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Kelly Harms Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Kelly Harms is an American author of general fiction and romance books. She was born and raised in Iowa and attended Gustavus Adolphus College where she studied Biology and Violin Performance. After school, Kelly ventured into selling shoes and took an internship at the Utne Reader. Working in Utne Reader resulted in a decade in the publishing business. In 2013, she published her debut novel, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane.

She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband Chris, their son Griffin and fluffy dog Scout. When not either reading or writing a new book, you’ll find Kelly Harms in the water, on the water or near the water.

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane

What would you do if your name was Janine Brown and are informed that you won a dream house only to discover that there’s another Janine Brown in town? And that both of you had entered the contest?

The two Janine Browns in this story (to avoid confusion one goes by Nean and the other Janie) are two lost souls. They both presume that the dream house will be the solution to their problems such as picking the wrong guys, crippling shyness, and dead-end jobs. The two ladies think they won the house and Kelly Harms does a fantastic job in explaining how that could actually happen. One gets a visit from the television show representatives, and the other gets an email from the show producer detailing every requirement to take over the house.

What happens next after the two arrive in the same house is touching and funny in so different levels. How the Janine’s learn to face each other is fun to see with plenty of baking and cooking involved. You’ll learn who really won the house fairly early in the novel, but its story itself is about how the house brought these somewhat broken souls to heal. The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane is a clever read with a fresh and fantastic storyline. The three main characters in the book are the two Janine’s (Nean and Janey) and a great Aunt Midge; they are rich, diverse, and uniquely crafted. The narration alternates between Janie and Nean, which is very important in this novel. This type of narration allows the reader to get inside the minds of each character and get a better glimpse and understanding of their thoughts, emotions, motives, and actions. It brings the characters to life and also allows the reader to distinguish them.

According to an interview published online, the author admits that the premise of the book is as a result of obsessive viewing of the HGTV network where a Dream Home is given away every year. She further explains that the characters in the story are all seeds of her secret version crafted into full-blown people. We all have a careless side, shy side, and a daring side. The three women in the story are expressions of the author, but as the story gets deeper, she lets them on their own.

The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay

Kelly Harms certainly has the gift for transporting her fans to picturesque locations to which her novels are set. In her debut novel, she transported us to the sunny coast of Maine. Now in her second novel, The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay, the author transports to northern Wisconsin’s snowy woods where we meet her heroine, Lily. She is traveling to secure a divorce from Ben, the man she regretfully married a decade earlier in Las Vegas.
Like the characters in Mrs. Kelly’s first novel, Lily is bluntly a mess. Despite being in her early thirties, she hasn’t pieced her life together. Her Chicago apartment rent is overdue, her career as a painter is in ruins, and she is in a not so good relationship with an art dealer. Although she is might be messed up, Lily is a loveable one. You will laugh with her as she gets herself caught into some situations. Lily is like that family member or friend who can’t seem to get it together and is always calling you when in a crisis. When Lily arrives in Minnow Bay, Wisconsin, where her man Ben lives, she hopes to procure divorce paperwork. She plans on taking a new version of herself once the divorce is finalized. But it turns out that Ben has become recluse and has since moved to a remote cabin after failing in the tech world. He rarely talks to the family members and his friends in town let alone a strange woman showing up in his cabin without notice.

It takes several visits and time as well for Lily to persuade him to let her inside and have a real adult conversation. In the meantime, she becomes good friends with the keeper of the place where’s she’s staying and a local gallery owner. With their help, Lily realizes that the small local town is richer than she ever imagined and inspires her art talent in a new way. As she gets to know Ben better, she is surprised to discover that their long-ago chemistry is much alive.

Readers will root with the heroine as she tries to answer the question of whether to continue with her stay in Minnow Bay or take a flight back to Chicago. Whether to build on her old chemistry with Ben and start a whole new life or return back to art dealer she left behind in the city. Throughout the story, we get to see Lily trying to find her lost soul and trying to find a place in the society where she truly belongs. Through her stay in Minnow, Bay, she becomes passionate, stronger, and a more creative person. It’s funny to see her come out of her shell as well as many other Minnow Bay citizens too. The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay is a great summer read, thanks to the warm northern setting that will keep you cool at the beach or pool, and the heroine’s antics will send you into a laughing spree.

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