Member Reviews

Thank you @jenniferbardsleyauthor @amazonpublishing @letstalkbookspromo for my gifted copy and my spot on the tour. My thoughts are my own.

After reading the publisher’s description, I was expecting a light-hearted, laugh-out-loud romcom, but this novel turned out to be much more! I would describe it as women’s fiction with an intriguing storyline, lots of drama, and a slow-burn (clean) romance.

SHORT SYNOPSIS:
When Peter Marshal’s sister promotes him as the town’s most eligible bachelor in her women’s Facebook group, he is suddenly surrounded by women vying for his attention. But the unsuspecting Peter only has eyes for his co-worker - single mom and widow, Noelle Walters.

Meanwhile, Noelle finds herself secretly attracted to Peter, but with the newfound competition, she is not sure how to proceed.

MY THOUGHTS: This entertaining story alternates between the third person perspectives of Peter and Noelle, with a humorous Facebook chat of the Skagiton Moms included after each chapter. The characters are likable and well-developed. Both Peter and Noelle have traumatic backstories with deep-set issues (extremist father, male domination, parent abandonment, extreme fundamentalist church practices, ) that the author addresses throughout the story. The small town atmosphere is perfect, with a couple of smaller storylines going on as well. Noelle has strong opinions about organic farming vs. regular farming, dairy products, and food sensitivities.

All of this was beautifully orchestrated into an enjoyable read! Read this if you enjoy women’s fiction, small town stories full of drama and colorful characters, and slow-burn romance.

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I finished this book with mixed feelings. The setting is a small town and at the beginning of each chapter is a FB chat group called the Skegiton Moms. The story begins with Vanessa humorously posting her younger brother is still single and listing out places to run into him. Her brother is Peter Marshall. He is a successful real estate agent and clueless why women are showing up to sit with him at breakfast in the diner. He only has eyes for his co-worker Noelle Walters. She has been a widow for three years and has a sweet son who is six. Noelle was raised living off the grid by a paranoid, conservative, fundamentalist father who wants her to return to the farm and help care for he and his wife.

This is more general (women’s) fiction with arc romance. There is some light and fun moments. But when Noelle’s father calls her “a selfish bitch” it was jarring and I almost DNF’d the book. I pressed on and it rode the waves of mean girls antics (led by Vanessa) jealousy, and preachy politics. The negatives were off set by the kind MC’s and other caring towns people. Peter is a lovable golden retriever character who stays his same supportive self. Noelle get an arc learning to set boundaries with her wacko family. The romance only goes as far as kissing and the beginnings of a HEA.

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for an ARC and I’m leaving a voluntary review.

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DNF @ 20%

I liked the addition of the FB mom group...but unfortunately, that was about it. The writing felt too stilted and choppy and I couldn't connect with anyone or anything.

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𝘍𝘶𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘵!

I love a small town setting and this story was just delightful. It was sweet, it was fun, it had lovable characters and I ended up with a smile. What more can you ask for?

Thank you @suzyapprovedbooktours for this tour invite.

𝗧𝗮𝗹𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝗼𝘄𝗻 by @jenniferbardsleyauthor releases April 11, 2023.

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I loved Noelle and Peter separately but even more together. I loved seeing Peter interact with his nephews and David, Noelle’s son. He was so caring and you could tell he truly loved spending time with them. Noelle had a hard childhood and you could tell by the way she interacted with people when certain topics came up. I loved seeing her make new friends and get the confidence to share her story. Even the supporting characters had growth. I did not like Peter’s sister Vanessa at first. The way she treated Noelle over one mistake just rubbed me the wrong way. The Skagiton mom group was a nice addition. It had drama but also set up the next chapter nicely. It gave information quickly and allowed more focus on Peter and Noelle during the story. This was such a cute read that hit me in the feels and I did not want to put it down.

Thank you @jenniferbardsleyauthor @netgalley and @suzyapprovedbooktours for the gifted book.

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They’re coworkers, friends, and confidants, but Peter Marshal has always pined for a little something more with Noelle Walters. As a widow and a single mom, Noelle prefers to play it safe, and falling for Peter was never part of the plan.

I absolutely enjoyed this story. There were so many characters involved, hilarious text threads on the Facebook group, Skagiton Moms, and heartwarming moments sprinkled throughout.

There were all sorts of families, people from different backgrounds, belief systems and ideologies. Still, they all found a way to work together and support each other in the small town 😄 It definitely wasn't without it's share of drama though 😂

Noelle and Peter's story was beautiful to see. They were open with each other and never let miscommunication come in between what they had going. Peter was supportive, having her back but still letting her pave her own way and stand up for herself in the face of adversity and toxic family situations. I loved that 🥰

Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for an ARC.

