56 books like Love in a Small Town

By Curtiss Ann Matlock,

Here are 56 books that Love in a Small Town fans have personally recommended if you like Love in a Small Town. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Life Without You

Liz Flaherty Author Of A Soft Place to Fall

From my list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for this theme comes from my own long marriage and my passion for it. Having heard the phrase “I wouldn’t put up with that” so many times, it’s a relief to me to read that yes, many people do. Instead of giving up on something as important to them as a life partnership, they don’t give up until all hope is gone. Marriage resurrected is all about hope.

Liz's book list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected

Liz Flaherty Why did Liz love this book?

I recommend this because it’s hard.

Achieving happily-ever-after after betrayal isn’t for the faint of heart and this book addresses that. You get the feels and, frankly, you suffer a little bit.

The hero isn’t likable and the reader has to learn to see what she saw. His point of view gives a special “yes, this” quality to the story. 

By S.P. West,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life Without You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a man and a woman fell in love. They were very happy. Until one day they weren’t – their happily ever after disappeared.This is their story.SummerHave you ever been in love?The kind of love that leaves you breathless and makes you feel like you can fly? I have…. It was the biggest mistake of my life. I let him become my everything; my sun, moon and stars but that wasn’t enough for him.What he did nearly destroyed me.My husband’s betrayal taught me the hard way that once trust is…


Book cover of Twelve Days

Liz Flaherty Author Of A Soft Place to Fall

From my list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for this theme comes from my own long marriage and my passion for it. Having heard the phrase “I wouldn’t put up with that” so many times, it’s a relief to me to read that yes, many people do. Instead of giving up on something as important to them as a life partnership, they don’t give up until all hope is gone. Marriage resurrected is all about hope.

Liz's book list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected

Liz Flaherty Why did Liz love this book?

I love this story, although my heart was breaking the whole time I read it.

Sam and Rachel’s dream of a houseful of kids is going to come true, at least for 12 days, although it’s already too late to salvage their marriage. Too much has happened…or hasn’t.

Rachel and Sam have already faced more loss and disappointment than they can bear, but it’s amazing what the heart can handle when it needs to, albeit with lots of cracks and scar tissue.

And it’s Christmas, after all… 

By Teresa Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twelve Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The timeless holiday love story from the USA Today bestselling author


Book cover of The Rescued

Liz Flaherty Author Of A Soft Place to Fall

From my list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for this theme comes from my own long marriage and my passion for it. Having heard the phrase “I wouldn’t put up with that” so many times, it’s a relief to me to read that yes, many people do. Instead of giving up on something as important to them as a life partnership, they don’t give up until all hope is gone. Marriage resurrected is all about hope.

Liz's book list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected

Liz Flaherty Why did Liz love this book?

This is written by one of my favorite authors of Amish stories.

There is much heartache in this story, but that goes along with the marriage resurrected theme; regardless of what happens, the story of a marriage disintegrating is painful.

While there is never doubt that Judith and Isaac’s relationship will survive, the story of how is captivating. 

By Marta Perry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rescued as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As an Amish wife and mother struggles to hold her family together, a story from the past teaches her how to face her daily challenges with strength and love in the second Keepers of the Promise novel.

In modern day central Pennsylvania, Judith Wegler tries to heal the growing rift between her husband, Isaac, and his teenage brother Joseph—whom Judith and Isaac have raised as their own ever since both brothers lost their parents and siblings in a horrific fire. Meanwhile, Isaac’s hurtful silence about this tragic past has robbed Judith of any certainty of her husband’s love. But when…


Book cover of Till the Stars Fall

Liz Flaherty Author Of A Soft Place to Fall

From my list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for this theme comes from my own long marriage and my passion for it. Having heard the phrase “I wouldn’t put up with that” so many times, it’s a relief to me to read that yes, many people do. Instead of giving up on something as important to them as a life partnership, they don’t give up until all hope is gone. Marriage resurrected is all about hope.

Liz's book list on romance and women’s fiction on marriages resurrected

Liz Flaherty Why did Liz love this book?

I could cheerfully “pick” any one of Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s books as a recommendation.

I have read, loved, and reread them all. In my reading mind, she has the purest voice in both romantic fiction and women’s fiction. Her characters are all fascinating, all different, and all relatable. They make you care.

Within this writer’s voice lies tenderness that is never wordy, never sappy, never tired. I don’t have enough words to explain it, so by all means, read hers for yourself. 

By Kathleen Gilles Seidel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Till the Stars Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a small Minnesota mining town, young Krissa is sheltered from her violent father by Danny, the brother she idolizes. Danny, a budding musician, is determined to escape with his sister in tow.

