It seems that there’ve been property sales, an old town mansion empty for decades is being renovated and then the really big one… the abattoir is reopening. The decline of the town largely stemmed from the loss of the meatworks so it could be a good thing for the town if it reopens.
Along with all of the changes happening around town the first of the new arrivals is someone well known around town, for all the wrong reasons. Seth Hunter was the resident bad boy as a child and teen, he’s been gone over a decade and his return stirs up all sorts of trouble. Small towns have long memories and sometimes rather large prejudices. Seth may have left town a teen delinquent but the grown man who returns is a successful businessman. The question remains is he back to exact revenge and settle old scores or does he really want to help rejuvenate his home town.
Grudges last a long time in this small town but from the outset we know there is more to the stories than we’ve been made aware of and it takes the bulk of the book for all the secrets to to be unearthed.
Seth was a kid with the misfortune to be born into the wrong family and the town tarred him with the same brush from early on, never willing to give him a chance as a child and always quick to see the worst. The Doyles are a large extended family and December is the first girl in three generations, so she has a lot of people looking out for her and being overprotective. As teenagers Seth and December embark on a clandestine relationship that sees them fall madly in love until Seth is accused and convicted of a serious crime.
December and Seth are both back in town, emotions throughout the town are riding high and it’s clear to them both that whatever they had as teens is still there but can they risk it…
Karly Lane’s story telling is descriptive and evocative and captivates me every time. I could see the little town of Christmas Creek and though I am not quite as enthusiastic about the holiday I could certainly feel the charm of a complete Christmas town all year round. I could feel December’s love of her home town and her desire to bring it back to its former glory.
The characters were complex and multi faceted which meant that though you believed in the good heart of Seth Hunter you always had to wonder, though there was never any doubt that his love for December was pure.
The story is told in the present with the unfolding of events in the wake of Seth’s return. New families, new business and a whole lot of old prejudices; too many in town can’t see past the delinquent teen that left town in a police car to the strong and successful businessman that returns. Yes, anger and revenge fueled his desire to return to his childhood home and prove everyone wrong about him but is it just revenge when his plans do so much good for a town that’s struggling to stay afloat.
We learn about the events that lead to this point through the memories of Seth and December, as the present unfolds we are taken back in time to when the two were madly in love and making plans for their future – until that was no longer an option.
I loved everything about this story and it made me smile, it made me giggle and it had me on the verge of tears more times than I care to remember.
I love a bad boy with a heart of gold and I love a good girl who sees through his facade. There were a lot of interesting layers to this story and a lot of past events that added fuel to the animosity of the present, it’s interesting to sit back and watch how they all play out.
A fantastically heart-warming read in the lead up to Christmas set in a little town where it’s Christmas all year round, even if the Christmas spirit does tend to wax and wane a little through the course of the story. Karly Lane you’ve done it again and I am left wishing that I had more time to go back and catch up on the titles I’ve missed in your back catalogue.
Third Time Lucky is book #62 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.
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