Title: Third Time Lucky
Author: Karly Lane
Publisher: Arena/Allen and Unwin
Published: 23rd November, 2016
Synopsis: When her marriage ends, December Doyle returns home to Christmas Creek. Will she conquer her fear of heartbreak? A heart-warming novel about betrayal, ambition and the power of love.
After a disastrous marriage, December Doyle has returned to her home town to try to pick up the pieces of her life and start again. She’s also intent on helping breathe new life into the Christmas Creek township, 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 he’s intent on settling some old scores.
As teenagers, December and Seth were madly in love, and seeing each other again reawakens past feelings. But will Seth be able to overcome his destructive anger about the past, and can December conquer her fear of heartbreak to make their relationship third time lucky?
As someone who prefers my romances either as a sub-plot, a smaller part of the story or akin to a Bridget Jones type story, with characters who aren’t quite perfect but like each just as they are, who make mistakes, who have flaws that I can identify with, I found Third Time Lucky to be an interesting compromise between these and the stereotypical romance novels of instant love that are quite popular amongst other readers. I read this one in two nights, so the pacing was good and managed to ensure that the story moved along well, and wasn’t bogged down, but that the importance of the individual and joint journeys, and the goals, weren’t ignored. Nor were the motivations of Seth and December – holding back gave the story an element of suspense.
It is still a romance novel and typically not a genre I would pick up immediately in a bookstore, and likely one I would ordinarily bypass, even though I like to try and give most things a fair chance before judging them I did enjoy the setting – Christmas Creek. It felt like I was in a small town, and each character, supporting or otherwise, seemed to have a few layers and flaws – nothing was perfect and the author managed to write this well.
This was also the first Karly Lane book I have read – and the first time I had heard her name, or seen one of her books. Her writing style is often clear, though in one instance of recalling the past, it felt like it was happening at the same time as the rest of the storyline – though it became clear a few sentences later that it had been a recall scene, so that was okay.
Finally, this would be a wonderful stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift for someone who enjoys romance, or who is just after a new read. It is a quick read, and probably a nice holiday read to take a break from the seriousness of the world.