Hometown Girl

Hometown Girl

by Courtney Walsh


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Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Walsh returns with a hopeful and emotional new book about seizing second chances, finding yourself, and forging your own path.

Beth Whitaker isn’t supposed to be a small-town girl. She’s always dreamed of leaving Willow Grove, Illinois, for the big city, but she feels trapped, struggling to make up for a mistake that’s haunted her for years. Just when Beth is finally ready to break free, her sister impulsively buys a beloved but run-down farm on the outskirts of town, and she begs Beth to help with the restoration. Reluctantly, Beth agrees to help—and puts her own dreams on hold once again.

Drew Barlow hasn’t been back to Fairwind Farm since he was a boy, and he’s spent all these years trying to outrun the pain of a past he thought he buried long ago. When he learns that the owner has passed away, his heart knows it’s finally time to do the right thing. Returning to Willow Grove, Drew revisits the old farm, where he attempts to piece together his memories and the puzzle of the crime he witnessed so long ago.

Both on a journey to find peace, Beth and Drew are surprised when they begin to experience a restoration of their own. But when long-buried secrets break through the soil and the truth unfurls, will it threaten their budding relationship—and the very future of the farm?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781542045636
Publisher: Brilliance Publishing
Publication date: 09/19/2017
Pages: 380
Sales rank: 470,975
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Hometown Girl is her seventh novel. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well as three small-town romance novels: Paper Hearts, Change of Heart, and Just Look Up. She lives in Illinois, where she and her husband own a performing arts studio and youth theatre. They have three children. Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

