small towns -- fiction

Plainsong

By Kent Haruf

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Holt, Colorado, is one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else. Tom Guthrie is a high school teacher who is basically a single father--his wife can’t (or won’t) get out of bed. Victoria is 17 and pregnant and has been thrown out of her home. The McPherons are bachelor brothers who don’t know much beyond farming. Maggie Jones, also a teacher, brings these lives together in this simple yet elegantly told story.
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The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle

By Lois Battle

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"'We've been screwed blued and tattooed,' quips Hilly Pruitt at hearing the news of the closing of Cherished Lady, the local lingerie factory. Hilly, along with many other women in Florabama, have been relying on the factory for their livelihood for years. As Hilly always says; 'Life is like a dog sled: If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.'

"The same day the plant closes, Bonnie Duke Cullman begins her drive through a Gulf Coast storm to the first real job of her life. Her country-club-and-charity-committee existence has come to an end as abruptly as her marriage. In short, she too has been downsized. But luckily for Bonnie, she does have a job to go to: she's been hired to run a "Displaced Homemakers Program" for a podunk community college where the ex-bra seamstresses of Cherished Lady await her wisdom.

"In an unlikely alliance, Bonnie and the Florabama women join together in a midlife survival course where the events of a single year forever alter the way they see the world and their places in it. Despite their very different lineages, they find common ground in the longings and dreams we all share: for community, identity, security, and for love."

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This Must Be the Place by Kat Racculia

This Must Be the Place by Kat Racculia

Amy Henderson could not wait to leave Ruby Falls, New York, and start her life in This Must Be the Place, by Kate Racculia.  She wants to go to Los Angeles and make monsters—her hero is Ray Harryhausen, talented maker of special effects with stop-action animation and creator of the Kraken in the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans. But like many a movie monster, Amy Henderson leaves disaster in her wake.

Amy does get to make monsters, but she dies at 31 of a freak electrical accident on a movie set. She leaves her totally devastated husband Arthur, a pink shoebox full of memorabilia of her life and a postcard with a cryptic message addressed to her best friend Desdemona Jones in Ruby Falls. Amy writes that she left the best of herself there. Arthur makes a journey to find out the secrets in Amy’s life. What hadn’t she told him? What else didn’t he know about his wife?
 

Big Stone Gap

By Adriana Trigiani

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It's 1978, and 35-year-old Ave Maria Mulligan is about to discover a skeleton in her own family's tidy closet that will blow the lid right off her quiet, uneventful life. This is the first of a trilogy about people in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

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About That Man

By Sherryl Woods

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Trinity Harbor, Virginia, is in an uproar when spinster Daisy Spencer takes in a wild ten-year-old boy and starts to play "Mom." But Walker Ames, the boy's D.C. cop uncle, shows up, looking for a chance to play "Dad" for his nephew. Daisy and Walker are opposites in every way. If Daisy could only keep her thoughts about that man away from those of marriage and love.

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Where Love Goes

By Joyce Maynard

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Claire is "pushing forty with a short stick." She's divorced and raising two teenagers in a small town where just about everybody else is married. Claire longs for companionship, romance, and passion. She's tried blind dates, answered the personals. She's still looking. When Claire meets Tim -- also divorced, struggling to raise his own daughter, Ursula -- she believes she's found the perfect partner and lover. But as Tim and Claire work toward joining their families and building an intimate life together, their families clash in a never-ending battle for attention and affection: Ursula resents Claire, and Claire's children hate Ursula. When Ursula wreaks a unique and deadly vengeance on everyone, her mother suddenly shows up after a two-year absence and both families spin out of control.
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What the Deaf-Mute Heard

By G.D. Gearino

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Ten-year-old Sammy Ayers woke up one morning on a bus that had reached the end of its run after an overnight trip. The night before, his mother had been beside him. Now, she was gone and he was abandoned, a lost child in a small Georgia town of the 1940s. As the curious patrons of the Barrington Bus Depot bombarded him with questions, he just kept his mouth shut. He pretended not to hear. It was on that morning, in 1940, that Sammy Ayers became deaf and mute. Alone and lost in this strange new world, Sammy found safety behind a wall of silence, a barrier that sound could not penetrate from either side - at least that's what everyone thought.

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The Secrets of Barneveld Calvary

By James Calvin Schaap

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The narrator, a town pastor, brings to life the secret joys and concern of his parishioners at Barneveld Calvary in a colorful mosaic of grief and tragedy, mercy and reconciliation.

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The Persian Pickle Club

By Sandra Dallas

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This magical, memorable novel explores the ties that unite women through good times and bad. It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harleyville, Kansas, where crops are burning up and there's not a job to be found. For one young farm wife, the highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of locals dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their well-honed quilting skills to good use.

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The Funeral Makers

By Cathie Pelletier

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Meet the residents of Mattagash, Maine, a dull backwater town rocked by scandal, seduction, mayhem, blackmail, and the only recorded case of beriberi on the entire North American continent!

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