There are many reasons why small town romances are so appealing. You don’t just get a standard happily-ever-after; you also get a chance to fall in love with a nice town while the couple falls in love with each other.
Another appeal is that small town romances tend to be series, so the author explores more of the town with each book. As you follow the story of a new couple, you get to visit with your old friends from the last several books, and find out how everyone is doing. Cozy mysteries often offer the same long-term rewards!
And every once in a while, there’s a “read the book, visit the town” opportunity.
Doesn’t the photo to the left look like the perfect setting for a small-town romance? A tiny, picture-perfect bit of Bavaria in the middle of Washington ski country, ripe with opportunities for love and friendship.
Romance author Sheila Roberts certainly thought so when she modeled Icicle Falls, the setting for her current small-town romance series, on lovely Leavenworth Washington: a town full of Bavarian charm just an hour’s drive away from Seattle.
Roberts has set three stories in Icicle Falls so far. The first one had one of the more perplexing titles I’ve seen recently. It was Better Than Chocolate. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a lot of days when very few things seemed better than chocolate!
The story is about saving the town by resurrecting the local industry, which is, you guessed it, a chocolate factory. Yum! Along the way, the heroine involves every business in town in putting together an entire chocolate festival (that Bavarian-themed background is perfect!) all in the six weeks between Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
There are some awesome themes about family love (the heroine has to stop being the family hero and learn how to bring out the best in everyone) and about letting go of your high school grudges and living in the now. It’s warm and sweet (slightly gooey) and the town gets saved and amidst a rewarding love story.
Roberts has returned to Icicle Falls in Merry Ex-Mas and What She Wants. In her return trips, we’ve gotten to know more about the folks in this marvelous town. There is always a love story, but these books boast enjoyable stories of remarkable and supportive friendships.
Merry Ex-Mas is a great book about women’s friendships, especially when, too many of their ex-husbands come back for Christmas. One is still a jerk, one manages to finally make peace, and one gets a happy ending. But the women support each other with tears and laughter along the way.
Even more fun is What She Wants. A bunch of poker-playing guys want to find out what women want. We’ve all heard that one before, right? These guys do their research by reading romance novels…with hilarious, but amazingly successful, results.
Icicle Falls sounds like a pretty great place to visit. Perhaps Leavenworth is, too?