When the pair finally succeed, they meet Quinn, a privileged and wealthy college student. Drawn together by a passion for music, Danny and Quinn set up a successful pop group. As their stars begin to rise, Danny falls in love with fame, and Quinn and Krissa fall in love with each other. But the higher Danny, Quinn and Krissa climb, the faster their worlds crumble, until they…


Book cover of Soldiering: The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull

Bob Brill Author Of The Tattoo Murder

From my list on solving historical mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

My entire life I’ve been a historian, a treasure hunter, and a crime solver, which is likely why I became a broadcast journalist and investigative reporter. Having worked cases, worked with police, and asked the questions I believe the public wanted answered, there isn’t much which gets by me. I see every story as a movie and every scene in life as a story that needs telling. One of my passions has always been genealogy which fits right into all of the above. I live by a simple saying, “Be a student of history, not a victim of it.”

Bob's book list on solving historical mysteries

Bob Brill Why did Bob love this book?

It truly is a diary, and it rests in the local county museum in rural Pennsylvania. Being a Pennsylvanian myself, I was fascinated to read this Civil War account of a foot soldier who came back alive and lived to a ripe old age as a local businessman. Bull’s story really does read like a movie script and I plan at some point to do exactly that with it. The story of courage and the logic he uses to get through each day as a soldier, wanting nothing more than to do his duty and to return home.

By Rice C. Bull, K. Jack Bauer (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soldiering as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An excellent firsthand account of the Civil War from a soldier's point of view. It is a masterful description of war's grim reality.--VFW Magazine


Book cover of Someday Is Now: Clara Luper and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins

Mara Rockliff Author Of Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

From my list on civil rights heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a children’s author best known for digging up fascinating stories about famous people—and forgotten people who deserve to be famous again. As a kid, I loved reading about the old days, but I wasn’t very interested in “history,” which seemed to be dull facts about a few Great Men. In college, though, I studied social movements and discovered that we all make history together, and that it takes the combined efforts of countless unsung heroes—just as brave, hardworking, and persistent as the big names everybody knows—to achieve real change. 

Mara's book list on civil rights heroes

Mara Rockliff Why did Mara love this book?

When I studied the civil rights movement, nobody told me about Clara Luper or the Oklahoma City sit-ins, which took place a year and a half before the Greensboro sit-in. I didn’t even realize there was segregation that far west. Someday Is Now helps fill that common knowledge gap, but it’s also a solid introduction to “separate and unequal,” as well as a portrait of a teacher and civil rights activist who should be better known. It left me wanting to learn more about Luper and the children who joined her, especially Luper’s nine-year-old daughter Marilyn, who by her own account proposed the sit-in—without ever having heard of one!

By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Jade Johnson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Someday Is Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

"Not only does this book highlight an important civil rights activist, it can serve as an introduction to child activism as well as the movement itself. Valuable." -Kirkus Reviews starred review

"Relatable and meaningful ... A top addition to nonfiction collections." -School Library Journal starred review

More than a year before the Greensboro sit-ins, a teacher named Clara Luper led a group of young people to protest the segregated Katz Drug Store by sitting at its lunch counter. With simple, elegant art, Someday Is Now tells the inspirational story of this unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement.

As a…


Book cover of The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory

Matthew Dennis Author Of American Relics and the Politics of Public Memory

From my list on how and why U.S. monuments have become controversial.

Why am I passionate about this?

Monuments and memorials pepper our public landscape. Many walk right by them, uncurious about who or what’s being honored. I can’t. I’m a historian. I’m driven to learn the substance of the American past, but I also want to know how history itself is constructed, not just by professionals but by common people. I’m fascinated by how “public memory” is interpreted and advanced through monuments. I often love the artistry of these memorial features, but they’re not mere decoration; they mutely speak, saying simple things meant to be conclusive. But as times change previous conclusions can unravel. I’ve long been intrigued by this phenomenon, writing and teaching about it for thirty years.

Matthew's book list on how and why U.S. monuments have become controversial

Matthew Dennis Why did Matthew love this book?

The Unfinished Bombing was eerily prescient when first published in 2001 and remains uncannily relevant today.

Linenthal set the standard in his analysis of public tragedy, its impact on an American community and the larger nation, and its memorialization.

In April 1995, a white homegrown right-wing terrorist bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 men, women, and children. Linenthal’s story of the massive crime, outpourings of grief, and the efforts to memorialize the dead and prevent future cataclysms is gripping and personal yet academically astute.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum that rose from the rubble is among the most culturally and aesthetically successful monuments in the history of American public memory. Though seemingly eclipsed by the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, this story of rupture and recovery, so well told by the author, continues to be critical and instructive.

