The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg

  • the-whole-towns-talking-1129Title:  The Whole Town’s Talking: A Novel
  • Author:  Fannie Flagg
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Pages:  432
  • Publish date:  November 29, 2016 – Random House
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  The Whole Town’s Talking is the story of a town: Elmwood Springs, Missouri. Fannie Flagg introduces the reader to the town founder Lordor Nordstrom who came from Sweden in 1889 and found the perfect spot for the dairy farm he’d dreamed of having. Word spread and other immigrants followed. The town of Elmwood Springs grew from these early families.

Anyone who’s grown up in a small town will recognize the people of Elmwood Springs – they are everyman and woman. Flagg’s characters live ordinary lives and rise to unexpected occasions when needed. The Whole Town’s Talking (also the name of the weekly society column in the local newspaper) is a lovely, folksy tale that I enjoyed. The chapters are short making it an easy reading experience. I read it over the course of ten days which was unusually long for me but I’m glad it did because it never failed to make me smile and I want to enjoy a book like that for as long as possible!

In her wonderfully humorous and warm style Fannie Flagg explains the mysteries of life and death –  at least, how she sees them 🙂  Recommended to fans of the author and stories about small town life.

The 24 Days of Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

  • the-24-days-of-christmasTitle:  The 24 Days of Christmas
  • Author:  Linda Lael Miller
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  November 2016 – Lyrical Shine
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  A matchbox advent calendar first brought Frank Rayner and Addie Hutton together. But that was years ago. Since then Addie has written herself out of her father’s will, gotten herself blacklisted as a reporter, and had her husband leave her for a younger woman. The only good decision she seems to have made is to move back home, even if Frank now owns that home and is renting the apartment over the garage to her. Not that she thinks there’s anything there. There’s no reason to get wrapped up in the holiday cheer. Because Christmas miracles are for the movies. Real life is about unexpected families—and the magic of true love—and could there be a happy ending after all?  (publisher)

My take:  This sweet story is a re-release of a novella previously included in  No Place Like Home and Jingle All The WayI hadn’t read either anthology so it was new to me.

The 24 days of Christmas was a quick read. It’s a second chance story about not giving up on your dreams – even dreams you didn’t know you had.

I think a novella is perfect for reading during the busy holiday season when you want to escape for a few minutes and don’t want to read anything heavy.  I’m a fan of Linda Lael Miller and got exactly what I expected from this story – a nice, romantic holiday tale that was light on drama and just the perfect amount of sweetness.

Mistletoe Cottage by Debbie Mason

  • Mistletoe Cottage (11:3 review)Title:  Mistletoe Cottage
  • Series:  Harmony Harbor #1
  • Author:  Debbie Mason
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  October 2016 – Forever
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Sophie DiRossi loved growing up in Harmony Harbor. But after fleeing in disgrace many years ago, it is the last place she wants to be. Left homeless by a fire, she’s forced to go back to the small coastal town that harbors a million secrets, including her own. Sophie sees this secret reflected every day in her daughter’s blue eyes-and she must keep it hidden from the only man she has ever loved.

Sophie’s return is a shock for everyone . . . especially Liam Gallagher. The firefighter had some serious feelings for Sophie-and seeing her again sparks a desire so fierce it takes his breath away. Now Liam will do whatever it takes to show Sophie that they deserve a second chance at love, even if everything they’ve concealed threatens to keep them apart. In this special town at this special time of the year, Sophie and Liam can only hope for a little holiday magic . . .  (publisher)

My take:  When Sophie returns home to Harmony Harbor she brings her daughter Mia with her. No one knew about Mia until now so everyone has something to say – it’s a small town. Sophie worries what will happen if Mia’s father and his powerful family find out they’re related to her. Will Sophie lose her?

Fortunately for Sophie her luck starts to change when she is hired to manage Greystone Manor, the local inn which is not doing well. She and Mia can live there rent free as she begins her dream job. On day one she meets her former crush Liam Gallagher. His family owns the Greystone but he works as a firefighter. The Inn also employs some interesting characters and there may be a spirit or two hanging around. Really, this novel has a lot going on!

The book title comes from the raffle of a cottage (Mistletoe Cottage) on the Inn’s grounds. It’s decorated for Christmas and will hopefully raise enough money to keep the Inn afloat. The Gallagher matriarch Colleen has died and many of her heirs want to sell the place to a developer so Sophie really needs the raffle to be a huge success.

Mistletoe Cottage is the first in Debbie Mason’s new Harmony Harbor series.  We meet many characters who I’m sure will appear prominently in future books. I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of the author and contemporary, small town romance – this one with a Christmas theme.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

  • and-every-morningTitle:  And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
  • Author:  Fredrik Backman
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Pages:  96
  • Published:  November 2016 – Atria Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  This is a novella about a boy and his Grandpa. Noah and Grandpa have a wonderful relationship – one that Grandpa considers his second chance since he wasn’t always around for his son, Noah’s dad. Grandpa and Noahnoah (that’s what Grandpa calls him) “get” each other. They like the same things. When Grandpa starts forgetting things Noah reassures him even though he’s not quite sure what’s going on.

Fredrik Backman’s characters get to me every time. This time it’s a tale about life through the eyes of an old man and a little boy. Maybe it’s because of where I am in my own life that I could relate. Backman had me smiling on one page and tearing up on the next.

I liked the simple illustrations that were sprinkled through the novella. It took only an hour or so to read and I was left smiling as I turned the last page. It was lovely. Recommended.