Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Mornings on Main: A Small-Town Texas Novel Paperback – 2018
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"Compelling and beautifully written." �Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author on Ransom Canyon From the beloved and bestselling author of the Ransom Canyon and Harmony, Texas series comes a powerful, heartwarming story about generations of family and the ironclad bonds they forge When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she's definitely not planning to stay�except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family. Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer's. And now he has to close Eugenia's quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he's out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother's legacy? Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her. An inspiring family saga that asks us to consider what love and chosen family really mean.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Not gonna lie, I approached this book with reluctance. Another quilting/knitting/sewing mainstream wannabe literary novel? That trend started over a decade ago and largely died off two or three years ago. Another story about a small town with a quaint little B&B and a family dealing with a heartbreaking illness that’s slowly sucking the life out of the matriarch/patriarch? Another love story between a lonely drifter who claims not to need roots and a born-and-bred rock-steady nurturer? Not exactly new territory for Thomas, let alone the genres of mainstream and romance fiction.
Side note – Anyone ever notice that stories set in small towns tend to reflect on the past and be about family, friends, and tradition; and stories set in cities tend to look toward the future and be about crime, greed, and progress? Just interesting to think about.
Anyway, despite the been-there-done-that plot and aesthetic, despite the fact that I haven’t been too impressed with some of her latest Ransom Canyon novels, this is Jodi Thomas we’re talking about. I’ve enjoyed her books overall, including her older stand-alone women’s fiction novels, like Secrets of Rosa Lee and Twisted Creek, so I was up for giving Mornings on Main a chance.
The first chapter was entirely exposition and quite boring, and it worked hard to sell intrigue and mystery. Lucky for it, I already planned to continue. The first quarter had so little energy that reading it made me tired, but I became more interested with every character who was introduced—Connor, Gram, Joe, Sunnie. By about a quarter of the way through, when Sunnie had her fight with Derrick, I was invested in all the threads and wanted to know how they tied up. It was a slow burn, but the more I read, the more I wanted to read it, and the more I liked it.
I still could have done without the quilting, but I understand the “life is a tapestry” metaphor and how it represented the story. At the end when Gram got scared because she couldn’t remember anything and Jillian put Gram’s Lifetime Quilt around her shoulders and told her, “Your memories are all right here,” I balled like a baby. My grandpa died of Alzheimer’s just recently, and he hadn’t recognized me in years, so that moment hit me pretty hard.
I want to mention that I feel this was a low-key romance, not merely mainstream fiction. Everyone had a romance going on—Connor and Jillian, Gram and Joe (kind of), Sunnie and Reese, Mrs. Kelly and Mr. Murry, even the illicit affair between Jillian’s mom and dad. Jillian had an experience that changed her life, habits, and attitude (women’s fiction), but that experience was Connor (romance). But it’s debatable.
I liked who I was supposed to like and disliked who I was supposed to dislike—except when it came to Jillian’s mom and dad. They were complete gray areas, and I really, really appreciate them as realistically bittersweet characters—though, of course, I wish they could have had a happy ending. But this story wasn’t about them, and that’s why it’s okay that we didn’t really get closure on them. Jillian made her peace with them, realized she was not them, and let the enigma of them go; that was what mattered.
Jillian and Connor were rather bland, to be honest. I cared about them and wanted them to be happy, but I did a lot of skimming through their internal dialogue. Gram I enjoyed…but I loved Joe deeply. Another bittersweet character—he lived his own life, but he never strayed far from Gram, in heart and mind, if not in body. She was the only woman he’d ever truly loved, even though she loved and married his best friend. He never begrudged them that, and never pressured her to be more than friends once Benjamin was gone. He never seemed at all jealous, just happy that the two people dearest to him had been happy. Pointing out his gray shadow-line following Gram’s on her quilt was another moment that had me in tears. He was entirely selfless and endearingly quirky. I burst into a fresh round of tears just imagining the day when Gram will die, because I know he won’t live without her; he’ll die moments later so he can make sure she gets to heaven okay.
And then there was Reese, and oh, how I adored that boy. He has to be one of the most charismatic characters I think I’ve ever read. I deeply regret that he didn’t come in until about halfway through; I wanted to get to know him. To my surprise, I ended up liking Sunnie quite a bit, too; at first she seemed like an empty stereotypical angsty goth teenager, but she quickly developed a personality, and I related to her most. She was a very strong female character, but still possessed attitudes and notions appropriate to her age. I believe most if not all of my favorite quippy one-liners came from her POV. I would say I want a Sunnie and Reese book, but I don’t want to see them struggle. I just want to imagine them living HEA.
There were cheesy and overly poetic moments, usually in Jillian or Connor’s POV, as well as descriptions that screamed, “Look at me, I’m a writer!”; but that’s Thomas. The only part that really bothered me was the cheesefest that was last chapter; it was lazy, uncharacteristic, and, to me, unfulfilling. Connor should have let her go and resolved to stay like the solid block of respect and responsibility that he is, and Jillian should have left and realized she was stupid to give up all that she’d found. She should have cleaned out her secret hiding spot, leaving no trace for her father should he check; let him know how it feels to be left clueless and alone. He’d probably be proud of her for doing it. Then she should have gone back to Connor with evidence that she’d made Laurel Springs her permanent residence—mailbox, driver’s license, etc.—and declared something akin to: “I love you, and this town. Both are a part of me, and I want to be a part of them.” She could have, ironically, turned Gram’s shop into a travel agency, or maybe half and half.
There are several minor somewhat-but-not-completely irrelevant loose ends that I don’t feel I got closure on—Sunnie’s abandonment issues regarding her mother; whatever the hell happened to Derrick—he just beat up Reese and completely fell out of the narrative; Jillian’s secret hiding place and what she ended up doing job-wise—what were her ambitions? She didn’t really have any other than to drift, so when she decided to settle, what did she want to “settle” on doing?; and whether or not poor Connor ever did anything with his written material, which sounded like an entire career’s worth of work that was just sitting around collecting dust. Thinking about it makes my eye twitch.
I think that’s about it. It took me a while to get into it, but I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. I look forward to Thomas’ next book, another in the Ransom Canyon series titled Mistletoe Miracles, out in September (I can’t believe Christmas books come out that early).
What did I love about this book. First off I loved that it is a romance but it is also a realistic romance with characters that are totally believable. It's also a book about relationships, relationships between a man and a woman, relationships between women of all ages, and relationships between teenagers along with relationships between teenagers and adults.
The book will have you laughing and crying and rooting for small town America.
Ms. Thomas is a wordsmith that can't help but enthrall you with the words of this book.
I immediately felt sorry for Jillian and just how controled her life was, she had no real concept of how to interact with any one on a personal level. The fact that interaction was part of her job, showed how much she needed a family.
Connor Larady was another loner who kept too many balls in the air, just so he didn't have to stop and realize what he was losing. As always the characters have diverse personalities but they merge into a small town famiy who know and love each other, quirks and all.
A great and comforting read.