While small towns may seem unassuming on the surface, they can also hold close-knit communities … and sometimes dark secrets. If you’re a fan of Rachel Bilson and her “Hart of Dixie” series (binge it on Netflix!), you’ll love these books set in small towns.

From a small island village in Ireland, to a rural community in Minnesota, the towns where these books take place are sometimes just as important to the story as the characters in the book. If you’re looking for a charming small town read that will remind you of “Hart of Dixie,” these are the books for you.

Books set in small towns

Small Town Books - Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon by Eoin Lane

In a small town in Ireland, Colin’s life changed forever at age six when he was the only one to return from swimming with his father. From then on, he succumbed to a deep grief shared by his mother, Eileen, and he became mute. Eileen, aware of Colin’s vast talents in painting, encouraged him to pursue his art passions in order to cope with the tragic loss. She connects Colin with his father through their shared love and talents for painting. Years later, Colin meets Laura on holiday, and the two form a love connection. Their love for one another not only stirs intense emotions in Colin, but it also resurfaces his grief-stricken past. Colin aims to reach fulfillment in this novel of passion, love and overcoming tragedy.

Small Town Books - One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow

One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker

Two families are brought together by an unfortunate situation that has caused them to lose the men of their households in this compelling novel that takes place in Wyoming, 1876. The Bemis and Webber families have been dependent on one another for survival for as long as they can recall. But distressing events unfold, and suddenly, Cora Bemis’ husband is sent to jail, while another man is deceased. Now, both left without a man of the house, Cora and Nettie Mae must put aside their tensions and rely on each other to come together as a family. Meanwhile, their children Belulah and Clyde form a love connection that tests the fabric of their relationships and trust within the family. 

Want more small town reads? Try these books to read if you loved “Gilmore Girls.”

Books in small towns - Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The classic novel from John Steinbeck narrates the journey of George and Lennie, two migrant ranch workers who move from various workplaces throughout the Great Depression. As they continue finding work in temporary places throughout the Salinas Valley, they work as hard as possible toward the nearly-impossible American dream. But Lennie’s slowness thwarts their plans and becomes an obstacle in finally reaching their only goal. 

Books in small towns - Of Mice and Men

My Sister’s Lies by S.D. Robertson

In this harrowing novel where a woman must come to terms with a secret from her past that might just ruin her life. Hannah is living ideally with a husband, the perfect job and no children. The only downside is her falling out with her sister, Diane, who hasn’t spoken to her in ten years. Hannah sees hope in rekindling this familial relationship when Diane elects her daughter Mia to stay with the couple. But when Diane does not return for Mia, Hannah begins to worry, and a secret that Diane holds is threatening her very being. 

Books in Small Towns - Murmur of Bees

The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia

A small Mexican town is shaken by the discovery of an abandoned baby under a bridge. Simonopio was found covered in bees and disfigured, believed by a majority of his town to be a cursed child. Fortunately, he is welcomed by Francisco and Beatriz Morales who adopt him as their own. As Simonopio continues to grow, his gifts develop and he is able to see visions of what’s to come. Simonopio is protected by the swarm of bees that blanketed him as an infant as he strives to protect his family from anticipated threats. 

If You Must Know by Jamie Beck

Amanda Foster and Erin Turner may be sisters, but they are polar opposites. Amanda is a rule-follower, trying her hardest in her work and upkeeping her role as a picturesque mother and wife. Erin fills her time with her passions, living a less conventional life focusing on music in honor of their late father as well as her incredibly new bath-product business. The two live in coexistence in their hometown of Potomac Point, barely remembering one another’s presence. However, the truth comes out after a series of lies that wreaks chaos on their family dynamic and forces the sisters to come together to confront truths about their family entirely. 

The Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens

Joe Talbert Jr, who has never met his namesake, is shaken to the core after his job with Associated Press leads him to finding a murder story about a man named Joseph Talbert. From then on, begins the investigation into whether or not this man is his father, which takes him to a rural town in southern Minnesota. As Joe takes a further look into the case, he discovers that Joseph Talbert was a highly despised man due to his habits of cheating, threatening his own daughter and using up all of his late wife’s inheritance. While Joe’s mother attempts to make her way back into Joe’s life, Joe must piece the gaps of his family’s history back together, possibly at the expense of his own life.

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