Novels with That Homespun Touch

Jennifer Chiaverini

The Quilter's Apprentice. S&S, 1999.
Sarah and Matt McClure move to the small town of Waterford, PA, for a fresh start. Unable to land a fulfilling job, Sarah reluctantly accepts a temporary position helping elderly Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale. The cantankerous Sylvia teaches Sarah how to quilt and slowly begins to open up to her and a friendship develops. Both women confront some uncomfortable truths about their families and learn how to restore joy to their lives. Followed by: Round Robin (2000), The Cross-Country Quilters (2001), The Runaway Quilt (2002), The Quilter's Legacy (2003), The Master Quilter (2004), The Sugar Camp Quilt (2005), The Christmas Quilt (2005), Circle of Quilters (2006), The Quilter's Homecoming (2007), The New Year's Quilt (2007), The Winding Ways Quilt (2008), The Quilter's Kitchen (2008), The Lost Quilter (2009), A Quilter's Holiday (2009), The Aloha Quilt (2010), The Union Quilters (2011) & The Wedding Quilt (2011).

Sandra Dallas

Prayers for Sale. St. Martin's, 2009.
In 1936, while the country suffers through the Great Depression, 86-year-old Hennie Comfort befriends young newlywed Nit Spindle who has moved to the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado with her husband in search of work. Hennie finds an eager listener as she relates her stories and knowledge of mountain life.

Fannie Flagg

I Still Dream About You, Honey. RH, 2010.
Maggie, a former Miss Alabama, has given up on her dream of living in a beautiful home like Crestview, and instead is a real estate agent in Birmingham. But then, her life takes a wild turn, and she finds herself catapulted into one surprising discovery after the next.  As Maggie learns valuable lessons about the nature of friendship, the challenges of modern life, and the dangers of impossible dreams, she starts to see how much more there is to life than what can be listed in a Miss Alabama bio.

Karin Gillespie

Bet Your Bottom Dollar. S&S, 2004.
When her beloved business, the Bottom Dollar Emporium of Cayboo Creek, South Carolina, is threatened by the opening of a big chain store across the street, Elizabeth Polk enlists her two fellow shopkeepers, Mavis Loomis and Attalee Gaines, to save it from its unwanted competition. Followed by: A Dollar Short (2005) and Dollar Daze (2006).

Gail R. Fraser

The Lumby Lines. Yorkville, 2005.
Mark and Pam Walker leave life in the fast lane for the small Pacific Nothwest town of Lumby (home to the oldest apple tree in the county) in order to convert an old abandoned abbey into an inn. They soon find that Lumby has more than its share of offbeat residents and innocuous incidents, all dutifully reported in the local paper, the Lumby Lines. Followed by: Stealing Lumby (2007), Lumby's Bounty (2008), The Promise of Lumby (2009), & Lumby on the Air (2010).

Philip Gulley >

Home to Harmony. Multnomah, 2000.
Sam Gardner, the new minister in Harmony, Indiana, copes with the many eccentrics in his congregation, including annoying church elders, lonely spinsters, and back-biting gossips. Followed by: Just Shy of Harmony (2002), Christmas in Harmony (2002) Signs and Wonders (2003), Life Goes On (2004); A Change of Heart (2005) & Almost Friends (2006).

Cynthia Hartwick

Ladies with Options. Berkley, 2001.
In the booming 1980s, eight members of the Mostly Methodist Club in Larksdale, Minnesota, become novice investors and make a killing on the stock market when they decide to put their money into an unknown company called Microsoft and become rich beyond their dreams. Followed by: Ladies with Propsects (2004).

Patti Hill

Seeing Things. B&H, 2009.
Meet 72-year-old Birdie Wainwright. She "sees" purple flowers growing out of floors and alpine slopes where her stairs ought to be. Then one day she sidesteps an imaginary boulder and tumbles down the stairs. Now, having to convalesce at the home of her her busy son, his wife, and her sixteen year old grandson., Birdie longs for some pleasant company. And that's when Huck Finn shows up.

J. Lynne Hinton

Friendship Cake. HarSF, 2000.
Five churchgoing women from Hope Springs, North Carolina who come together to create a church cookbook quickly become a source of solace, support, and strength for each other. Each struggling to make sense of her life--her "past," her relationships, her faith--the women share much more than recipes; they share their passions, loves, heartbreaks, and hopes.