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Hometown Girl 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
gatorade635 More than 1 year ago
I lost count of how many times someone told me I should read a Courtney Walsh book but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then I met Courtney at CFRR and after hearing her talk about one of her heroes I immediately bought one of her novels. Sadly review books took precedence and it just mocked me from my shelf. But then the was an opportunity to be an influencer for this book and I jumped at the chance! And boy was everyone right about this author! I was totally sucked into the story from the very first sentence and it held me in its grasp until the very last! I hated putting this book down and quite often found myself thinking about it whenever I was forced to return to reality. Beth was a heroine I could relate to in many ways, her desire to play everything safe, trying to do everything perfect, and her fear of failure. For a lot of her life she has let these things paralyze her and keep her from really living. I loved seeing her blossom as she let go and gave things over to God, finding her true self in the process. As for Drew, I loved everything about his character! What he'd had to experience as a child, and the horrendous way the adults in his life handled it, broke my heart and it turned him into basically a shell of a man. The past held him captive and kept him from having any meaningful relationships in the present. But despite all that he was still an amazing guy! He was definitely the strong and silent type but he was also incredibly kind, fiercely protective, and the hardest worker you will ever find. Both of their journeys to reconcillation with their pasts were hard and beautiful at the same time. The author wrote every heart-rending emotion in such vivid detail that you were feeling them with the characters. I also loved Beth siblings, Molly and Ben, and would love to get more of both of their stories as well as the mysterious Seth we never got to meet! And the whole small town settting with the farm and orchard was charming and perfect for this story! The beauty of this book honestly stole my breath at times, it was brilliantly crafted from start to finish and I absolutely adored it! This was my first Courtney Walsh book and it definitely won't be my last, she has fast-tracked her way onto my favorite authors list! I received an e-book copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
CindyFW 12 months ago
A truly delightful story set in a small town. Beth and Drew have their own problems to overcome. I like how their relationship progresses as they learn to trust each other. The mystery kept me intrigued. Highly recommend!
LaurieTomlinson More than 1 year ago
Courtney Walsh is quickly becoming a favorite author, and Hometown Girl doesn't disappoint! The author has a way of creating relatable characters and page-turning plots. Can't wait for her next one!
BethErin More than 1 year ago
Hometown Girl has wonderfully authentic characters and small-town country charm.  Beth and I get along like two peas in a pod, we both have the planner gene, focused, quiet nature, and a propensity for carrying the burden of guilt.  Drew's nonstop high-octane work ethic would put lesser folks into an early retirement. Another characteristic both characters share is holding people at arm's length and building emotional walls (Drew can build real walls, too! He's a keeper!)  I want to visit the tight-knit community of Willow Grove and charming Fairwind Farm! This setting is intricately woven into the storyline and oh so cozy and familiar. I highly recommend this story! I borrowed this title. The opinions expressed are my own.
lilacqueen75 More than 1 year ago
It seems to be common for people, as they are growing up, to wish for what they don't have. Beth dreams of leaving her small town to make it big in the city. And she learns the hard way that plans and dreams don't always work out the way one would hope and expect that they would. She finds herself right back smack dab in the middle of her former life, after a short stint in the city, and just exists. Until her sister, Molly, makes a rash purchase. Beth and Molly are so different from one another and from what I gathered, they didn't always get along really well because of those differences. Now that they are adults, they are each able to embrace themselves and complement and accept each other in ways they never could have imagined. I love the sibling friendship and camaraderie, as it really felt true to life. Another element to the book that I loved is Drew. He has a secret and is an enigma for sure. I love how the mystery unraveled, especially since that piece to the story was light and was an invisible force that connected Drew and Beth. It's such a treat to have some depth to their budding attraction. This is the type of book that really invokes the warm-fuzzy feel goods. The setting is as comforting as a security blanket and the characters are rich, complex, and flawed, with great potential for growth. I was completely drawn into the book and loved it all. Content: mild romance; mild violence; moderate+ religious elements. *I received a copy to review, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions.*
LoriP123 More than 1 year ago
I loved this story by Courtney Walsh! Beth Whitaker was supposed to graduate high school, go away to college, marry her high school sweetheart, live in the big city working at a great job and living happily ever after, but that didn't happen. Instead she is living in her hometown taking care of her mother and running the family business that her father started from the ground up. Just when she thought she had her chance to run from her smothering small town her sister makes an impulsive decision that is going to change her life in more ways than she ever expected. Drew Barlow hasn't been back to the small town that he enjoyed visiting with his family when he was a young boy, but every night his dreams take him back with haunting memories of a crime that he had witnessed involving his best friend. After all of these years later he finally believes he needs to go back and make peace with the past. I was given an ARC from the author/publisher. All conclusions are mine and mine alone.
