2022 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · romance

New Release Book Review: A Town Like Clarence by Stella Quinn

Title: A Town Like Clarence

Author: Stella Quinn

Published: July 6th 2022

Publisher: HQ Fiction – AU

Pages: 448

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 5 stars

When Kirsty Fox goes on the run to escape a crash-and-burn at work, she finds a family she didn’t know she needed… A witty and warm rural romance perfect for readers of Rachael Johns and Alissa Callen.

They say a change is as good as a holiday. Joey Miles is hoping so after leaving the city behind, his stockbroking career in flames, to embrace a brand-new challenge: farming. But while returning to his hometown somehow feels right, he’s got a long way to go to get back on his feet financially and the last thing he needs is the townsfolk meddling in his love life (or lack thereof).

To the townsfolk of Clarence, Joey has always been the ultimate tragic romantic hero – and it’s time this hero had a happy ever after…

But Kirsty Fox is only in Clarence to dig up information about a World War II figure from her family’s past – she has no intention of sticking around and finding out if Joey is as adorable as he seems. Kirsty doesn’t stick around. Ever.

But when the locals of Clarence spy the chemistry between these two, a secret item gets added to the agenda of the next town committee meeting: matchmaking. This warm-hearted community will pull every trick in the book to show Joey and Kirsty everything they’ve unwittingly been searching for is right under their noses… What could possibly go wrong?

Chicken wrangling, an adorable kid niece, a secret in a cow shed and a big-hearted town full of meddlesome wannabe poets… This new romance from Australian author Stella Quinn is a knockout.

Review:

A Town Like Clarence captivated me completely with its easy charm, true-blue Aussie setting and delightful cast. A story of family ties, history, secrets, the past, trauma, addiction, escape, love, care, community, support and connections, A Town Like Clarence is a book that filled my heart with immense happiness.

Meet Joey Miles. This city-based stockbroker has exchanged his high flying life in the city for a new career in farming. For Joey, this is a sort of homecoming, as he returns to his hometown in the hope that he can recover personally and financially from his career crisis. But the local townsfolk have a very close eye on Joey and they soon set up a secret matchmaking committee to help this new farmer find love.  Joey isn’t looking for love but all that changes when he meets Kirsty Fox. The tiny town of Clarence welcomes Kirsty into its supportive arms as she searches for information about her family’s past.  Kirsty’s visit to Clarence is meant to be fleeting, but as she digs further into the past Kirsty is drawn to this town and its local hero. Kirsty’s natural instinct is to take off and head for a new town as soon possible, but will she be tempted to stay put in Clarence?

A Town Like Clarence is my first experience of Stella Quinn’s writing. I immediately found this award-winning romance author’s narrative style warm, engaging, welcoming and fun. A Town Like Clarence is exactly the type of book that I needed after a huge weekend. It proved to be the most relaxing and entertaining read I have encountered for some time. I enjoyed this one so much that I abandoned my planned review book schedule and I pulled Stella Quinn’s previous book from my toppling shelves to read immediately after A Town Like Clarence!

A Town Like Clarence is Australian small rural romance done right. With a typical rural backdrop, a tragic romantic hero, an independent spirit style heroine, plenty of past issues, meddling townsfolk and some cracking animal characters, Stella Quinn’s novel ticked all the boxes for this reader. With this fantastic formula, A Town Like Clarence soon bewitched me with its gentle country charm. I was completely fascinated by the heroine’s family story and the legacy attached to her investigations in Clarence. Likewise, Joey’s life prior to returning to Clarence is explored extremely well by Stella Quinn. I don’t think you could have asked for two better lead characters to take us on such a memorable rural journey.

Joey and Kirsty are supported by a wonderful set of townsfolk. Filled with personality, interest and high rural colour, I loved getting to know this genuine bunch of people. I really warmed to animal characters in this tale and the committee members of Clarence. I loved all their little tricks, plots and set-ups, it was just one great Aussie country romp! On a more serious note, Quinn tackles some important issues that will reach many readers. From loss, trauma, addiction and trust, this novel covers difficult ground with a strong sense of respect. Thanks to the credible dialogue and engaging writing style there are moments that will make you shed a tear, laugh with hilarity, or have your heart pumping wildly! Hats off to the inclusion of the highly memorable Bush Poetry Muster. What a creative community building initiative and its inclusion in the novel is utterly priceless. I also completely mesmerised by the war story aspect involving a suitcase, an old shed and a plane. What a fantastic side history storyline. However, it is the romance that lifted A Town Like Clarence to five-star victory for me. The leads deserved to be together and get their happy ever after!

What a wonderful introduction to the work of Queensland based author Stella Quinn’s work.  A Town Like Clarence receives a five-star rating from me. Pick this one up without delay!

A Town Like Clarence by Stella Quinn was published on 6th July 2022 by HQ Fiction – AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of A Town Like Clarence, Stella Quinn, visit here.

*I wish to thank Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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