Jan Karon

At Home in Mitford. Lion, 1994.
Beneath the cheerfulness of Father Tim Kavanagh, a small-town rector, is an aching loneliness. But slowly the empty places in his heart get filled: first with a gangly stray dog he names Barnabas, later with a seemingly stray boy, and finally with the realization that he is stumbling into love with his independent and Christian-wise next-door neighbor. The village of Mitford, nestled in the North Carolina hills, and its loveable and eccentric inhabitants, come vividly and humorously to life. Followed by: A Light in the Window (1995); These High, Green Hills (1996); Out to Canaan (1997); A New Song (1999); The Mitford Women: A Christmas Story (2001); A Common Life: The Wedding Story (2001); In This Mountain (2002); Esther's Gift: A Mitford Christmas Story (2002); Shepherd's Abiding: A Mitford Christmas Story (2003); Light from Heaven (2005).

The Father Tim Series:

Home to Holly Springs. Viking, 2007.
Anticipating a relaxing retirement, Father Tim Kavanagh takes a vacaiton with his wife to Irish hometown for the first time in decades and gets involved with the lives of the local townspeople. Followed by: In the Company of Others (2010).

Garrison Keillor

Lake Wobegon Days. Viking, 1985.
What can you say about a town whose first Norwegian settler is a Union Army deserter whose descendants, the Sons of Knute, hold a yearly contest, starting on Groundhog Day, where you bet on the day and hour a 1949 Ford will sink through the ice? Humorous and homespun tales from the small, mythical Minnesota town "that time forgot and the decades cannot improve." Father Emil, who blesses animals on the lawn of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility Church; the sleepwalking Lundbergs; the Statue of the Unknown Norwegian, which sprouts grass from an unusual place; and Angler Dr. Nute, a retired dentist who tells his prey, "Open wide ... This may sting a little bit."

Stuart McLean

Home from the Vinyl Cafe: A Year of Stories. S&S, 2005.
A former rock-band road manager is now living life in the slow lane, running the world's smallest record store. From his disastrous yet inspired attempts to cook the family turkey to his puzzlement over his inexplicably balding guinea pig, Dave bukbles his way through a hilarious year of mistakes, miscues, misunderstandings, and muddle.

Joan Medlicott

The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love. St. Martin's, 2000.
When 60-ish Amelia inherits a rundown farmhouse in rural North Carolina, she and her two friends, Hannah and Grace, pool their resources and move from a dismal Philadelphia boarding house to the tiny hamlet of Covington over the objections of their adult children. As the women renovated the house and grounds, they rebuild meaningful lives for themselves. Followed by: The Gardens of Covington (2001), From the Heart of Covington (2002), The Spring of Covington (2003), At Home in Covington (2004), A Covington Christmas (2005), An Unexpected Family (2008), & Promises of Change (2008)

Whitney Otto

How to Make an American Quilt. Villard, 1991.
Eight women in the small town of Grasse, gather together over the years to piece together a quilt of their own imaginative devising. And as they stitch, they share their personal stories, tell of their successes and failures, their lives and loves, their dreams, desires, and the surprise and sometimes joy of living.

Delia Parr

A Place Called Trinity. St. Martin's, 2002.
In 1830s Pennsylvania, widowed midwife Martha Cade's hopes that her daughter will follow in her footsteps are dashed when Victoria runs away with a traveling theater troupe. Followed by: Home to Trinity (2003).

Bill Richardson

Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast. Wyatt, 1993.
Hector and Virgil, a pair of 50-ish fraternal twins, look upon their B&B-- where they live with their cat, Waffle, and a scripture-quoting parrot named Mrs. Rochester-- as a refuge, a haven, for bibliophiles. The book alternates between notes from the brothers, and excerpts from the B & B's guest book, in which guests are encouraged to write their own stories in it. Also, reading recommendations, recipes and some pretty bad poetry penned by a local poet. Followed by: Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book (1995).

Gayle G. Roper

The Seaside Seasons Series. Multnomah (2001-2004).
Seaside, a tiny resort town on the New Jersey shore is the setting for this series of stand-alone novels addressing contempory issues, the choices people make, and the faith that sees them through the trials and tribulations in their lives. Spring Rain (2001); Summer Shadows (2002); Autmun Dreams (2003), and Winter Winds (2004)

Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind. Morrow, 1999.
Recently widowed, Julia Springer gets the shock of her life when her late (but not lamented) husband's mistress drops his 9-year son off on her doorstep. This is just the begining of the end of Miss Julia's brieg life of leisure as she tries to do right by the boy while fending off all manner of jackals after her inheritence. Followed by: Miss Julia Takes Over (2001), Miss Julia Throws a Wedding (2002), Miss Julia Hits the Road (2003), Miss Julia Meets Her Match (2004), Miss Julia's School of Beauty (2005), Miss Julia Stands Her Ground (2006), Miss Julia Strikes Back (2007), Miss Julia Paints the Town (2008), Miss Julia Delivers the Goods (2009), Miss Julia Renews her Vows (2010), & Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle (2011).

