Stunned by the death of her beloved stepfather Lou, Hallie St. George desperately grieves her loss. Lou had been shot in the chest five times. While investigators dismiss his death as a burglary, Hallie has her own suspicions, confirmed when a friend passes her a key that unlocks the truth regarding corruption and drug dealing. When her ex-husband discovers her with the incriminating evidence, Hallie immediately flees with her young twins in a battered pickup truck, leaving behind bank accounts, her business, and her home.
Living out of a plastic suitcase and cheap clothes does not frighten Hallie. But her inability to care for her children and keep them safe does. While Hallie is long accustomed to independence, the danger threatening her and her children leaves her profoundly alone and vulnerable. When her truck breaks down in a snowstorm, however, misfortune leads her to a community where she will find love and acceptance, and a handsome man by the name of Chance Qualtrough.
Chance immediately suspects that Hallie is on the run. When she refuses charity, Chance suggests a place she can housesit and the waitress of The Last Chance Café offers her a job. Waitressing is a long way from being the chef of her own restaurant, but Hallie gratefully accepts. Soon her heart longs to put down roots in Primrose Creek, but with a vindictive ex-husband determined to find her, Hallie cannot trust her newfound friends with the truth, because the truth could get them all killed.
THE LAST CHANCE CAFÉ becomes a place of redemption and new beginnings with Linda Lael Miller's powerful pen. The vivid characterizations fill the novel with warmth, wit, and sensitivity. Hallie's need for community and connectedness makes her both believable and endearing. Chance gives the novel a deep tie to community and heritage, providing Hallie with the very things that were previously lacking in her life. In addition, Miller's talent excels with the seven year old twins. Whether they are petulant, sassy or charming, they are fully rounded characters. Secondary characters likewise sparkle, especially the wonderful romance between Jesse and the town vet -- a romance they thought they had concealed for thirty years. I confess to being a new fan of Miller's work, and although THE LAST CHANCE CAFÉ is part of an ongoing series, I delighted in reading it as a standalone. Very highly recommended.