"Hometown Girl" is the second installment in Michele Ashman Bell's series, "The Butterfly Box," which features a group of women who were friends in high school. They were brought together by the tragic death of one of their friends, and every year they meet together to discuss what they learned from that death and what things are going on in their lives now. They collect memorabilia in a box with a butterfly on it, and each year, a different woman takes the box home with her to be her good luck charm until the next reunion. In the first book, "A Modest Proposal," the box went home with Lauryn, and we saw her create a new career for herself while staying true to her standards. In "Hometown Girl," we get a closer look into the mind and heart of Jocelyn.
Jocelyn's grandmother passed away a few years before, and she left her house to Jocelyn. A nice little home in Milford Falls, it has sat vacant ever since. Jocelyn knows she should do something with it, but she's not sure what. Selling it seems like getting rid of a piece of her grandmother. Maybe if she waits a little while to make the decision, she'll know what to do.
But the mayor of Milford Falls is a neat freak, and he can't stand the fact that the house is going to ruin. He calls Jocelyn and demands that she come and clean up the place. Her work has been a little unsatisfactory, and she has some time on her hands, so she decides that she's going to head up and take care of her grandmother's house. The Butterfly Girls even suggest that she might consider moving to stay there, and she thinks about it, but she's not sure. She spent one summer there in the past, and while she appreciated her time there, she's not sure she wants to relive it.
When she arrives in town, she discovers that the house is in need of serious repairs. She does what she can on her own, but hires Jack, the town handyman, to finish up the rest. She feels a connection to him, but her past keeps her from fully exploring her feelings.
Michele Ashman Bell has a way of creating characters you'd like to get to know personally. It was easy to cheer Jocelyn on as she made needed changes in her life, stepped out of her comfort zone, and began her journey toward healing. I would have liked a little more foreshadowing when it came time for her to reveal the truth about her past - that seemed a little out of the blue to me. I did also want a little more emotion from Jocelyn. That said, I enjoyed the read very much. It was fun to watch her renovate her house and to "see" what she planned to do with the place, and to watch the growing chemistry between her and Jack. You could really root for their relationship, and I did.
In conjunction with this blog tour, you can win a $50 gift certificate! Click here to visit Michele's blog and learn more about it.
I received a copy of this book free in exchange for the review, and this gift did not influence my thoughts.