Lauraine Snelling

The Healing Quilt. Waterbrook, 2002.
After her Aunt Teza’s test results turn out to be inconclusive, Dot Cooper resolves to raise money for a new mammogram machine, through the creation and auction of a magnificent, king-sized quilt to be sewn by the women of Jefferson City.

Adriana Trigiani

Big Stone Gap. Ballantine, 2001.
The life of 35-year-old Ave Maria Mulligan, Big Stone Gap's self-proclaimed spinster, is about to take some shocking and hilarious turns. She learns that she has an Italian father, saves Elizabeth Taylor from choking on a chicken bone, and finally finds her Prince Charming. Followed by Big Cherry Holler (2002) By the same author: Milk Glass Moon (2002), Lucia, Lucia (2003), The Queen of the Big Time (2004), Rococo (2005), & Home to Big Stone Gap (2006).

Katherine Valentine

Country Fair. Image, 2006.
As the residents of Dorestville await the annual country fair, Father James worries about judging the apple pie contest; Matthew Metcalf wonders how he is going to keep his girlfriend and pay for college, the Petersons welcome a long-awaited and newly adopted baby; and Hudson, Marion Holmes’s butler, hopes to give his beloved employer a new reason to live by researching the parentage of a young boy who has just arrived in town. Meanwhile, the local sheriff teams up with the FBI stop the owner of the fair from participating in a major drug deal.

Dan Walsh

The Homecoming. Revell, 2009.
It's Christmastime in 1943 and there isn't much joy for 7-year-old Patrick whose mother has been killed in a car wreck, whose soldier father is declared MIA, and whose bitter widowed grandfather doesn't want him. It's going to take a Christmas miracle to heal this broken family. Followed by: The Homecoming (2010).

Stephanie Grace Whitsun

Sixteen Brides. Bethany, 2010.
Sixteen Civil War widows looking for a new life settle in Nebraska after they are wooed by a land speculator with the promise of homesteads, only to discover that they were lured there in hopes that they would accept marriage proposals after their arrival.

Susan Wiggs

Summer at Willow Lake. Center Point, 2006.
In the beautiful storybook town of Avalon, NY, Olivia Bellamy sets upon the task of renovating the family's camp in the Catskills as her grandparnets prepare to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. First in a series called the "Lakeshore Chronicles," the books follow the lives of the bellamy family and various townspeople as they find love and happiness.Followed by: The Winter Lodge (2007), Dockside (2007), Snowfall at Willow Lake (2008), Fireside (2009), Lakeshore Christmas (2009), The Summer Hideaway (2010) & Marrying Daisy Bellamy (2011).

Lisa Wingate

Beyond Summer. NAL, 2010.
Tam Lambert learns that her family's upscale home is in foreclosure and they must move to a changing Dallas neighborhood called Blue Sky Hill, where she meets Shasta Williams. When the new neighbors realize that a corrupt deal could force them from their homes, friendships and loyalties are tested. By the same author: Drenched in Light (2006); The Language of Sycamores (2005); Good Hope Road (2003), etc.



There's a place where life moves a little slower, where a friendly hello can still be heard, and gossip travels faster than a telegram. The year is 1874 and the town is Harmony, Kansas, where in each book the reader meets a different resident: like twin widows Maisie and Minnie, proprietors of the local boarding house, who are competitive to a fault; town blacksmith Jake Sutherland, whose more at home shoring a horse than conversing with women, "Luscious" Lottie McGee who runs the local, er, saloon; and newspaperman Alexander Evans, who runs the Harmony Sentinel with his outspoken, college-educated daughter, Samantha.

Keeping Faith, by Kathleen Kane (1994)
Taking Chances, by Rebecca Hagan Lee (1994)
Chasing Rainbows, by Linda Shertzer (1994)
Passing Fancy, by Lydia Brown (1994)
Playing Cupid, by Donna Fletcher (1994)
Coming Home, by Kathleen Kane (1994)
Getting Hitched, by Anne Justice (1995)
Holding Hands, by JoAnne Cassity (1995)
Amazing Grace, by Deborah James (1995)

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