- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Onyx Books (Feb 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451410203
- ISBN-13: 978-0451410207
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 9.9 x 3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,007,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lauren's sister Becca has asked her to come home to help with a custody issue. Becca's ex-husband Joe threatens to use her romantic interest Gabe Randolph in another man as the means to gain custody of their seven-year-old daughter. When he moved back to town and Becca was single again, they thought they'd see if they pick up where they left off in high school. Unfortunately, small town gossip created jealousy in Joe. Now Becca wants Lauren to become publicly involved with Gabe to take the heat off herself, wisely deciding to try to avoid courts in the custody issue.
Gabe is now an oil producer whose company hopes to tap San Rafael's resources. The town wants the jobs and economic boost such a venture provides. Lauren, however, worries for the delicate desert landscape and protests the venture based on environmental issues. With such vast difference of values, maintaining a romantic interest becomes challenging. Her heart knows no barriers, either, making the situation even more volatile. Add protesters who aren't afraid to resort to sabotage to accomplish their ends, a meddling mother, and a demanding boss, and Lauren finds herself confronted with challenges on all fronts.
Author Mary Jane Meier's HOMETOWN GIRL is contemporary romance at its finest. With a solid understanding of the dynamics of custody battles and environmental issues, Meier creates a novel rich in nuance and flavor. Not only do the primary characters sparkle, but the supporting cast also comes alive, making the small town of San Rafael a believable, richly diverse background. Indeed, even the simplest characters, such Ezra the retired cook who's blindness doesn't make the picture of his beloved Chloe any less vivid, threaten to bring a tear to the reader's eye. Very highly recommended.
Laura feels attracted to Gabe, but he heads the oil company wanting to drill in the canyon, something that she objects to as being destructive. Becca's request that she and Gabe pretend to have a romance makes her feel uneasy, but soon she and Gabe fall in love while seeking a compromise to balance employment and saving the wilderness. However, their respective supporters escalate the argument placing innocent people in danger and their relationship at risk.
Though an exhilarating look at the complex environmental vs. industry issue, the story line offers simplified solutions. The plot also uses an illogical assumption to push the intelligent lead pair together. Laura and Gabe are a superb duet, who serves as the microcosm of the bigger issue. The well-written tale is exciting and brings a strong perspective to the prime debate. Mary Jane Meier has written an insightful novel, but HOMETOWN GIRL has several sidebars that take the reader away from the key theme. Breeze through them in order to read a superb novel.