Book Review: A Sunday Kind of Love by Dorothy Garlock

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The empress of small-town Americana novels is back with Sunday Kind of Love. Gwen Foster is living in 1950s Chicago with her lawyer boyfriend, Kent. And now, she’s taking him to Buckton, Indiana, to see her parents. What she doesn’t realize is that Kent is planning on telling her she’s getting married… to him. And that’s just the start of their problems; Kent is from a wealthy, traditional family, and his attitude is that women should be at home in the kitchen. When he doesn’t ask Gwen to marry him, she starts to see the end of their relationship. It doesn’t help that Gwen’s deepest longing is to become a writer, and Kent will have nothing to do with that.

Hank Ellis is Buckton’s pariah. Accused of killing his brother in a horrible auto accident, Hank can’t catch a break in town. People shun him, start fights with him, or generally go out of their way to show him scorn and derision. When Gwen—after a heroic rescue—ignores the town’s, and her parents’, chastisement of Hank, they begin to piece together new lives, and eventually secrets are revealed and relationships forged.

Sunday Kind of Love follows Garlock’s familiar pattern: girl has boy, girl meets dashing rogue, girl falls in love with new boy. It’s typical romance writing, but in Garlock’s deft hands and writing mastery you’ll know the outcome but enjoy the stroll there. For historical fiction fans, this story resonates with Gwen’s flowering as a strong, independent young woman in the socially rigid 1950s. She’s an early feminist in Kent’s staunchly conservative world. It’s Gwen’s personality and drive that will pull readers through to the end, championing her newfound freedom and enjoying Garlock’s small-town America.

Originally appeared in: Historical Novels Review, Nov. 2016

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