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 bi 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?
"I'm saying if you do what you were made to do, then you'll find the peace you've been looking for. You can't work for it, you know. You just have to rest in it." (p 279)
A tumultuous quest for peace is at the heart of Hometown Girl and this quote really settled into my heart. Love that last line -- "You just have to rest in it." And isn't that hard? It shouldn't be, but it is. Especially for this hero and heroine.
Beth is...well, complicated. And, honestly, I didn't connect with her at first. In fact, I found her downright annoying. I was much more of a Molly fan (her effervescent younger sister.) I was ear-to-ear grinning whenever Molly showed up in a scene and I'm hoping we get her story someday! (Though I don't see any indication that Hometown Girl is part of a series. A reader can hope, can't she?)
But I digress -- back to Beth, who isn't nearly as fun as Molly but we all can't be pie-in-the-sky kind of people, can we? Some of us need to be pragmatic and hardworking and dependable. Not bad qualities to have but boring without a whimsical balance of...something! And Beth is steeped in dour when we first meet. She is such a tightly-wound worrier that my stomach was in knots whenever Walsh took us into her point of view.
But that's the beauty of this story...it's the magic that happens as, in spite of herself, Beth begins to loosen up. When she does, she's finally able to 'let go and let God' and it's such an ecstatically freeing feeling that I was floating in giddy spirals right along with her! Powerful lessons here and so true to life!
And then there's Drew. I fell for him in a nanosecond -- maybe even faster. Cowboy with a tortured soul and an affinity for animals. Need I say more? He's stuck in the past, unable to get over a traumatic event from his childhood.
So we have two rather lost souls who might still be floundering without the lively and loving input of Willow Grove's citizens. Friends, family, animals -- even a dilapidated old farm -- conspire to ease a way to the kind of happily-ever-after that I adore. I particularly love Birdie -- a sage, quirky eccentric who isn't afraid to speak the truth. We all need a Birdie in our lives to keep us humble. :-)
An emotional romance (that's sure to kick your air-conditioner into overdrive in a few places!) paired with a decades old mystery and the zany warmth that is small-town living make Hometown Girl one for the Keeper Shelf!
PS Cutest cover ever! And I want those boots!!!
If you would like a chance to win a copy of Hometown Girl, leave a comment below or email me at kavlvustreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 1 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!