Famous in a Small Town

Viola Shipman

Graydon House


St. Louis assistant principal Becky Thatcher reaches the age of forty and has the worst birthday surprise of her life. Boyfriend Matt proposes not marriage, but a joint investment in a vacation home fund. Becky suddenly realizes that humdrum would be too exciting a term for their relationship. Determined to break out of her boring life, Becky dumps Matt and easily persuades her best friend Q to accompany her on a road trip. Leaving her shocked parents behind, the pair head to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, site of so many happy childhood memories with Becky’s grandparents. Here they encounter a slice of Pure Michigan—the Very Cherry General Store and Post Office.

Few authors can match Viola Shipman’s feel for American small-town life…

The store’s owner Mary Jackson is eighty years old and a legend in the small town of Good Hart, center of the regions’ cherry growing industry. Her cherry pit spitting feat of 1958 broke a Guinness world record that stands to this day. Yet Mary has waited all her life for one who will take up her family legacy and keep the store’s ownership in female hands. When she and Becky meet quite by chance, it looks like the moment has finally arrived. Mary’s grandson Ollie is immediately suspicious of the brash stranger who’s dropped into his grandmother’s life. Becky feels like she’s come home, that her encounter with Mary was meant to be. Can she overcome Ollie’s suspicions and her parents’ fears to live her life the way she was meant to live?


Famous in a Small Town is a novel with a big heart. Few authors can match Viola Shipman’s feel for American small-town life, especially Michigan with its distinctive characters and settings.