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𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆
Noelle is a lurker on the Skegiton Moms Facebook group and when she sees that Vanessa has posted about her brother Peter being single and eligible on the group, Noelle’s not sure what she feels. Noelle is a widow with a 6 year old son who grew up with a fundamentalist father. When her late husband Jeff married her, she was finally able to get a birth certificate and access traditional healthcare. She’s pulled herself out of her upbringing and is now a successful real estate broker. Peter, her colleague and Vanessa’s brother, has feelings for Noelle, but he isn’t sure she’s ready to be in a relationship. Maybe Vanessa’s posts will bring them together?

𝗠𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀
At surface level, this is a story of a widowed single mom getting ready to open her heart again but wow there is so much else to unpack in this story. Noelle is forced to confront her own insecurities, feel confident enough to visit a hairdresser for the first time. Peter confronts Vanessa when he believes she has been wrong about Noelle. He delves into his own past, feelings of abandonment about his mother’s disappearance, how he and Vanessa worked at fish plants in Alaska to save money. Sibling love and support. It’s a beautiful story that starts each chapter quoting a Facebook thread. You see all the support the women give each other, how the cattiness but also the sense of community is played out. An entertaining read 📖❤️📖

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The Facebook chats at the beginning of each chapter were beyond annoying. The storyline he likes a single mother who sister can't stand.

1 star read. I stopped reading after a 30% into the book. DNF



*****************I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion.******************

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This was the right book at the right time: I needed to read something light and entertaining, I loved the setting and the characters and wish I could be there as I pictured the place like that on the cover.
Sweet story, quirkyand fleshed out characters.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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A delightful romance featuring a heartwarming look at small town life with all of its humorous foibles and charms. A story of unexpected friendships, second chances at love, and great pancakes! Bardsley's effervescent storytelling is a gift!

Jennifer Bardsley has delivered yet another wonderfully sweet and funny romance set in the PNW, this time about young, widowed mother Noelle and the most eligible bachelor in Skagiton, Peter, who just happens to be her co-worker and best friend. When these two realtors realize their true feelings for one another, sparks fly and jealousies simmer in the local Facebook moms' group, where Peter's sister relentlessly plays matchmaker for her handsome bachelor brother. Full of humor and heart!

Thanks to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher for the Advance Review Copy

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I have a mixed feeling about this story. I liked that the main characters will finally stand up for herself in front of the mean group and that she went for what she wanted in the end. But it’s so hard to connect with any of them actually. The romance is so slow and disjointed at times, they don’t spend that much time together to grow as a couple as i would want to and while the mom groups are hilarious, it all became a bit too much for me personally.

Grateful to the publisher for my review copy

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I really wanted to like Talk of the Town because the premise sounded so freaking cute, but I couldn't connect with the author's writing style, and ended up not finishing.

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With Talk of the Town, Jennifer Bardsley has spun another sweet love story with emotional depth and charm. In this heartwarming tale, love brews over morning coffee for a single mom and her handsome coworker—while his sister meddles via social media posts that are sprinkled between chapters, complete with all-too-real comment section battles. Bardsley has established herself as a powerful voice in small-town romance, and her latest novel truly shines in its main character Noelle and her journey of self-discovery. Noelle is trying to support her son following her husband’s tragic death, while also struggling to break free from controlling parents who raised her in an oppressive, isolating household. Readers get to see Noelle slowly gain confidence and ultimately take charge of her life—with the support and kindness of Peter, but also the encouragement of the women in her life, especially her beloved mother-in-law, Joyce. Talk of the Town is a story both heartfelt and empowering, and it will stick with you long after you read the last page.

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After Peter’s sister tries to find him a girlfriend via her local Moms group on Facebook, Peter’s co-worker Noelle realizes SHE wants to be the girl for him. Lucky for her, he’s been pining for her for years. This super slow burn had tons of potential, but unfortunately fell pretty flat for me.

The author's writing style just made it hard for me to connect with the lead characters on an emotional level, and their love story was too slow and surface level for most of the book for me to get invested.

While the moms group Facebook posts were such a cute idea between each chapter, the catty mean girls in the town were so... mean... That I was really uncomfortable most of the time reading the comments sections.

Noelle’s character growth was easily the best part of the book and I liked the last few chapters the most (when she's learned boundaries and standing up for herself and gets more likeable).

In the end I think this author just isn't the right fit for me!

