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Feature book: The Talk of the Town

7 January 2015

The Talk of the Town by Carolyn Butler

Cedar Dell is a small town. The Turner family has a large influence within the community with the core family and the cousins. There appears to be very strict moral rules that members of the town are subjected to, especially the girls in the core Turner family. It was at times difficult to grasp the contemporary nature of these stories as at times it felt like it was set in latter times (as in decades ago). In terms of its genre fit, I would expect the stories would be considered a sweet. Nevertheless, having read many sweet stories, I think at times the stories struggled between sweet and old fashioned. Following are the stories of the three girls. Each of these is an individual short story.

EllaElla

Ella Turner has been in love with Sid for the longest time. When she was younger she said she would marry him but he returns a scarred man. Sid arrives in time for her grandparent’s 50th anniversary party. He has been at war and has been injured. He is reluctant to be involved with the family and Ella is disappointed her love wants nothing to do with her. She works hard on the farm and doubles the efforts to rid herself of what she feels. Until Sid finally sees her.

LillyLilly

Lilly Turner manages her father’s bar. One day a stranger appears and is happy to stay and work for room and meals. He will complete all the handyman projects. Jack is immediately interested in Lilly and takes his time to seduce her while Lilly tries to keep him at arm’s length. A turning point for Lilly is when Jack deals with the locals who often bully their way into the bar. Her cousins have a new respect for Jack. Naturally, Lilly is conflicted when Jack appears to notice one of the local women and Simone appears to be interested in Jack. When Lilly’s father returns, he demands an accounting of her recent decisions. It is at this time that Jack spills his secret and says that he loves Lilly.

KateKate

Kate Turner is the local school teacher and principal. She is recently engaged to Owen. But she had a summer romance and Tanner, the object of her summer romance, re-appears newly divorced and with his son. Kate needs to deal with his son who is a constant disruption to the school community. In this she also has to deal with the father. She is engaged but has feelings for Tanner and does not love her fiancé. She also believes that Tanner is in the town to marry Simone (yes from the previous story). Kate and Tanner need to work through their issues to find their happy ever after.

Reviewed by Heather

Review copies of these novellas were provided by the author.

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