City Spirit Country Heart by Scarlett KnightCity Spirit, Country Heart by Scarlett Knight is a small-town romance about returning to your roots and discovering that what your heart has been longing for is right under your nose.

When Macy comes to the aid of a pretty little girl on the playground, she is expelled from elementary school for standing up to the class bully. Her mother is forced to leave Lamppost, Texas and move to Dallas with her little brother. All grown up, she thrives on the energy and diversity of the city. Lamppost is nothing but a bad memory to her.

When Macy’s grandmother is moved to a nursing facility, her mother asks Macy to return to Lamppost, to pack up her grandmother’s house so it can be sold. Macy is reluctant at first, but her little brother is about to graduate from college, so she doesn’t really have anything tying her down. With his encouragement, she sets out for Lamppost to get her grandmother’s house organized and decluttered.

At her first stop in Lamppost, Macy runs into that same little girl from the playground. Sophia is now a beautiful and charming young woman. As they become reacquainted, Macy begins to realize that not everything in Lamppost is worth leaving behind.

The Characters

Both Macy and Sophia are very endearing characters. At first glance they seem to be polar opposites. But, as I got deeper and deeper into the story, I realized that they are like jigsaw puzzle pieces. They make more sense together than apart.

Macy is a feisty, out and proud lesbian who thrives on the fast-paced rhythm of Dallas, Texas. She dates plenty of women, one weekend here, one weekend there. She has mixed emotions about returning to her childhood home, but like everything else, she approaches it with a positive attitude. I so enjoyed seeing the bold, city-girl knocked off kilter by the innocent charms of a woman from her past. Throughout the book, Macy has to give herself little pep talks, so she won’t scare Sophia off and I thought it was adorable.

Sophia is refreshing not just because of her innocence but also because of her generous heart. What could be construed as a woman looking to experiment with a lesbian is actually a long-held childhood crush. Macy was her knight in shining armor and every blush that colors Sophia’s cheeks belies the mature attraction growing in her heart. Sophia has a lot to lose in this story. Coming from a very small town where homosexuality is seen as an abomination by most, I wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to claim her authentic self.

The Writing Style

The book is written from Macy’s point of view. This definitely serves the story as it is about Macy facing the small minds that judged her when she was a child and the rumors about her that still persist. I think this choice heightened the tension between Macy and Sophia. Like the reader, Macy can only hope that Sophia’s intentions are strong enough to overcome a lifetime of expectations from her parents and the town’s people alike.

Knight does a great job using dialogue and pacing to contrast the different worlds Macy and Sophia inhabit. When they are at Macy’s grandmother’s house in Lamppost, the scenes are languid and intimate, showing them growing more comfortable with each other. When they are at Macy’s apartment in Dallas, there is always a frenetic energy in the scenes, with secondary characters coming and going. That energy is also reflected in the sexual tension between Macy and Sophia. This is a wonderful balance that reflects Macy and Sophia’s relationship.

The Pros

Charming doesn’t begin to describe this book. It’s got lemonade, backyard barbecues, and a barn that’s perfect for a roll in the hay. It’s also got a town bully who I loved hating and I couldn’t wait to see him get his come-uppance.

The Cons

The book could have benefitted from another pass from an editor to take care of some noticeable errors.

The Conclusion

This light romance went down like my grandmother’s apple pie; sweet and satisfying. I read it in one afternoon and it had just the right serving of “Awww” moments. It’s full of small town charm and I’m so glad that Knight refrained from adding a forced, U-Haul scene at the end. I got my happily ever after without rolling my eyes. Perhaps it’s time for me to leave the big city for some down time in the country.

Excerpt from City Spirit, Country Heart by Scarlett Knight

“I know, by the way,” she said, her voice quiet, as she kept staring at the painting.

“Know what?”

“That you,” she paused, made eye contact, “date women.”

To say that I was shocked by her admission would have been an understatement. She already knew? When did she find out? Had she known this whole time? God, I wanted to drill her with questions, but the moment called for tact. So I sat, momentarily stunned, waiting for her to continue.

“Am I right?” she asked.

“You are right.”

Well, there it was. Out in the open. Now what?

“And do you—I’m sorry, forget it,” she finally said, rubbing the back of her neck. She began tapping her fingers against her glass. “I shouldn’t have come out with it so abruptly like that. It’s the wine talking.”

“You don’t have to be sorry.”

“Really?”

“Really.” I eyed her carefully. “Please, continue with what you were going to say. You just took me off guard, that’s all. And yeah. You’re right. I date women. How’d you know?”

“Instagram.”

“Instagram?” I raised an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you’ve been following me on Instagram this whole time, and I didn’t know.”

“Kinda?”

I huffed out an incredulous laugh. “No way. For how long?”

“Two years?” she offered sheepishly.

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Bits and Bobs

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