Australian · contemporary fiction · romance · rural ficition · small town

Book Review: Third Time Lucky by Karly Lane

Title: Third Time Luckythird-time-lucky

Author: Karly Lane

Published: November 23rd 2016

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 352

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Australian

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

Novella, December’s Wish was published in 2013.

This is the re-release as a full length novel and re-titled Third Time Lucky

After a disastrous marriage, December Doyle is back in her home town of Christmas Creek, trying to pick up the pieces of her life to start again. She’s also on a mission to help breathe new life into the town, so the last thing she needs is trouble.

Bad boy Seth Hunter has also returned to Christmas Creek, and trouble is his middle name. Wrongly convicted of a serious crime in his youth, Seth is now a successful businessman, but his plans for the town are very different to December’s.

As teenagers, December and Seth were madly in love, and seeing each other again reawakens old feelings. But will Seth be able to overcome his destructive anger about the past, and can December conquer her fear of heartbreak to make it third time lucky?

By the bestselling author of Second Chance Town, this wonderful novel is about betrayal, ambition and the power of forgiveness and love.

My review:

Back in 2013, I read a great Aussie novella that immediately got me in the mood for Christmas. December’s Wish, by Australian rural fiction writer Karly Lane, was the name of this novella. A few years and a few books later, Karly Lane has revisited this novella and extended the story into a full length novel, titled Third Time Lucky.

December Doyle leads the story in Third Time Lucky. After ten years away from her home town of Christmas Creek, December’s homecoming is marred with sadness. December has lost her husband in a car crash and learnt that he was cheating on her. To make matters worse, December has also lost her beloved business as a cafe owner. Now in a significant amount of debt, December returns home to start over again. In December’s home town of Christmas Creek, times are tough. The recent closure of the local abattoir is only adding to the struggling local economy. December’s family own a local hardware store and this too is having trouble making ends meet, following the opening of a larger hardware store in the next town. Competition is tough for the residents of Christmas Creek.

Many years ago, town resident Seth Hunter was known as the town’s resident bad boy, shunned by the local community for committing a terrible accident. As a result, Seth left the town in a shroud of controversy. Seth also left behind his first true love December, breaking her heart. Now Seth makes his triumphant return to Christmas Creek, as self-made successful businessman. Seth injects a much needed cash flow into the fledgling town through his business interests. However, what he really wishes to reclaim is December’s heart.

What a joy it was to return to the town of Christmas Creek and reconnect with December Doyle, through the experience of reading Third Time Lucky. I read this book over the Christmas period and I found it was the perfect book to read during the holidays. There is a strong festive theme that runs through Third Time Lucky. The residents, as well as streets and shops are all Christmas themed, these touches really made this book special. I loved the idea of the Christmas festival that December tries so hard to revive, what a fantastic idea!

Besides the strong Christmas theme that runs through Third Time Lucky, there is also a deeply compelling love story. I found this story element to be the driving force behind the novel. It enticed me to continue with the book longer than I expected, encouraging me to read just one more chapter! Lane tackles the love story between December and Seth very well. It is a romance fraught with ghosts of the past, as well as new pressures. This added a sense of realism to the romance side of the novel and gave me a strong vested interest in the final outcome of December and Seth’s relationship.

In addition to the romance in this novel, Third Time Lucky offers the reader a wonderful sketch of a small country township struggling to stay above water. Lane takes the opportunity in this narrative thread to explore the issues hurting small towns such as the fictional Christmas Creek. These include the closure of local businesses, lack of revenue and competition from neighbouring larger towns. I loved the ingenious idea of bringing tourists and economy to the local town of Christmas Creek by the inclusion of the Christmas festival, championed by the main character of December.

In Third Time Lucky, Lane also excels in conveying the feeling of living in a small town community. For the entire length of the novel, I felt completely involved in this somewhat judgemental but supportive community. Lane offsets this with a setting that speaks the country. It is always a true pleasure to be carried away by Lane’s locations and her strong setting descriptions.

Readers will find the characters are a shining light in Third Time Lucky. December is a likeable protagonist, who gleaned much sympathy from me. I appreciated the growth she made as a character. Seth is the perfect leading man, a reformed bad boy, misunderstood, with a big heart to match. Supporting December and Seth are a great cast of secondary characters. December’s Grandma is a character who stood out for me.

Third Time Lucky is book you will want to read over this summer period. It celebrates love, life, new beginnings and making amends. Two loveable leads, a colourful supporting cast and stunning small town backdrop, makes Third Time Lucky a highly recommended book.

Third Time Lucky by Karly Lane was published in November 2016 by Allen and Unwin.

 

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