Small Town Girl, by Lavyrle Spencer

Cover ImageFinished 1-9-09, rating 3.5, romance, pub.1997

“One-way traffic crawlin’ round a small town square

Eighteen years’ve passed since she’s been there

Been around the world, now she’s coming back

Wider-eyed  and noting what this small town lacks” 

Beginning of the song, Small Town Girl

Tess has a voice and a face that the whole world knows.  She left her small town roots behind when she was eighteen to become a country star and a millionaire many times over.  Tess puts her life in Nashville on hold to drive back to Missouri when her oldest sister demands that she come home to take care of their mother after surgery.

Although Tess’ life may have changed, nothing in her childhood home has and she quickly becomes frustrated by her mother’s stubbornness.  Almost immediately she butts heads with an old schoolmate, Kenny, who had a crush on her in school and now lives next to her mother.  Kenny is divorced with a teen-aged daughter and a long time girlfriend, but sparks fly between he and Tess and his adolescent crush threatens to capture his heart again.

This romance is a great down home family drama.  Tess, after being gone so long, has to readjust her attitude and her relationships and I was drawn in to her struggle to reconcile her two lives.  And Kenny’s daughter, Casey, was a big part of that and it was easy to love her exuberance and its impact on Tess.

All of the problems of  Tess’ life aren’t tied up and served like a gift at the end of the story and this made me like it that much more.  It felt real.  There was also quite a lot of detail about the music business that anyone interested in the industry would learn from. 

I really enjoyed this romance and I think anyone who is from a small town or who has an interest in the world of country music will too.