Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

About the Book
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?

My Thoughts
I lost count of how many times someone told me I should read a Courtney Walsh book but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then I met Courtney at CFRR and after hearing her talk about one of her heroes I immediately bought one of her novels. Sadly review books took precedence and it just mocked me from my shelf. But then the was an opportunity to be an influencer for this book and I jumped at the chance!
And boy was everyone right about this author! I was totally sucked into the story from the very first sentence and it held me in its grasp until the very last! I hated putting this book down and quite often found myself thinking about it whenever I was forced to return to reality.
Beth was a heroine I could relate to in many ways, her desire to play everything safe, trying to do everything perfect, and her fear of failure. For a lot of her life she has let these things paralyze her and keep her from really living. I loved seeing her blossom as she let go and gave things over to God, finding her true self in the process.
As for Drew, I loved everything about his character! What he'd had to experience as a child, and the horrendous way the adults in his life handled it, broke my heart and it turned him into basically a shell of a man. The past held him captive and kept him from having any meaningful relationships in the present. But despite all that he was still an amazing guy! He was definitely the strong and silent type but he was also incredibly kind, fiercely protective, and the hardest worker you will ever find.
Both of their journeys to reconciliation with their pasts were hard and beautiful at the same time. The author wrote every heart-rending emotion in such vivid detail that you were feeling them with the characters.
I also loved Beth siblings, Molly and Ben, and would love to get more of both of their stories as well as the mysterious Seth we never got to meet! And the whole small town settting with the farm and orchard was charming and perfect for this story!
The beauty of this book honestly stole my breath at times, it was brilliantly crafted from start to finish and I absolutely adored it! This was my first Courtney Walsh book and it definitely won't be my last, she has fast-tracked her way onto my favorite authors list!

Meet the Author
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Change of Heart is her fifth novel and is set in the same town as Paper Hearts. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing and visual arts studio. They have three children.Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

I received an e-book copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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