By Edward T. Linenthal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unfinished Bombing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April 19, 1995 the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City shook the nation, destroying our complacent sense of safety and sending a community into a tailspin of shock, grief, and bewilderment. Almost as difficult as the bombing itself has been the aftermath, its legacy for Oklahoma City and for the nation, and the struggle to recover from this unprecedented attack.
In The Unfinished Bombing, Edward T. Linenthal explores the many ways Oklahomans and other Americans have tried to grapple with this catastrophe. Working with exclusive access to materials gathered by the Oklahoma City National…


Book cover of Where the Heart Is

Margaret Meps Schulte Author Of Strangers Have the Best Candy

From my list on getting you talking to strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a youngster, my parents took me on 6-week journeys across the United States by car. We'd stop in a small town each night, and I would explore on foot and meet other kids at the swimming pool or ice cream shop. That slow mode of travel has become my default, and I've spent years exploring back roads, small towns, and bywaters by car, bicycle, and sailboat. I write about the strangers I've found and the "candy" I've gotten from them: strangers have lessons for all of us and are not as dangerous as we've been told.

Margaret's book list on getting you talking to strangers

Margaret Meps Schulte Why did Margaret love this book?

In this novel, a pregnant teenager gets abandoned in a small town where she doesn't know anyone. She begins connecting with strangers, one at a time, studying them and deciding which ones are safe to talk to. Eventually, the main character has built a complete support network for herself and her child. I love the way author Billie Letts describes the process of talking to strangers and connecting with them until they become some of our closest friends. It's the same way I get candy from strangers in real life.

By Billie Letts,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Where the Heart Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 17-year-old pregnant girl heading for Califonia with her boyfriend finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But she's about to be helped by a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people, including a bible-thumping nun and an eccentric librarian.


Book cover of Letters from the Dust Bowl

Rae Meadows Author Of I Will Send Rain

From my list on the heart of the Dust Bowl.

Why am I passionate about this?

Photographs, for me, are essential to writing about a particular period. They ignite my imagination like nothing else. For this book I pored over the Library of Congress archives of 1930s FSA photographs, particularly those by Dorothea Lange. Her photos capture humanity at its most desperate, most determined, and they walloped me. Such ruin and poverty, and lives upended. But those faces of Lange’s were what helped me find my characters. I hope that the story of the Bell family transports you to a time and place like none other in American history. These five selections will give you further insight into what life what like.

Rae's book list on the heart of the Dust Bowl

Rae Meadows Why did Rae love this book?

Henderson was a homesteader and teacher in the Oklahoma panhandle and this collection of her writing creates a compelling first-hand portrait of the Dust Bowl. Impeccably detailed about rural farm life, from the days of prosperity to the bare-bones existence necessitated by hardship, Henderson is a thoughtful, ponderous guide. “Out here we thought the depths of the depression had been fathomed some time ago when the sheriff subtracted from the very personal possessions of one our neighbors a set of false teeth that he had been unable to pay for.” 

By Caroline Henderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Letters from the Dust Bowl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In May 1936 Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace wrote to Caroline Henderson to praise her contributions to American ""understanding of some of our farm problems."" His comments reflected the national attention aroused by Henderson's articles, which had been published in Atlantic Monthly since 1931. Even today, Henderson's articles are frequently cited for her vivid descriptions of the dust storms that ravaged the Plains.

Caroline Henderson was a Mount Holyoke graduate who moved to Oklahoma's panhandle to homestead and teach in 1907. This collection of Henderson's letters and articles published from 1908 to1966 presents an intimate portrait of a woman's…


Book cover of Rites

Beth Castrodale Author Of The Inhabitants

From my list on confronting trauma or loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of my novels explore, in some way, how the characters are affected by trauma or loss, and how they respond to these difficulties over time. This comes partly from my impatience with the notion of “closure” and with the idea that we can ever truly find it after a traumatic event or a significant loss. I’m drawn to fiction and nonfiction that doesn’t shy away from the messiness of finding a way to live with these difficulties, or trying to. In addition to writing fiction, I’ve spent nearly ten years recommending novels and story collections through my Small Press Picks website.

Beth's book list on confronting trauma or loss

Beth Castrodale Why did Beth love this book?

In every story in this heart-rending collection, the protagonists—all of them Indigenous people—are dealing with some of the most challenging circumstances that can be imagined: the tragic deaths of loved ones, the trials of trying to rebuild one’s life post-incarceration, and the fallout from substance abuse, to name just some of the difficulties the stories address. At the same time, most of the protagonists exhibit some form of resilience in response to these challenges, and I was deeply moved by the variety of this resilience, by the characters’ determination, and by Johnston’s insights into their experiences. I also love the ways in which the stories are connected by place: All of them unfold in Oklahoma, and Johnston brings their settings to life.

By Savannah Johnston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this collection of short stories that focuses on the modern-day experiences of Indigenous people living in Oklahoma, Johnston documents the quiet sorrow of everyday life as her characters traverse the normalized, heartbreaking rites of passage such as burying your grandfather, mother, or husband, becoming a sex worker, or reconnecting with your family after prison; the effects are subtle, yet loud, and always enduring. Whether Johnston's characters are coming of age and/or grappling with complex family dynamics, Johnston delivers the economy of loss and resilience that marks this post-colonial collection with biting, captivating prose that demands to be read from…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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