I have lived most of my life in small towns. Big cities like New York or Los Angeles overwhelm me with the people, traffic and crime, and yet are enticing for variety, entertainment and sites. Of course, one person’s small town may not seem like one to another.
But, when reading, I am usually much more about the small town. Most stories, especially romance and mystery, are about interactions between people and I am just now thinking that the circles of people we create are a lot like small towns. So are most stories really small town tales? I also like series because they allow you to revisit that town and characters over and over.
What do we get with stories set in small towns? .
Here are some guesses about why they appeal to me:
1. Like where I grew up (it USED to be a small town) and where I currently live (which remains small and wherein the voters mostly reject the concept of more buildings within our scant square mileage) small towns give people a shared history, even if it’s a short history.
2. Small towns seem to lag behind the rest of the world in fear and crime. At a time like this Mayberry RFD seems like a peaceful place to go where the sheriff was sweet on the school teacher and Opie had a caring aunt. This is, of course a nostalgic amnesia as lenty of bad stuff happened and happens in the small town environment.
3. That form of nostalgia in the small town also fosters a sense of “best friends and family” who visit at will, who are generous and who always reciprocate.
Regardless of whether any of this is true it seems like something we desire because we sem to hve a lot . Even cities form villages, boroughs and neighborhoods.
What are some of your favorite small town series?
Jennifer Bernard‘s Jupiter Point series, and her Bachelor Firemen series both happen in small towns or neighborhoods. They are steamy!
Also steam heated are Jill Shalvis’s Animal Magnetism series and Lucky Harbor series are truly small town. She also uses a building with apartments and businesses in San Fransisco to sort of act as a small town.
Jaci Burton‘s Hope series, situated in a fictional town in Northeastern Oklahoma is filled with people who overcome tragedy, and sad history to get together. Jaci writes very hot books.
Molly Harper excels at small town paranormal romance and light mystery and I love her Half Moon Hollow series. They are not too steamy and have a streak of snarky humor I love!
Marie Force writes a series that epitomizes the small town feeling of New England with her Green Mountain series. Writing about regions has the challenge of not stereotyping the characters. Marie generally avoids that and fills the series with out of towners who come to love Vermont and the very large family of Vermonters who run a “country” store.
From the other side of the pond I really enjoy Jenny Colgan who writes the charming Little Beach Street Bakery based in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and another that happens in the Scottish Island of Mure. Both of these occur in areas that are remote so a sense of we’re all in this together except, often, for one or two curmudgeons.
I could probably go on and on but it’s Christmas and I am bone tired. I’m going to go read a book.