Cinderella Christmas

 
A Small-Town Girl
by Shelley Galloway
(Harl. American Rom. #1156, $4.99, G) ISBN 0-373-75160-5
***
“Cute” comes to mind when I think of this book. That may not be a stellar recommendation for some, but the description is apt. A Small-Town Girl is an enjoyable story.

Genevieve Slate is a cop who is looking for a change. She grew up in Beckley, West Virginia and swore she would never go back to a place where everyone knew you and where your reputation was your reputation for life. But after a stint in the Cincinnati Police Department where she got her heart broken, Gen ends up in Lane’s End, Ohio.

Gen joins the small force and immediately realizes that the biggest difference here is that she is expected to get to know the people and actually form relationships with them, something she has cut herself off of in Cincinnati. One man she is attracted to is Cary Hudson, the math teacher at the high school. Cary is popular and has lived here his whole life. His brother Dean and his daughter Melissa, a junior in high school, live next door. They are a family in the strongest sense. Gen was never close to her family, although she would like to be. She just got sick of being compared to her perfect older sister Margaret, who was queen of everything and is now the mother of a nice little family. Gen was a tomboy and always knew she wanted to be a police officer.

As Gen tries to settle in and get to know people, she is involved in several cases of vandalism, something that is unique for this small town that has people on edge. In addition, the town is gearing up for the basketball team’s run for the state championship. Lions Fever is at full pitch. When it looks like the vandals may be targeting Cary and/or Melissa, things heat up. They also heat up in the romance area as Cary and Gen have an attraction that won’t be silent and a lust that is strong.

This is a nice little romance where things build to their natural conclusion and the mystery (if it could be called that) wraps up nicely. There is nothing that stands out as great, but nothing that hits a nerve as being stupid or distracting. For dog lovers, there are some misbehaving beagles that add comedic relief. For the non-dog lover, you may feel like I do: why do they think this behavior in their dogs is funny? I would kill them. But I learned long ago, dog lovers appreciate dogs in the stories and find things like eating the Easter ham as “just one of those things dogs do.”

Cary has just the right mix of maleness, vulnerability and romantic timing to make him endearing. Gen tries a little too hard to be independent and almost blows it with her unwillingness to open her heart, but she recovers in the nick of time. The kids and the other teachers are just small town enough to add to the tale without being predictable and syrupy.

A Small-Town Girl is a nice little story about a small town girl.

--Shirley Lyons


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