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?
“For once in your life, what if you did something completely unexpected?”
First, that cover. Is it not adorable? I fell in love with it right away.
Then when I found out that Courtney Walsh based the setting of Hometown Girl on my favorite apple orchard on the planet? I was all in.
And then I started reading … and couldn’t stop. Walsh’s engaging writing voice and beautiful way with words immediately immerses you into the story. Before you know it, you’re mentally stopping off for a pastry at Butler’s where you’ll of course chat with Beth and Callie. You’ll want to wrap your arms through the pages and give Beth a huge hug. You’ll find yourself laughing at Molly’s exuberance – and that rascally sheep! You will probably find yourself craving apple cider in any form – straight, with caramel and whipped cream, baked in a donut, hot, cold, whatever. You may also catch yourself keeping an eye out for Drew’s truck…and yeah, Drew himself.
This is a story that makes you part of the family, part of the orchard cleanup, part of the surprise (and very well-crafted) suspense thread. The scene with Beth and the chapel, the prayer journal – that particularly touched a note in my heart. Such a special & meaningful addition to the story.
She held in her hands the prayers of generations.
But more than anything, I loved the theme of finding yourself & what you were created to do. Birdie’s character not only added a bit of quirk to the story but she also added a heap of homespun – and true – wisdom.
…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.
And can we just talk about Drew and Beth’s first kiss? Whew. Goodness. Still fanning.
There’s something deep down within us, isn’t there, that just wants to be known?
Bottom Line: Hometown Girl is sweet, romantic, witty, and inspirational. A vivid setting, engaging characters, compelling suspense, and a tender theme of purpose and peace. Courtney Walsh has become one of my new favorite authors, and this latest novel reminds me ‘why’ all over again! I really want to read more from these characters and this community. A must-read, no matter the season!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!
KissingBook Level: 4 / Keep those fans and fainting couches handy!
Courtney Walsh is the author of Paper Hearts, Change of Heart, and the Sweethaven series. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright.
Other Books by Courtney Walsh
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