Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome to Harmony-Jodi Thomas

Welcome to Harmony
Jodi Thomas
Berkley, Jun 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN 9780425235102

Although they named the town they established Harmony, the three Texas families who founded the place should have named it acrimony as the McAllen, Matheson, and Truman brood detest one another. They compete with one another over who should run Harmony while Sheriff Alexandra McAllen goes on drinking binges every Saturday night with fire chief Hank Matheson always nearby to clean her up

Teen Reagan worked in a nursing home where she enjoyed hearing elderly resident Beverly Truman tell stories about her hometown of Harmony. When Beverly dies, Regan decides to relocate in Harmony; borrowing the late woman’s surname. Beverly’s brother Jeremiah realizes almost immediately upon meeting Reagan that they do not share bloodlines, but decides not to expose her. Instead he allows her to keep her ruse as he welcomes her into the family.

However, the divided town must come together as a prairie fire bears down on it. Especially the three leading rival families or Harmony will be no more.

This fine small-town portrayal will remind readers of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Grove although Harmony has its own stamp, that of talented Jodi Thomas. The story line is mostly a sweet concoction of townsfolk welcoming outsiders like Reagan and readers. The prairie fire and the Sheriff’s drinking problem add tension and issues to an engaging but otherwise sugary portrait of a small Texas town.

Harriet Klausner

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