The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Small Town Girl by Ann H Gabhart

Publisher:  Revel
Release Date:  July 1, 2013
Pages:  400
Small Town Girl by Ann H. Gabhart
About the Book:  In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates in anticipation, 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. Kate's friends are rushing to get married before the boys go off to war. The newspapers talk of women making airplanes and bombs. Everyone in town begins rolling bandages, planting victory gardens, collecting scrap metal. Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways, and when he enlists she can hardly breathe worrying about him getting killed. Could she truly be in love with him? And if she is, will she ever see him again?

In her gentle and textured style, Ann Gabhart tells a timeless story of love, sacrifice, and longing that will grip the heart and stir the spirit. Fans of Angel Sister will be thrilled to see Kate Merritt all grown up. New readers will find that Ann Gabhart weaves in Small Town Girl a beautiful story that will touch their hearts and win their loyalty.

Wanda's Review:  The year is 1941 and Kate Merritt is in love with the man her sister, Evie, was about to marry. Kate had been in love with Mike Champion, a young pastor, since he had filled in at the church after her Grandfather had a stroke five years earlier. Kate had never been in the running. She was just the younger sister.

Jay Tanner enters the scene as a friend of Mike's. He was known as a charmer and had a reputation for leaving a string of broken hearts everywhere he'd been. He was not the settling-down kind and seemed to have a lot of shortcomings. Kate was advised, by Mike, to not get involved with Jay. Even though Kate hadn't wanted to fall in love with him, she'd become lost to his charm and a relationship develops between them.

The war news was not good. The Germans had surrounded Leningrad, the Nazis were occupying France and Poland, ships were going down, bombs exploding, and men were being drafted - bad times were happening. One minute President Roosevelt was promising to keep the United States out of the war and the next he's talking about drafting more young men. Then, the announcement came that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  The news was staggering and it looked like they were in for a long struggle. But life went on in Rosey Corner as the story unfolds in this unique, cozy town.

I've read 3 or 4 books by Ann Gabhart and she is one of my favorite writers. I realize I'm in the minority, but unfortunately this book failed to capture my excitement - it was just lukewarm. The storyline moved too slowly and I found myself skimming through many sections. The tempo did pick up in the final third of the book and I did become more enveloped in the story.

Positive comments - This author definitely has a style of her own with her good old fashioned story telling that is so inspirational - it just gives you a good warm feeling. I especially loved the character of "Birdie" - she just captured my heart. The themes of family love, faith, and forgiveness were effortlessly woven together. And finally, the characters were easy to care for. My rating is 3.5 stars.  
A complimentary copy was provided to me by Revell-NetGalley for an honest review of this book. 

About the Author:  Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. She's published over twenty-five books for both adults and young adults. Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as a Top Ten Books in Christian Fiction by Booklist magazine. Her first Shaker book, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine.