How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can’t draw her interest.
Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways. Could she truly be in love with him? And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?
In her gentle and textured style, Ann H. Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip your heart and stir your spirit. Fans of Gabhart’s Angel Sister will love seeing Kate Merritt all grown-up, as well as other characters they have come to love.
Small Town Girl is the sequel to the charming Angel Sister which came out in 2011. Five years have passed and the Merritt sisters are growing up. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that a certain Lorena Birdsong is still a part of the family; I think fans would have complained if she wasn’t because her story is certainly very compelling. This is a sequel in the truest sense of the word. Events from the previous novel are often mentioned in passing so I definitely advise reading that one first. I saw a couple of complaints that the writing in Angel Sister was immature. To be honest, I only saw that when Kate was the focus. Kate is now older and therefore the writing is deeper.
In Small Town Girl we have the best man and bridesmaid hook up at a wedding scenario, except it’s a time when people tended to be more discreet about such matters. Anyway, the best man meets the bridesmaid, and is intrigued by her. For once, he isn’t interested in playing the field or accepting offers from willing women. Jay wants to get to know Kate – and her adorable little sister – much better, and he’s willing to stick around in order to do so. He knows he’s not right for Kate – he’s a drifter, he’s not a Christian – but he can’t help it. He even tries leaving town but finds himself unable. What he does know is that should war be declared, he’ll be enlisting. Kate knows he’s a charmer, but believes she can resist Jay’s advances until she comes to the realization that she’s fallen for him. The two grow closer, but a series of incidents on a traumatic day causes Jay to leave the place he’s come to love and he doesn’t leave a forwarding address.
In some ways, the plot is fairly typical. Boy meets girl, likes girl, convinces girl she likes him, has a misunderstanding with said girl, leaves, and then finds he needs something to fill the clichéd emptiness in his heart. But there are two things that stand out from that scenario. First, it’s 1941. Even if Pearl Harbor wasn’t mentioned in the back cover information, you’d expect it to play a part once you knew the setting. Secondly, there is an excellent cast of characters supporting Kate and Jay. Even the aged hunting dog, Poe, who I firmly believe is a Beagle even though we’re never told his breed, is a delight to read about. As for the ending, well, sometimes a small town girl has to step into the big wide world to get what she wants, and that’s what brought the tears to my eyes.
Thank you to Revell for my free copy of Small Town Girl, which I received in exchanging for writing and posting an honest review on the book.
Publisher: Revell ( a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 01 July 2013
Page Count: 400