What is it about small towns?
I mean, seriously, Hallmark has basically made an entire network out of small-town stories. And then there are the zillions of books plots that involve either fictional or real-life towns from all over the country…and even the world.
I grew up in a small-town and LOVE writing about them, but I’ve always been interested why there’s this large appeal. Before we talk about some of the reasons I think small-towns are a BIG hit, let’s name a few ‘classic’ small towns:
Jan Karon’s Mitford.
Mayberry (one of my favorites because I was raised just outside of it)
Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford
Meryton in Pride and Prejudice or Highbury in Emma
Middlemarch by George Elliot
And, of course, there’s Agatha Christie, Sarah Addison Allen, LM Montgomery, Robyn Carr, Debbie Macomber, and so many MORE!!!!
So…why are small towns so appealing? (My opinions here)
- To steal from the Cheers theme – we wanna go where everybody knows our names- small towns bring a sense of community to them and along with that…a sense of belonging. There’s just something sweet about them, like a perfectly wrapped package for a delightful romance 😊
- Quaint – small towns have a charm. There are unique traditions, special buildings, friendly smiles, and welcome folks. (at least, that’s what we see in most of our fictional places 😉…but I’ve found it to be true in a lot of the real-life ones too)
Quirky/unique characters – it’s true, unique characters happen EVERYWHERE, but they seem to be particularly highlighted in small towns. Oh my! There’s the resident sage. Or the local busybody. Or the quirky neighbor.
- Scenery – most of our small town (whether in the grand west, on the coast, or in the mountains) bring a view with them. White picket fences, cobblestone streets, lantern-lit walkways, a village nestled at the base of snow-crested mountains
- Memorable places to come back and visit again. For some reason, most of these small town settings create an environment of ‘home’ just by the atmosphere. As readers or viewers we step into a world we feel like we ‘know’. There’s a great deal of sweet predictability that appeals to our love that goes back to #1…belonging and home.
Okay, so tell me what you love about small towns? Can you name some books and authors who celebrate the coziness of small towns?