Ronya More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love Courtney Walsh’s new book, Hometown Girl. I did not want the story to end. The author has a distinctive way of dealing with very difficult topics in loving ways. She does not sugar coat the issue, try to hide it or gloss over it. Her characters deal with the situations head on and learn about themselves and their Creator in the process. The characters in Hometown Girl are easy to relate to and you quickly come to care about them and what happens to them in the story. There is a depth to them that makes them feel real. When they are happy, you are happy too; when they are sad, you are sad. These are the kinds of characters that you find yourself praying for and then laughing when you realize what you’re doing. Ms. Walsh tackles some really difficult topics in this story…topics that not only cause you to feel for the characters, but also cause you to stop and evaluate your life and where God is calling you to have courage and make some changes. She does an amazing job of weaving in some lighthearted, funny scenes that have you laughing out loud and enjoying the characters. If you enjoy contemporary romance stories that are authentic and real, this story is for you. I’m already looking forward to her next book. And I’m really hoping that this heroine’s sister and brother get stories of their own in the future! Enjoy!
CRGehringer More than 1 year ago
In Hometown Girl, Beth Whitaker dreamed of leaving her hometown behind and doing big things in the big city. A mistake in judgement causes her to return home. Beth doesn’t know what to do with her life anymore. Her sister Molly impulsively buys the fallen-down Fairwind Farm, and now Beth feels trapped. Meanwhile Drew Barlow spent years trying to forget a tragedy that happened at the Farm when he was a young boy. Drew decides its time to make peace with his past there. Can Drew and Beth restore the farm and make it a viable business? Can they solve an old mystery surrounding the tragedy Drew witnessed? Walsh excels at her character development, creating individuals the reader can sympathize with and cheer on in their endeavors. Beth and Drew get caught up in Molly’s renovation plans for Fairwind, as God gives both of them a second chance at letting go of past mistakes, finding healing and forgiveness. Hometown Girl is the story of redemption, second chances, finding love and one’s life work, even in the face of repeated failures.
Becky6 More than 1 year ago
Courtney Walsh is an author that I don’t even need to know what the book is about because I already know I’m going to enjoy it. So to be honest, I had no idea what the author had in store for us when I first picked up a copy of Hometown Girl. The cover immediately drew me in because I thought those yellow polka dots boots were the cutest and I wanted a pair for myself. Let me just say, Mrs. Walsh does not disappoint. Here we have yet another small town, Willow Grove, where the characters become like friends and family. Fairwind, the farm where a good majority of the book takes place, immediately becomes home. Beth and her sister are working tirelessly to rebuild the town’s favorite small town farm that once had a farmer’s market, a petting zoo, an apple orchard where families could come pick apples in the fall, and a bunch of other fun activities to do in the fall. Despite already being skeptical in the beginning, the two run into many problems that test their patience and persistence. Then there’s the mystery within the novel. This will tug at the heartstrings because there is so much unsolved. It doesn’t help that the mysterious hot guy who comes around that no one seems to know. The characters go through raw and realistic trials and are challenged to surrender them to the Lord. It’s a story that shows that we don’t have to be perfect to earn God’s love and mercy. It’s a story where you’ll laugh, cry, and literally go through all of the emotions. It’s powerful and will stick with you long after the story is over. If you haven’t already picked up your copy, I highly recommend this for your next fall read! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
Wow, once I started this book, I couldn't read it fast enough! Definitely not fluffy chick lit! There's a lot of insight packed into this contemporary tale with a lot of heart, wrapped around a mystery. Plus, there's a delicate romance between two people who seem to struggle with where they fit in, both trying to overcome what has them stuck in life. Some fun side characters add a bit of color to the small town scene. I especially liked Birdie and her wisdom given freely to Beth and Drew. Her encouragement to reach out and accept God's forgiveness and grace--gifts freely given--and not give into the pressure of other people's expectations, were wonderful nuggets of truth in the story. I could relate to Beth's fear of failure, and her striving to keep everything going. She was a 'Martha' to her sister Molly's 'Mary'. Recommend to readers who enjoy inspirational contemporary romances. 4.5 stars (An e-book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
JustCommonly More than 1 year ago
"It's hard to break out of the mold everyone else puts you in. Especially when that mold turns out to be different than you thought." Ever read a book that's supposedly a standalone and love the characters and the setting so much you hope for a series out of it? Well, Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh is just that. Set in small town Willow Grove, and a memory induced backdrop of a farm/orchard that the townspeople rally to support, it makes for a great "hometown" for anyone. The sweetness of the vibrant cover doesn't seem to mesh well with our main character, Beth, but rather her sister, Molly. However, by the end of this emotional storyline, we see the transformation for not just Beth but Drew as well. The inner depth of the story, turning guilt and shame to the redemption, giving way to the joy that can only come from inner peace. And that we can easily sense from the cover. "Sometimes you have to live with the mistakes you make. . . there's no getting out of it. You just get through it." I've come to fall in love with the author's writing style, from her Paper Hearts series to her most recent one, Just Look Up, her light hearted approach that is layered, and I mean layered with substance that readers love to devour. There's romance, lovable characters, interesting plot lines, and most importantly, a message laced with hope. There's the added bonus of a decade-old mystery in Hometown Girl that clutches our hearts until it comes to light. In all, Hometown Girl is wonderful in its execution of the words and everything in between. "She saw him even when he didn't want her to, and she hadn't run away. No one had ever loved him like that before - without condition, without permission." Disclaimer: I received a digital ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
