Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Review: Ann Gabhart's "Small Town Girl" is a gentle and quiet love story set in the quaint town of Rosey Corner, Kentucky. While love is blooming, World War II is raging across the ocean and threatening the tranquil haven of the Merritt family. Gabhart captures the fears and sentiments of Americans when the U.S. entered the war following the bombing of Pearl Harbor without actually taking readers into the war zone. The military aspect is light, compared to some other novels that I have read set during the same era. The portrayal of emotions from the perspectives of a future soldier to the loved ones left behind, seem completely authentic and are probably similar to the feelings that veterans in our own families experienced. Gabhart delves into the emotion of the war and integrates it into her love story between the lead characters Kate and Jay.
There were a few times that I sensed a back story involving the Merritt family, and I just discovered that "Small Town Girl" is a follow-up to "Angel Sister." Despite this, I connected with the primary and secondary characters early-on in the novel. It is easy to support a union between Kate and Jay, especially when the irresistible Lorena offers her full support. Kate puts up barriers to their relationship initially which adds love-story style suspense. Once those barriers are mostly removed midway the novel, the plot seems to slow. There is a quaintness in the quiet Rosey Corner life, but it does not always create plot interest. The onslaught of World War II helps the novel to pick-up speed as well as conflict between Kate and Jay. "Small Town Girl" ends on a happy note, but the conflict and resolution could occur sooner to avoid the midway lags.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell, a Division of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Summary from Revell: 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.
“Available July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”