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Number of Pages: 365
Vendor: Waterfall Press
|Publication Date: 2017|
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Walsh returns with a hopeful and emotional new book about seizing second chances, finding yourself, and forging your own path.
Beth Whitaker isn’t supposed to be a small-town girl. She’s always dreamed of leaving Willow Grove, Illinois, for the big city, but she feels trapped, struggling to make up for a mistake that’s haunted her for years. Just when Beth is finally ready to break free, her sister impulsively buys a beloved but run-down farm on the outskirts of town, and she begs Beth to help with the restoration. Reluctantly, Beth agrees to help—and puts her own dreams on hold once again.
Drew Barlow hasn’t been back to Fairwind Farm since he was a boy, and he’s spent all these years trying to outrun the pain of a past he thought he buried long ago. When he learns that the owner has passed away, his heart knows it’s finally time to do the right thing. Returning to Willow Grove, Drew revisits the old farm, where he attempts to piece together his memories and the puzzle of the crime he witnessed so long ago.
Both on a journey to find peace, Beth and Drew are surprised when they begin to experience a restoration of their own. But when long-buried secrets break through the soil and the truth unfurls, will it threaten their budding relationship—and the very future of the farm?
BethErinILAge: 25-34Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Hometown Girl has wonderfully authentic characters and small-town country charm.December 13, 2017BethErinILAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Beth and I get along like two peas in a pod, we both have the planner gene, focused, quiet nature, and a propensity for carrying the burden of guilt.
Drew's nonstop high-octane work ethic would put lesser folks into an early retirement. Another characteristic both characters share is holding people at arm's length and building emotional walls (Drew can build real walls, too! He's a keeper!)
I want to visit the tight-knit community of Willow Grove and charming Fairwind Farm! This setting is intricatelywoven into the storyline and oh so cozy and familiar. I highly recommend this story!
I borrowed this title. The opinions expressed are my own.
IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Romance with a hint of suspenseDecember 12, 2017IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 5Meets Expectations: 4Beth is the sensible one in the Whitaker family, a fact shes reminded of when younger sister Molly shows up announcing shes bought the derelict Fairwind Farm. Molly wants to restore the apple orchard and Christmas tree farm into the centre of the community it used to be. Beth is convinced shell never succeed but somehow finds herself a partner in the venture.
The solitary Drew Barlow is returning to Willow Grove and Fairwind Farm for the first time in twenty years. He volunteers in a community working bee, and ends up being recruited as the farms all-round Mr Fixit. Maybe this will help him remember what happened, help him solve the mystery, help him find closure. Or maybe hell just fall for his pretty yet reserved employer
This is the second Courtney Walsh book Ive read this year.
The first was Just Look Up, which was a romance novel with a deeply symbolic title that made me think on many levels (click here to read my review). Hometown Girl was a little differentit had plenty of romantic and situational tension, but it also had a suspense thread around Drews history with the Fairwind property.
Drew and Beth both had secrets that came out during the story. Drews secret was hinted at from his very first scene, with his reluctance to return to Fairwind, and the knowledge that something bad had happened. His reluctance to revisit the past made his secret feel natural. It helped that he had no memory of the actual event, just the knowledge he was there.
Beths secret wasnt so obvious, but it was something recent, something she knew about, and something she didnt share. It made it feel as though she wasnt a trustworthy character, yet she was obviously supposed to be the heroine. That annoyed me, as it left me feeling conflicted. Was I supposed to sympathise with her, or not? This was probably the weakest aspect of the novel for me.
But this was more than made up for by the rest.
I especially enjoyed by the underlying suspense thread of the mystery over Jesss disappearance twenty years ago. Yes, I would have liked for Drew to fess up to his prior knowledge of Fairwind earlier, but I could see why he didnt. In the end, that aspect of the plot was just plain sad.
It was also good to watch the relationship develop between Beth and Drew, especially the way Beth was able to draw him out. I also enjoyed the minor charactersI do hope this is part of a series, because Id like to see Ben and Callie together, and I wonder who might be right for the flighty Molly.
Overall, Hometown Girl is an excellent contemporary Christian romance. Recommended for fans of Brandy Bruce, Kara Isaac, Melissa Tagg, and Becky Wade. Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Frosty5 Stars Out Of 5Love this book!November 21, 2017FrostyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I've read several of Courtney Walsh's books. This one is my favorite, so far. The journey Beth travels is one I think many readers would relate to. Expectation can be such a road block to what God intends for us. And Drew's story. Wow. Beth may have been the Hometown Girl, but Drew was the broken boy. With a mystery waiting to be solved and delightful secondary characters, this book kept me up past my bedtime. If you enjoy mystery, romance, and small town stories, this is the perfect book to read. I purchased the Kindle edition from Amazon.
lilacqueen755 Stars Out Of 5Cozy with depthNovember 14, 2017lilacqueen75Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5It seems to be common for people, as they are growing up, to wish for what they don't have. Beth dreams of leaving her small town to make it big in the city. And she learns the hard way that plans and dreams don't always work out the way one would hope and expect that they would. She finds herself right back smack dab in the middle of her former life, after a short stint in the city, and just exists. Until her sister, Molly, makes a rash purchase.
Beth and Molly are so different from one another and from what I gathered, they didn't always get along really well because of those differences. Now that they are adults, they are each able to embrace themselves and complement and accept each other in ways they never could have imagined. I love the sibling friendship and camaraderie, as it really felt true to life.
Another element to the book that I loved is Drew. He has a secret and is an enigma for sure. I love how the mystery unraveled, especially since that piece to the story was light and was an invisible force that connected Drew and Beth. It's such a treat to have some depth to their budding attraction.
This is the type of book that really invokes the warm-fuzzy feel goods. The setting is as comforting as a security blanket and the characters are rich, complex, and flawed, with great potential for growth. I was completely drawn into the book and loved it all.
Content: mild romance; mild violence; moderate+ religious elements.
*I received a copy to review, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions.*
RonyaRiverside, CAAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh - A Must Read!!October 31, 2017RonyaRiverside, CAAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I absolutely love Courtney Walsh's new book, Hometown Girl. I did not want the story to end. The author has a distinctive way of dealing with very difficult topics in loving ways. She does not sugar coat the issue, try to hide it or gloss over it. Her characters deal with the situations head on and learn about themselves and their Creator in the process.
The characters in Hometown Girl are easy to relate to and you quickly come to care about them and what happens to them in the story. There is a depth to them that makes them feel real. When they are happy, you are happy; when they are sad, you are sad. These are the kinds of characters that you find yourself praying for and then laughing when you realize what you're doing.
Ms. Walsh tackles some really difficult topics in this story...topics that not only cause you to feel for the characters, but also cause you to stop and evaluate your life and where God is calling you to have courage and make some changes. She does an amazing job of weaving in some lighthearted, funny scenes that have you laughing out loud and enjoying the characters.
If you enjoy contemporary romance stories that are authentic and real, this story is for you. I'm already looking forward to her next book. And, I'm really hoping that this heroine's sister and brother get stories of their own in the future.