Fritz Hudson dies, his childhood friend and attorney Peter
Wheeler informs Fritz’s three daughters of their father’s
will. There, Allie and Des Hudson discover they have a half-sister,
Cara. Cara learns that her father was not divorced when he
married her mother. An awkward situation, especially when
they learn they stand to inherit significant funds, but only
if they work together to restore an historical Art Deco theater
in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. They can all use the money,
but have only one year. Even so, Cara leaves her yoga studio
in capable hands, Des hopes to open an animal shelter, and
Allie wants resolve her debt problems with the funds.
They all arrive at Fritz’s family home in Hidden Falls,
Pennsylvania, and Cara meets her father’s sister, Barney,
who is open and friendly. While Cara and Des get along from
day one, Allie is distant. She also has a drinking problem
and obviously misses her daughter, Nikki.
The Last Chance Matinee is a wonderful novel with
interesting characters and intense inter-personal relationships
from the onset. I could sympathize with Cara and Des, but
Allie’s distance was hard to connect with, until optimistic
Nikki arrives and Allie’s personality starts to show.
As they search through old records and photos, intent on repairing
the theater, they seek to better understand their father.
More importantly, they slowly learn to trust each other, which
provides an emotionally satisfying read. I especially love
the revelation of Barney’s past and why the townsfolk
admire the older woman.
This first release, however, focuses on Cara, who has no desire
to get romantically involved, but as she spends time with
Joe Domanski, the hot project manager for the restoration,
she slowly opens her heart. That journey is worth turning
every page. I didn’t want the story to end.
Notes: Mariah Stewart is the New York Times and USA Today
bestselling author of the contemporary romance series, the
Chesapeake Diaries, and 19 romantic suspense novels including
the Dead, Mercy Street, Truth, and Last series.