Thursday, January 5, 2012

HOMETOWN GIRL by Mariah Stewart

Publisher: Ballantine
Date published: September 7, 2011
ISBN: 9780345531216
Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via Publisher

As a teenager growing up in St. Dennis Brooke Madison Bowers put the “mean” in mean girl. She was the class bully who managed to get others to do her bidding. Prom Queen, Queen of this and Queen of that there was only one thing Brooke didn’t get and that was Grant Wyler. Along the way she met and married the man of her dreams. Sadly he went to war and did not return, leaving Brooke a widow to raise their son, Logan. When she returned to St. Dennis she dated, a lot, but there was never a second date. Her brother, Clay, couldn’t help but notice this. Not that Clay can talk—he hasn’t exactly found the woman of his dreams. Not yet anyway.

Jesse Enright comes from a long line of attorneys, attorneys who have long practiced in St. Dennis. Hoping to find his place in the family Jesse came to St. Dennis but his welcome was less than warm. His grandfather gave him one year to prove himself and if he didn’t, he was history. When Jesse meets Brooke making his place with his family becomes even more important.

When Clay sees Jesse’s attraction and the chance for Brooke to be happy again, he gives Jesse some friendly advice—don’t take Brooke. Not to give up on her, but be her friend, play hard to get and he might just have a chance. But is that chance enough to heal the hurts that cut both Jesse and Brooke?

HOMETOWN GIRL is the fourth book in Mariah Stewart’s Chesapeake Diaries series. It is a warm, easy read but nothing spectacular. Like the first three books in the series it is a well told story in a town so charming anyone would want to live there. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about the series is how each female lead brings her own brand to the story be it Vanessa’s Bling or Dallas’ movie studio or Steffie’s Scoop. For Brooke it is Cupcake.

This story, however, read more like a formula. I had a hard time differentiating it from the first three books. Brooke returned home with a broken heart, turned to a business to avoid the heartbreak and meets a man who turns her world around. Not that that is all that different from any romance. In this case it was more like a retelling of the first three books.

I did enjoy reading how the Enright siblings beginning with 1997’s DEVLIN’S LIGHT have grown up and have their own families 14 years later. It’s a treat to catch up with well liked characters. And what is going on with Robert Magellan from the Mercy Street series? There are some marvelous hints about changes in his life in HOMETOWN GIRL. As I mentioned in another recent review, I’ve been waiting patiently for another book to come out in that series.

I’m looking forward to what I hope will be Clay and Lucy’s story as well as seeing Delia Enright back in her own book and the Chesapeake series definitely offers those opportunities.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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