Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Hometown Girl

Hometown Girl (Chesapeake Diaries - Book 4) by Mariah Stewart 

Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: Paperback, 384pp
ISBN-13: 9780345531216
ISBN: 0345531213

(Received for an honest review from TLC Tours)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Mariah Stewart on the WEB: website, facebook

Excerpt from Hometown Girl


Life was always just about perfect for Brooke Madison Bowers. She was the prettiest, most popular girl in small-town St. Dennis, Maryland, a prom queen, local pageant star, and the pride and joy of her loving parents. She even married the man of her dreams. But the promises of happily ever after fell to pieces when her husband is killed while serving in Iraq. Brokenhearted and longing for the solace of better days, she returns to the idyllic world of St. 
Dennis, and the familiar comfort of the family farm. Surrounded by her supportive family and friends, she's determined to build a new life, complete with her own cupcake bakery. She's equally determined never to fall in love again.

For Jesse Enright, life has been a challenge. A fourth-generation attorney, he's spent years fighting to escape the shadow of his irresponsible father. Now he's moved to St. Dennis to run the family law practice, and he's ready to find the right girl, get married, and settle down. But his carefully laid plans go out the window when he meets Brooke and finds himself caught between the unbreakable law of attraction and Brooke's resolve to go her way alone - despite the undeniable feeling Jesse stirs in her. But just like catching lightening in a bottle, is it possible to fall head-over heels, heart-and-soul in love all over again?

Hometown Girl, the fourth book in The Chesapeake Diaries series written by Mariah Stewart is a heart warming contemporary romance that is both current and entertaining. Stewart is able to capture the sense of community and small town culture that will put readers in mind of authors like Debbie Macomber and Sherryl Woods. Hometown Girl is the story of the most popular girl in school, who returns to her childhood home in St. Dennis, Maryland after her world is turned upside down by the death of husband a soldier, who lost his life in Iraq. 

Though this is the fourth book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand alone. The author is able to impart the necessary back story without making the reader feel lost, left out or overwhelmed with too much information. Stewart does an amazing job of fostering community and the small town spirit that has made this series so successful even from the first pages of the book. St. Dennis is a small seaside town with lots of colorful local characters that readers will quickly fall in love with. The setting is so much a part of the book that it is in itself almost a character in the story. This is a town that readers will want to live in and I think that is essential to making a long standing series work. It has to be a world that readers identify with and a place that makes them feel comfortable and this is certainly Stewart's forte.

The main characters in Hometown Girl are well developed and show a lot of growth throughout the book. When readers first meet Brooke she is a bit dispirited. It has been two years since the death of her husband, yet she has been unable to move on with her life. Now that she is back in St. Dennis readers will begin to see that this is where Brooke is in her element. She has the support of family and friends and can start to create a new niche for herself, a new story. Though Brooke obviously has some issues where her love life is considered she is an endearing character that will easily steal the heart of readers. As she begins to open herself up to the possibility to finding love again, readers will feel her pain and her joy and relish the fact that joy does come in the morning, after grief there can still be happiness.

Jesse is a very good counterpart to Brooke. Jesse's life was never the cookie cutter style existence like Brooke's was. He comes a family of lawyers and readers will pick up on his competitive nature from the start. He is handsome, intelligent and sees something in Brooke that brings out his protective nature. Throughout the book readers will see Jesse grow into his own person. Through his relationship with Brooke he learns a lot of patience and perseverance. And when the story comes to a close readers will see a very different man, one who is willing to fight for what he wants and take someone else's feelings into account above his own. I liked the fact that author allows both character to flourish and grow separately even as the grow closer together. It came across as very honest and heart felt.

There is nothing I can look to in this book that caused me concern or made me think, that could never happen. It was very realistic and current. The fact that Brooke's husband was killed in Iraq, gave the book a very timely feel. This isn't a contrived situation. There are many woman and men facing the world without that support of those they love because of the War on Terror and I think readers will embrace Brooke's situation. It is definitely something to draw the reader in and create sympathy for the heroine and I think readers will appreciate the author's approach to something that hits close to home on several fronts.

I am a huge fan of heart felt romances. This one is very clean and doesn't use a lot of sexual situations or suspenseful circumstances to bring about the conflict in the book. Brooke's conflict is within herself and addresses the question of whether or not it is possible to find true love twice in a life time. After reading this book, I would have to say yes!. I recommend it to mainstream romance readers who are looking for a great book to curl up with this fall, especially since the timing of the book coincides with the season. This is one to savor before the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a weekend to read.

Hometown Girl is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of twenty-nine novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A native of Hightstown New Jersey, she lives with her husband and their dogs amid the rolling hills and Amish farms of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she gardens, reads and enjoys country life. She is currently working on the next book in her bestselling Chesapeake Diaries series.


There will be a giveaway for one copy of Hometown Girl by Mariah Stewart, which will go to one winner here at Debbie's Book Bag! 
~ You must be Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US and Canadian addresses only!
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST November 1st.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation to the author on THIS post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Ammy Belle said...

Jesse sounds like an interesting character - I love to read about competitive people, since I am compeetitive myself.


Ammy Belle
apreiraorama @ gmail . com

CrystalGB said...

Sounds like a great read. I love the cover.

Martha Lawson said...

really good!

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

lag123 said...

I want to read more about Jesse! I love Mariah's books.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Theresa N. said...

I always enjoy this authors books.
Theresa N

Karen B said...

I like that it is contemporary - so many families and lives are affected by the Iraq war.

Tore said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I can't wait to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

holdenj said...

I'm glad to hear it can stand alone, I haven't read any of these particular Stewart books yet. Thanks for the great peek into the story.

Margaret said...

I always love being won over by a cover first and then the story. Thank you for the giveaway and much success with the book!

mamabunny13 said...

Hi Mariah! I'm looking forward to reading this book (and series)!
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Di said...

I love a book like this for a nice, cozy read!

sallans d at yahoo dot com

Karen T said...

Thank you for the giveaway.

Natalie's Mama

Karen T said...

Thanks again, forgot me email.

Pat L. said...

Thanks for giving away this book; have been looking forward to reading it.


ann said...

this is a book that I would enjoy reading enter me please

amhengst at verizon dot net

Helen L. said...

Thanks for the great giveaway.

Joanne V. said...

Thanks very much for the nice giveaway.


Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

winnie said...

This sounds like a fantastic read. Thanks for the giveaway!