Small Town Girl

Written by Ann H. Gabhart
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

In Small Town Girl, Gabhart returns to the Merritt family (Angel Sister, 2010). It is 1941, and the three oldest sisters are falling in love. Evie’s marriage to Pastor Mike is straightforward and easy, as is the relationship between Tori and her lifelong friend Sammy. Things are more complicated for Kate, who falls for Mike’s friend, Jay Tanner, a no-good charmer. Jay’s mother died when he was young, and he was sent to live with an uncaring aunt and uncle. Jay has issues with trust, love and religion. Kate, who is good at fixing things for other people, has difficulty fixing her own problems.

Gabhart, who normally has a deft hand at weaving together complicated, intriguing plot lines, here falls a little flat. Kate’s relationship with Jay, who does not pray or believe in God, is the central story. Even the threat of war and the bombing of Pearl Harbor do little to increase suspense. Readers who enjoy following the spiritual struggles of characters may find much to enjoy, but I was sometimes bored. That said, I was happy to peek in again on the Merritt family, Lorena Birdsong, and all the colorful characters of Rosey Corner, Kentucky.