Jocelyn Rogers’s life is in a rut. Maybe she should step outside her comfort zone and move to Milford Falls, where she has inherited her grandmother’s house. With the encouragement of the other Butterfly Girls, Jocelyn musters her courage and starts a new life.
However, when she arrives in the small town that holds both good and bad memories for her, she discovers the house in worse shape than she expected, and getting repairs done is anything but easy — especially when it comes to dealing with Jack Emerson, a man who seems to be agitated by Jocelyn and everyone else within a fifty-mile radius.
To make matters worse, she has begun to worry that moving back to the place where she once spent a troubled summer will expose the deep personal secret she has kept hidden for fourteen years. But Jack also has a hidden secret that has prevented him from getting close to anyone in a long time. And now it seems that interfering neighbors may prevent both Jack and Jocelyn from moving forward with their lives.
Join the Butterfly Girls in this charmingly romantic story that shows sometimes it takes a leap of faith to land on your feet.
Hometown Girl is a delightful romance full of humor. When Jocelyn moves into the home she inherited from her grandmother, the laughter begins. One thing after another happens to her while fixing up the home, which is in need of great repair. When a couple birds find their way into the house, she tries chasing them outside with a tennis racket. But they end up chasing her outside, screaming with her hands flailing in the air erratically and still holding her racket. Quickly the scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds comes back to her as she screams in fear. It’s a hilarious scene. But you laugh even harder when Jocelyn finally settles down, turns around, and finds Jack, the hero of the book, parked in his truck and watching her with amusement.
Humor isn’t the only element in this story. With a house falling apart, loneliness, frustration, and mysterious nightmares, Jocelyn learns what charity really is and learns to accept her trials. She also has a deep secret that she has kept hidden for fourteen years that seems to haunt her.
Jack is a fun character. He’s a good-looking young man who owns his own repair shop. I love his description. He’s a “scruffy bearded, pony tailed man wearing a plaid flannel shirt.” I loved him right away. Even though he and Jocelyn don’t hit it off at first, I knew this couple would get together eventually. Between these two characters, Michele has her readers thoroughly entertained. This is an excellent novel. Bravo, Michele! I would recommend this book for teens and adults.
--Review written by Linda Weaver Clarke, author of Melinda and the Wild West, a Semi-finalist for the Reviewers Choice Award.
Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell
This second in Michele's Butterfly Box series is my favorite of the two, mainly because the setting takes place in a small town by Seattle, Washington, which is about two hundred miles from where I live, which also happens to be a small town.
The story evolves around Jocelyn, the Art Teacher, who was responsible for the Butterfly Box in the first place. Her grandmother died, leaving Jocelyn her old house. When the mayor of Milford Falls calls to tell her the house is in disrepair, that the property has become an eyesore to the community, Jocelyn is torn, as she is comfortable in her hometown of St. George. When the Butterfly Girls get together for their annual get together, her friends encourage her to move to Milford Falls.
When she arrives, she is given a ticket for going 13 miles over the speed limit, a parking ticket, then has major issues with her car. To make matters worse, she finds her ceiling caving in because of old pipes, birds in her bedroom, so she gets the local handyman, Jack Emerson, to fix the repairs while she does the painting and refinishing of new furniture she finds in town. She finds a friend in her neighbor Harry, a widower, who helps her in a business venture by growing a Raspberry Farm, utilizing both properties.
When things are looking promising for Jocelyn and Jack, the town and ward busybody lets Jack know Jocelyn's long ago secret she's been having difficulty dealing with and she feels the reason he has been shunning her is because of this, but when she finds out the real reason, that Jack has had secrets himself, it is a shock, but is a startling revelation for each.
When a teaching position opens up in Milford Falls, she knows that her prayers are being answered and she realizes living in a small town is what she has needed to really belong and feel loved and to put the past behind her.
Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri
Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook.
I received this review copy from Michele.
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Date Published: July 2010
I’ve only read two of Michele’s books, but I’ve really enjoyed both of them. In fact, this one had me up until 2am because I couldn’t put it down until I knew what had happened in the end. I didn’t find Jack nearly as crusty and unapproachable in the book as he’s made out to be on the back cover, however. I liked him from the start, but that could be because I knew I was reading a romance, and he was THE GUY.
Jocelyn’s secrets are big, and they run deep. So do Jack’s, which is why I think I enjoyed watching them work their way to one another. So much of this book reminded me of my own life. I could, at this moment, move to a small town (with my family) and take up residence in a grandmother’s house—that is also likely in need of a great many expensive repairs. I have moved recently, and found—like Jocelyn does in the book—a friendly, welcoming ward who also seem to be everywhere I go. And some of the moments she shares with Jack remind me of my husband.
I’ve learned I’m an emotional reviewer. If a book brings an emotional response from me, then I’m going to like it. Even if it makes me cry. Hometown Girl had several touching moments, but enough laugh out loud moments to keep me going. I had a great time staying up all night to read it—even if I was a zombie the next day!
Review of Hometown Girl, by Michele Ashman Bell
By G.G. Vandagriff
As a writer struggling to write her own "ensemble series," featuring only four characters, I can definitely tell you that Michele Ashman Bell is a gifted writer! In her Butterfly Box series (Hometown Girl is #2), Bell deals with a crowd of five women, best friends since High School. In her opening chapters, we are introduced to each of these characters effortlessly, until we not only know them apart, but know all the angst that they let their friends see, and a lot that we can guess at. This is a great achievement.
When the book narrows down to one member of the ensemble, Jocelyn, who has decided to move from St. George to a tiny town in Washington state, she seems to regress in the maturity and capability she demonstrated when she was home with the "girls." However! Do not be fooled! Though Jocelyn seems to struggle overmuch with problems that seem small compared to conquering world hunger, balancing the budget, and redeeming the world, there is a good reason for her seeming lack of perspective.
Jocelyn is dealing with problems in her past that occurred in this very locality—her grandmother's house--years before. And, though it seems absurd that a beautiful girl of 31 would be so inexperienced with the male sex, take it from me, there is a very good reason for that as well.
Once the horrible tale is told, we are introduced to another of Bell's brilliant strengths. She can write romance like nobody's business. She avoids all known clichés and draws you in to her character's heart in such a way that you feel loved down to your toes. This is a wonderful strength, surprisingly unusual in today's world of literature. Since this is another weak spot for me, I appreciate her skill immensely. Some may think this is profane, but she does it even better than Austen!
This was such a fun read! The characters in the book were very lovable, and engaging. The book was good from the first page to the last, I couldn't put it down. The story is very heartwarming, and it makes you laugh and cry. The book proves that anything is possible to get through if you just have Faith.