Two new small-town romances prove there’s life yet in a subgenre that’s often seen as old-fashioned at best, retrograde at worst. With deep emotion, excellent characterization and a sly subversion of tropes, Liza Kendall and Tracey Livesay have created towns we can’t wait to go back to.
Walk Me Home
Small-town romances don’t always have to be all sunshine, and Liza Kendall tugs at your heartstrings right away in Walk Me Home, a story full of characters with depth.
The first in the Silverlake Ranch series by Kendall, a pen name for the combined forces of two award-winning authors, Walk Me Home introduces the readers to the Braddock and Nash families. Willing a family tragedy to stay in the past, Charlie Nash is reluctant to go back to her hometown of Silverlake. Charlie hasn’t seen her ex-boyfriend, Jake Braddock, since they were teenagers, and when they reunite to help out with a circus of a wedding, sparks begin to reignite.
Filled with a cast of supporting characters who range from Jake’s fellow firefighters or Charlie’s ornery grandfather, it’s easy to get lost in the town of Silverlake, Texas. And under it all, Kendall creates a story of redemption and second chances with grace. One of the best things about this book is that it allows the characters to grieve fully and in different ways. Each member of the Braddock and Nash family navigate their grief in ways that help the reader to understand their personalities on a deeper level. Whether it’s Lila Braddock’s boisterous embrace of life or Kingston Nash’s anger, this lends the characters a distinct humanity.
Walk Me Home envelops the reader in Jake and Charlie’s long-buried feelings. Kendall smartly deploys characters’ backstories and uses them to fully flesh out their unique characteristics. The effect is endearing and will have you rooting for Jake and Charlie to figure out if their relationship is worth another shot. As past feelings, both good and bad, bubble to the surface, Charlie and Jake’s moments with each other are a treat to read. With lust that quickly turns into longing, and enough emotions to keep your nose buried deep in its pages, Walk Me Home is an excellent read.
★ Sweet Talkin’ Lover
Tracey Livesay brings the charm with Sweet Talkin’ Lover, the first in a new series that puts a modern spin on the popular small-town genre.
We’re first introduced to Caila Harris, whose yearly girls trip has become a cornerstone of her group of friends. A no-nonsense professional working in the beauty industry, Caila’s life gets turned upside down when she finds herself on assignment to shut down an unprofitable factory in Bradleton, a small town whose charm is only outmatched by that of the rightfully dubbed “Mayor McHottie,” Wyatt Bradley.
Her grandfather’s death has knocked Caila off her game in the workplace, even with a promotion on the horizon. Caila’s plans go further awry when Wyatt and the people of Bradleton set out to show her the magic of their small town. Soon, Caila finds herself for falling for more than Bradleton's quaint shops and fall festival.
Livesay crafts a grand adventure in a small package. Unlike many small-town romances, Livesay drops a believable, modern day heroine into reader’s laps. Reading about the adventures of a black woman in small-town Bradleton as she navigates between her head and her heart is wondrous. Livesay delivers excellent descriptions of Caila’s and Wyatt’s surroundings that will make even the most die-hard city slicker yearn for the simple life.
As sweet as small-town life can be, Livesay also knows when to turn up the heat. Wyatt and Caila’s attraction to one another simmers and boils over as they grow closer to each other. Readers will feel the intensity of their mutual attraction build through Livesay’s skillful, playful banter and evocatively written longing between the two. With a diverse cast of characters who propel the story forward and an enchanting look at a modern small town, Sweet Talkin’ Lover is a triumph.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Go Behind the Book with Liza Kendall.