Title: Small-Town Secrets
Author: Margaret Watson
Date of publication: 28th, July 2019
Print length: ebook, 216 pages
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Tropes: Small town, single parent, second chance romance
Trigger Warnings: Dealing with the loss of a loved one
You can buy this book from Amazon
Character Development 10/10, Atmosphere 10/10, Writing Quality 9/10, Plot 9/10, Intrigue 10/10, Logic 10/10, Enjoyment 10/10, Overall 9.71/10 equals to 5\5 stars.
I found this book for free on Amazon. I desperately wanted to read it as soon as possible, even though I knew almost nothing about the book or the author previous to reading it. I must admit that reading this book definitely paid off; it was everything I wanted and more. So, let’s get more in-depth on what I enjoyed most about this book.
The action takes place in a small town at a B&B that also has an orchard. The setting was adorable! I liked the description of the place, and that it was near water. The main character, Kendall is a single mother of two girls. We follow her and her children’s life, her romance with Gabe, who used to be a friend. We also see the love story between her brother and another single mother in town, Amy. As the title reveals, there are a lot of secrets in this small town, where Kendall lives her life. Most, if not all, of these secrets will directly affect her. Gabe’s return to Sturgeon Falls brings the secrets bubbling to the surface. He has returned for the dedication of the stadium in name of Carter, his best friend and Kendall’s husband. Carter died in a car crash, years ago, and Kendall kept busy running the B&B, managing a cherry orchard and raising her daughters. When Gabe showed up at her B&B as her gues after all those years, memories came rushing back, and so did their feelings. Can they make it work despite the past? However, I found the story to be quite slow-paced.
“No, he saved all the secrets in his life for Kendall. But that was going to change this weekend”
This story gave me ‘the Gilmore Girls’ vibes and I loved it just as much as I love the show. The single mom aspect of the story, the daughters who love reading and secrets that come in front of her happiness, reminded me of the beloved series. Not to mention the smart, resourceful main female character and the fact that the story focuses on family dynamics that both have in common.
“Since none of the men in Kendall’s life had put a priority on her well-being, however, Gabe was prepared for the worst.”
Characters were round, complex and well developed, evolving throughout the story. Although we follow quite a few characters at once, it didn’t feel overwhelming. It was very likable to read about all of them. Even though Gabe and Kendall’s love story was in the foreground, Amy and George’s story didn’t feel out of place. Kendall and Gabe’s inner monologue gave us the chance to step into the character’s shoes, and discover their way of thinking. One of the things I Liked most was how prominent family dynamics were. There were a lot of scenes where the kids played a very important role, and where we discovered their passions and personality. Characters were portraied realistically, having flaws, having to face the consequences of mistakes and dealing with day to day problems. I did enjoy Gabe’s protectiveness and personality, and Kendall resourcefulness and stuburness. For me, all the characters of the story added a lot of emotion to it.
“I’m not sweet, Kendall.” His eyes darkened. “I’m a lot of things, but sweet isn’t one of them.”
She set the mug on the counter with care. “You were with the girls.”
“I wasn’t talking about the girls.”
I feel like the story is more character driven than plot driven. However, the story is far from being dull. I like how it combines real, day to day life in a small town setting with mystery and unraveling secrets. The romance was, in my opinion, a big part of the plot, being a slow burn as well as a second chance at a relationship. The plot was built around the characters, but it still had plenty of surprises such as the reporter’s part in the story. It still had some drama and action going on. I did like how Gabe helped Kandel’s daughters to express their passions. The plot had multiple points of interest: the relationship between Kandel and Gabe, the relationship between the family members and with the extended family, the dedication ceremony which was the big event, the reporter and him asking questions around. The fact that we don’t know what he was actually writing about. Even though he said his article was about Carter and the dedication ceremony, we discover that he was working on a personal article.
“I’m trying to protect you and you’re stomping all over my male ego. Can’t you throw it a bone and let me handle the reporter for you?”
Writing was good, but not out of the ordinary. I found the description-action ratio to be balanced well. Even for a non-native English speaker the story was easy to follow and read. The intrigue was solid, events were chronollogical and followed the flow of logic. I highly enjoyed this book!
“I learned long ago that you can lie to everyone else, but it doesn’t do any good to lie to yourself. The truth keeps nagging at you until you face it.”
I can’t wait to read more from this author, and especially from this series. I am expecting the rests of the books to be just as good, if not even better. It was by far one of the best books I read recently and I would highly recommend it to any romance lover (as I think they would find it the most appealing). But I think anyone who wants should read it. However, I wouldn’t encourage any children to read this book, as it has remarks regarding sexual content.