Last January I reviewed the audio version Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart, noting that I had been thoroughly drawn into the life of the Merritt family, especially middle sister Kate and the abandoned little girl Lorena Birdsong. I also liked the eccentric village residents whose past lives add depth and interest to the story. Although the book ties up nicely and can certainly can be read as a stand-alone, I was delighted to see that Gabhart had written a second novel centered around the Merritt sisters.
As Small Town Girl opens, it is clear that several years have passed. It is 1941 and oldest sister Evie has just married the young preacher Mike who replaced the girls' grandfather at the church. Kate is nursing a case of loneliness as she realizes that she will actually miss sharing a home with Evie. Under the loneliness is also a thread of jealousy as Kate can't quite put aside her childhood crush on Pastor Mike. Then she catches the attention of Jay Tanner who has swept into town to be Mike's best man.
Jay, who has never set aside the feelings of his own childhood abandonment, feels an instant kinship to young Lorena Birdsong. And he knows he is falling hard for Kate, but isn't sure if he can put aside his wandering ways. As World War II threatens, Jay would like to make a commitment, but feels unworthy.
While Angel Sister is more a story about community, family, and coming of age, Small Town Girl
definitely towards the romantic, although Jay's personal story goes deeper than simply being the male romantic lead. I strongly encourage readers to meet the Merritts and Rosey Corner in Angel Sister before picking up Small Town Girl.
I received a e-copy of Small Town Girl from NetGalley for review purposes. All opinions are mine.
Check out this link if you would like to learn more about these titles and other books by author Ann Gabhart.