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June 13, 2023

Famous in a Small Town by Viola Shipman ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"What separates a girl from an old woman?  Nothing but a bad back and aching knees, if we can simply continue to believe that life can be anything we desire and if we just give our dreams a chance to soar on the wind."

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel Famous in a Small Town by Viola Shipman
June 2023; Graydon House; 978-1525805073
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); women's fiction

The Lake Michigan shoreline in Michigan is my happy place and even though I haven't been there in several months, I feel like I just returned after the wonderful descriptions in Viola Shipman's new books.  I could hear the waves on the beach, smell the pine in the forest and taste the cherries that are grown in this area.  It's time for me to plan another trip!

Mary - known as Cherry Mary - is almost eighty years old and runs the  Very Cherry General Store in Good Hart, Michigan.    It was run by the women in her family for several generations.  The store is a major hub in town because it has the post office plus a bakery and an array of items made of cherries.  In the summer it's overrun with tourists.  Mary had a difficult marriage and has one son who lives away.  She has spent her whole life waiting for the person that she saw in a vision as a child who will take over the store when she dies.  She is a strong and tenacious woman who believes that women can do anything that men can and doesn't back down to anyone.  When she meets Becky Thatcher and her best friend who are on a girl's vacation - she believes that Becky is the woman she's been waiting for...but Becky is a 40-year-old teacher from St Louis and it just doesn't make sense.  The more time they spend together, the more Mary is convinced that Becky is the person from her vision.  After Becky works at the store for the summer and enjoys her time with the quirky characters in town, the more she begins to believe that Good Hart may be her destiny.  

The characters in this book were fantastic - Becky has always followed the rules until she finally realized that her long-term boyfriend had no intention of marrying her.  When she went on vacation with her best friend "Q"  and ended up in Good Hart, she began to realize how strong she really was.  The friendship that she and her best friend had was magical - they were always there to help each other in the bad times and enjoy the good times together.  And of course, one of the main 'characters' was Lake Michigan at its finest.

This is a book about love, friendship, and destiny.  It has a little magic, a bit of romance, and a group of characters who learn that family is not always created by blood but that it is often formed with the people that we care about most. Famous in a Small Town is a perfect summer read!

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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  1. I agree with you 100%, it is the perfect summer read!