Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Small Town Girl by LaVyrle Spencer

Tess McPhail is a superstar country singer that has returned to her small town after 18-years of making it to the big time in order to care for her mother, Mary. Mary will be having hip surgery and Tess’ older sisters have decided it is her turn to care for Mary.

Tess secretly resents having to give up her busy career to return to small town living. She is also hurt that her mother doesn’t seem to value the gifts that Tess sends and will not let her build her a new house. She almost finds herself a stranger with her mother after so many years. They don’t really understand one another. Tess dutifully helps her mother through surgery and stays for four weeks to help her get back on her feet, literally.

Tess has two older sisters, Judy and Renee. Judy is a hairstylist and has great resentment for Tess and her fame. It doesn’t help that Tess thinks that Judy has let herself go and could stand to lose a few pounds. Renee and Tess get along great, but Renee is busy helping her daughter prepare for her wedding.

Her first night in town, Mary’s neighbor, Kenny Kronek, stops by with salt for the softener. He walks right in and annoys Tess by ignoring her presence. Kenny remembers Tess as a stuck-up high school girl, and Tess remembers Kenny as a klutzy nerd. The two clash at first, but slowly Tess sees how Kenny is an important part of her family’s life and she also loves Kenny’s daughter Casey. Casey has an amazing voice and Tess is determined to help start her career.

Will Tess be able to change her life to keep her family at the heart while maintaining her high profile career? Will Tess be able to find love . . . with the boy next door?
Truthfully I thought this novel was okay, but not the greatest. I feel bad as it is the September FLICKS book club selection and I know a couple people in my book club love this book. I just didn’t fall in love with the romance in this novel.


Tess’s hatred for Kenny at the beginning of the novel felt forced and I didn’t really like them together. I really didn’t like how Kenny has had a girlfriend for eight years, Faith, and she seems to be a wonderful woman. But although Kenny and Casey love her and she is an important part of their life, they seem to have no problem throwing her away for Tess. I did like how Kenny was able to put his business on the back burner to be a part of Tess’s life. I guess overall I didn’t feel the chemistry between the two leads that I would expect in a romance novel. I also am not a country music fan, but I don’t think that lessoned my enjoyment of the novel.


Overall, I thought Small Town Girl was an okay novel. I did enjoy reading it, but didn’t love it. I much preferred Spencer’s Bittersweet to this novel. Am I the only person who didn’t love this book? What are your thoughts if you have read it?

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. Sounds a little formulaic, as in the kind of thing that's been done and done again, so if the characters don't grab you, you're in trouble. I think I'll give this one a miss.

  2. I enjoyed this one when I read it last year, but only rated a 3.5 out of 5. Good but not great.