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The best in Contemporary Romance, Home For the Summer, by Mariah Stewart – what do you like best about small town romances?

Contemporary romance fans if you’ve not yet tried Mariah’s Chesapeake Diaries now is the time! Mariah visits R@R asking readers what they love about small town romances – enjoy!

And now, Mariah:

This week, I’m celebrating the release of HOME FOR THE SUMMER, book five of the Chesapeake Diaries (and my 31st book overall!), and I’m currently writing book number six, THE LONG WAY HOME. So with the characters and threads from six books running through my head, I started thinking about small town continuing series and what makes them so popular. For me, the setting comes naturally; I’ve lived in small towns all my life, so that’s what I know and understand best. But it got me wondering what others found so appealing.

So I turned to my reader friends on Facebook, and asked: What do you like about small town romances? How do you feel about continuing series? Like or not?

Overwhelmingly, readers said they most liked series to continue because they liked the characters and want to see how their lives evolved.

These are only a few of the responses I received:

  • Beverly: I know that being able to see what happens after each couple’s book ends makes it even better.
  • Jayne: I always want to know what happens to everyone once a book is finished.
  • Kim: You get to check back in with “old friends”.
  • Beverly: I get to see the characters grow.
  • Linda: It’s like I’ve become a family member.
  • Kathy: You fall for the characters and want to know the outcome for all involved.
  • Donna: The characters feel like friends.
  • Julia: It’s nice to know their story continued.
  • Maureen: It’s like friends or family coming to visit. You feel like you’re catching up.
  • Betty Jean: Characters in a continuing series become old friends. There’s nothing like picking up a new book and recognizing someone you read about three books back!
  • Karen: I feel like I really know the people and the town and it’s fun to catch up and see what’s happening in their lives.
  • Seleana: Readers get to see many different relationships and how people from other stories are doing down the road.
  • Fran: Likes continuing series as long as the writer reflects back on the previous books.
  • Christi: Likes the sense of community. The characters can have a history.
  • Marjorie: The former friends you have made are back and new ones come alive.
  • Lynne: Lives revisited, romances continued, friendships renewed.
  • Melissa: Loves series because you really get to know the town and the people.
  • Pat: I really like it when a series goes on and on.

  • As far as the small town settings are concerned, readers had this to say:

  • Kim: I live in the city but want that “small town” feel. It’s nice to read about friends and neighbors you’d love to live next door to.
  • Beverly: You get to know the whole town, not just the main characters.
  • Kathy: I can picture in my mind what’s going on and can sometimes pick characters out of my own town.
  • Ann: Everyone knows everyone which for me makes a deeper story. It’s like visiting a favorite vacation spot.
  • Susannah: Likes “the sense of community”
  • Nancy: Likes the cozy and friendly neighborhoods.
  • Debra: Small town novels are more intimate.
  • Marilyn: Loves the “down home” feeling of small towns.
  • Diane: There is a feeling of belonging to a large family that’s there through thick and thin.
  • Kay: The setting takes the reader back to a safer, more quiet time.
  • And from the viewpoint of a public librarian, Judy tells us that her patrons agreed with all of the previous comments. They love series and some only read series. She knows that if she buys them, the books will be enjoyed over and over, and “gets grief from her patrons if she misses a title in a popular series.”

    Judy, you can tell your patrons that I hate missing a book in my favorite series, too!

    Now, here’s a question from an inquiring mind:
    Have you ever become so invested in a series that you really felt you knew the characters so well that they seemed like old friends? Or felt that you could walk into that town and know your way around?

    About the book:
    Some of Lucy Sinclair’s best days were those spent growing up in small town St. Dennis—working at the family inn and enjoying summers filled with swimming, sailing, tennis, and the company of Clay Madison, her best friend. But Lucy’s darkest day, the one that shattered her innocence with violence and fear, also happened in St. Dennis. And the town she once loved became the place she gladly left behind—along with the terrible secret she’s kept for twenty years.

    While Lucy headed off for college and a career, Clay remained—more than satisfied with the life St. Dennis had to offer. But now, even after inheriting his family’s thriving farm and starting up an organic brewery, he can’t help feeling that something’s missing. And when Lucy comes back to town to plan a celebrity wedding at the Sinclair family inn, she and Clay reconnect, and find themselves reevaluating their long-sleeping friendship that could blossom into something deeper. Like a bookend to those distant childhood days, this summer will be Lucy’s chance to finally confront her hidden pain, make peace with the past, and plan her own whole new future.

    Mariah StewartAbout Mariah:
    Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-seven novels of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives in southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, with her husband, their daughter, and their dogs.

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