I just love this author's writing style! She has a way of drawing me into the lives of people who are struggling against the darkness and as their stories weave together the light emerges and hope shines brightly on its way to a happy ending- which really seems more like a new beginning. The contrasts and similarities between Beth and Molly as sisters really stood out to me, and it was interesting to see the characteristics they embraced and which ones they left behind as they were influenced by their parents and the people around them. I loved that they both rediscovered qualities about themselves that they believed didn't apply anymore. It's reassuring that it's never too late to decide to change and pursue a new focus in life. Beth and Drew are both holding on to painful secrets, and the process of loosening up around each other shakes the secrets out of dark corners where they can now be released... although Drew required a little more shaking ;) It was nice to see how they supported each other and yet had a realistic dynamic based on their very defined personalities. They had fabulous chemistry, and that first kiss- wow. I admit I read that scene a few times over (fans self). It was gratifying to see how the long time mystery unfolded and also watch the community band together to work hard for a new Fairwind Farm. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
swissgranny More than 1 year ago
Hometown Girl is a story about life in a small town. It’s a story of unfulfilled dreams and new beginnings, guilt and regrets, secrets and consequences, mysteries and cover-ups. Although it took me a little while to warm up to Beth, one of the main characters, I found I could relate to her and her struggles. Drew was easy to like, and I admired his great work ethic and his willingness to help others. Courtney Walsh did a marvelous job of creating realistic, layered characters in a unique setting. I loved the way she moved the story along and allowed us to see the growth of the characters while weaving threads of forgiveness of self and others, faith, and trust through the book. I will definitely be looking forward to more stories by this author. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
lmbartelt More than 1 year ago
Courtney's writing always takes me back to my hometown. I can picture the people and places, and the characters remind me of people I know. Although it isn't set in the fall, Hometown Girl focuses on a rundown apple orchard, which I thought about when my family visited an apple orchard a few weeks after reading the book. I enjoyed the story of Beth and Drew and their respective issues holding them back from moving forward in life. (I received an electronic copy of the book from the author. Opinion reflected in review is my own.)
PinkStar More than 1 year ago
nother fantastic book from Courtney Walsh! This author has become one of my favorites with each of her books getting better and better. I love the setting of this small town and the characters are very relatable. The way Ms. Walsh describes the characters and setting I could clearly see it in my mind. Two sisters with very different personalities embark on purchasing and restoring a small town favorite apple orchard. The orchard hasn't been open to the public in many years after a family tragedy on the orchard. There is a lot of work to do to get the farm restored and ready to open. The journey of Beth, Molly and Drew is heartwarming and so many lessons for all of us. There is a little mystery, a little romance and of course life living in a small town. I really hope their will be another book because I wasn't ready for it to end! I think we need to hear more about Molly's story (hint, hint). Five stars all the way! Thanks and gratitude to the publishers for allowing me an advanced copy through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
bsnksmom More than 1 year ago
Beth Whitaker has spent years trying to make up for a mistake, an error in judgement that cost her father’s company millions in a lawsuit. For Beth, the three hardest words in the English language are, “I was wrong” and her tireless work for the company her dad founded is an effort to avoid having to say those words to the rest of her family. It’s bad enough that her dad knew before a heart attack took him. Must she further humiliate herself in front of the family that looks up to her? No one understands why she is still in Willow Grove. She’s NOT a typical hometown girl who never wanted anything more than to stay in her small town living small dreams. She always wanted the big city and the big dreams that went with it. Unfortunately, a lost job opportunity coupled with a cheating boyfriend sent her scurrying back to the safety of the family business. It was supposed to be temporary, so why is she STILL there nine years later? When her flighty sister, Molly, comes to her asking for help in another of her pie-in-the-sky business ideas, Beth turns her down flat. What do they know about running a farm, and of all places, Fairwind Farm? Yes, she has beloved memories of family outings taken there but how can they hope to bring it back to its full glory when neither of them have enough money to renovate the farm the way it should be? Beth can’t take another failure but when Fairwind Farm becomes her only option for redemption, can she adjust her dream to include the town she couldn’t wait to flee? Drew Barlow has spent 20 years running from his past and his memories of Fairwind Farm. The crime he witnessed as a nine year old visits him nightly in his dreams and he’s never any closer to remembering. When the owner dies, Drew wonders if this could finally be his chance to close the door on the past. Arriving at Fairwind, Drew finds the new owners – optimistic but over their heads. He starts out by helping during a community work day and ends up signing on for a longer stint. Will being in the place he experienced his greatest tragedy help him remember and forgive his younger self? Beth and Drew have both sealed off their secrets and both are suffering because of it. Can they help each other see that sometimes a mistake is just a mistake and sometimes adults place burdens on the shoulders of children that the children have no business bearing? For every person who has held a secret too close, for every person who has beaten themselves up for an error in judgement, and for every person who has felt unworthy of respect or love or redemption, Hometown Girl is your story. This story hits readers in the ‘feels’ and ultimately points to a God who is waiting to love unconditionally. Courtney Walsh weaves a mystery into a love story into a story of grace for the hurting and I, for one, loved it. I enjoyed it so much I’m really hoping she’s working on a story for each of Beth’s siblings!
irishniff More than 1 year ago
Hometown Girl is a perfect read for the fall season. Walsh creates a vivid apple orchard setting with fall favorites including apple cider donuts. She adds characters that are flawed, hurting and learning. Her characters are easy to relate to and likeable. Their journey to restore the farm and its buildings becomes quite the project. With mystery and romance along the way, the pages turn easily. Courtney Walsh has written a wonderful story that might cause you to think about your hometown in a new way. Hopefully there will be a sequel because I wasn't ready to leave these characters and I would like to hear more about their lives. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.