Monday, 27 July 2020

Romance Settings – Small Towns

The Joys and Frustrations of Small-Town Living
by Sharon Bryant 

At their best, small towns are places of community support, warmth, acceptance and constancy. Many small towns have a strong sense of tradition. They afford the writer an opportunity to create quirky characters whose idiosyncrasies might not be tolerated in the city.

At their worst, the conservatism of some small-town residents, and the gossip that can grow within small communities can make life extremely difficult for the residents.

All of these factors make books with small-town settings fun to write, and a delight to read. Here are some novels I hope you will enjoy.

The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart

Ellis Chapman is relieved to escape from New York, and reach the small town of St Dennis, on Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. She craves anonymity, and the opportunity for a fresh start. Devastated by the breach of trust of her father and fiancé, and their subsequent convictions, she is grateful to still have one asset, the dilapidated house her mother left her. Ellis just needs to live in it for six months before she can sell it, leave St Dennis and start again.

Cameron O’Connor has a tragic past which he has managed to overcome. He runs a small business restoring houses then flipping them. Cameron has a special association with the house Ellis has inherited, and hopes she will sell it to him, so he can fix it up and live there. He is happy to offer advice and help Ellis to renovate.

The warm, 100-year-old caring spirit of Lily pervades the house. Can she work her magic and create an environment in which Ellis and Cameron might learn to trust again, and maybe even find love?

Summer Secrets at the Apple Blossom Deli by Portia Macintosh

Single mother, Lily Holmes, leaves London with her eight-year-old son Frankie, to open a deli on behalf of her employers in the small coastal town of Marram Bay. She anticipates small-town life will be good for them both, and she must escape the city. The last thing Lily needs is another relationship. Enthused by the prospect of their new life living in a town that will benefit from the deli she will create, and the chance of a better upbringing for her son, Lily is shocked to find they are decidedly unwelcome.

Alfie Barton, the handsome farmer next door, understands what Lily is going through. He returned home to Marram Bay after his father died. Alfie sold the dairy farm part of the farm that belonged to his father, and developed a business selling fruit-infused alcohol. He encountered strong opposition from the conservative locals which he overcame with time and hard work. He is keen to help Lily and Frankie integrate into the community.

Can these two caring people find love?

Portia Macintosh tackles difficult subjects with sensitivity and caring. Her humour makes this novel a delight to read.

Do you enjoy romance novels with a small-town setting? Which one is your favourite?

I love to love: time with friends.

I love to laugh: the best jokes should be shared.

I love to learn: more about the background of the places I visit.


  1. I absolutely adore small-town romances, Sharon! In fact I read 'The Cake Maker's Wish' by Josephine Moon recently, and though it was light on the romance, it fits perfectly into the village atmosphere. Plus, hello, *cake*. Win win! Another sweet series is Kate Hewitt's 'The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite' series, starting with 'A Vicarage Christmas'. Very special. Everything to enjoy in that small village atmosphere. Happily, now I have more suggestions to follow through, thanks!

    1. Hi Miranda, I loved "The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite" series. I felt contented reading about the village and all of the fascinating characters who lived there. Thanks for the other recommendations. More books for my tbr pile.

  2. Sharon you always find such wonderful stories for us to read! Thank you for your post.

    1. Thanks Alyssa. Reading for each blog post, and choosing my favourite books then writing about them is so much fun.

  3. I do like small towns or villages as settings for romances. Thanks for your recommendations, Sharon.

    1. Thanks Enisa. Small towns and villages make such lovely setting for romance novels, don't they.

  4. Hi Sharon! I think the people of small towns are what makes them such a great setting for romance. The gossip. The long-held secrets. These recommendations sound great!

  5. Thanks Marilyn. Like you, I love reading romance novels with small town settings.

  6. Ooh, I confess I am a big city girl but I do love occasionally slipping into a small town. Nora's Chesapeake Bay based series was my gateway to romance and so I'm really keen to take a look at The Long Way Home. Small towns also often seem unusually populated with ghosts!

  7. I adore small town romance! It's a favourite of mine so I'll be adding these to my ever increasing reading pile :) thank you!


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