Thank you to Netgalley and Montlake for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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Light-hearted, funny and realistic, Talk of the Town by Jennifer Bardsley allows readers to see many different women with different opinions and from different backgrounds interact with each other as they live in a small community.

Written in dual 3rd-person POV, the story follows Noelle, who navigates life in Skagiton with her son Daniel after the death of her husband Jeff. Her mother-in-law Joyce moves to live with her, and she finds herself falling for Peter Marshal. Peter is her co-worker who also started falling for her after she lost her husband. As the story progresses, we learn more about Noelle's past. From the start of the book, we learn that Noelle's father is a "nutjob", as the book describes along with other terms. AND HE IS. I really love how Noelle grew throughout the story to stand up for herself before her father when she would always keep quiet about her opinions before. It's great character growth!

I found the Skagiton Moms Facebook Group very fun. While there are people whom people may call Karens inside, watching the other mothers condemn them for their distasteful opinions is an enjoyable experience. Posts from the group appear at the end of each chapter, and I like how they relate to the story. The way women in the group help each other with even the most mundane things like how to get a stain off white clothing is also amazing. It's nice to see that while they may not agree with each other's views all the time, they still help each other, and even those with controversial views can have some good opinions as well.

I thought Vanessa was very funny and was rooting for Noelle and Vanessa to become friends throughout the story. Vanessa might come across as a mean bully, but in actuality, I think she's just blunt. And because of that, she just doesn't realise how much her actions have an impact on others, namely Noelle who got known as the peanut butter bomber after she mistakenly brought peanut butter cookies to the school when there was a no-nut policy. But it's great that she admitted her wrongs and started to treat Noelle better. Some people may find her upsetting regardless, though, so that's that. Read at your own risk! I think watching Noelle's personal growth would be worth withstanding Vanessa, though.

This book is not for everyone. There are some controversial opinions featured in this book, particularly backwards ideologies, that may upset people. They are placed there on purpose, of course, but they can be upsetting nonetheless. It's realistic, but reality can upset people. For people who want to read as an escape from reality, this is not the book for you. But if you're able to read with an open mind, you can give this a shot. I feel that mothers who live in a small community may be able to appreciate this book more, as they can relate better to the setting.

Thank you, NetGalley, for this book.

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Noelle’s background was complicated, and I think the author portrayed Noelle’s family through different lenses well. We first understood Noelle’s relationship to them (her mother specifically) through her own thoughts and phone calls, but we received a much clearer picture of her family through the comments of others. This was done subtly at first, and made it easy to empathize with Noelle. I felt for her when she said, “Her upbringing had clawed deep roots in her soul. Jeff had chopped down the weeds but had been unable to rip them out completely.”

Peter seemed a bit underdeveloped to me, but he treated Noelle so sweetly and did so much for Daniel and his nephews that I couldn’t help but love him. I felt like we didn’t get to really understand his emotions and personality like we did with Noelle. I also felt like there were some plot holes with his character development that simply didn’t add up (you’re telling me Vanessa never plopped a furniture catalogue down on his kitchen counter with furniture circled?). I also didn’t buy the reconciliation with his mother at the end, because we only knew the barest details of their relationship.

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Peter loves Noelle. Noelle is a widow clueless to Peter’s feelings. That is until Peter’s sister, Vanessa, writes an entry on the local mom’s Facebook page announcing open season for dating Peter. Now Peter is clueless about the single women after him. Noelle feels jealous. Game on.
A delightful story of love, of family (good and terrible), and of friendship. Very enjoyable.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Jennifer Bardsley has shown her readers once again that she understands the workings of a small town and the people who live there. In TALK OF THE TOWN, we have Peter and Nicolle, two real estate agents who work together on a daily basis. Peter has an interest in Nicolle and vice versa, but it takes a while for these two to come together. The story is told from both of their points of view, which is great, but the real humor is found in the third point of view, which showcases the posts and comments from a Mom's group. If you're looking for a humorous light read and characters who seem familiar (because you might know someone just like them!), this book is for you.

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Talk of the Town by Jennifer Bardsley is such a cute story.

I absolutely LOVED the characters.

I really like that the author included an epistolary factor by including a social media passage at the beginning of every chapter.

This was very authentic to what one would see in a facebook group or something similar.

I really enjoyed Noelle and Peter. They each had their own challenges.

The characters are well written and thought out.

Vanessa was a fun character too.

Such a fun, sweet romance that I really enjoyed!

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I really enjoyed the story and the concept of mixing the Facebook posts. Noelle and Peter were really cute characters but Vanessa drove me crazy and I couldn’t find it in me to like her which ultimately made it a hard book to enjoy.

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