Jen Wixson captures rural Maine in her novels

When Linda and I met Jennifer Wixson and her husband Stan at the Islandport Press Christmas party, I recognized her name right away, even though I have not read her popular novels.

So of course, we gathered all four of her novels, which she called The Sovereign Series. From the very first page of the first novel, Hens and Chickens, I was hooked. Jen is a very good writer and not only is the story compelling but I liked the way she works in lots of important messages from the values of rural Maine to her faith.

The story is set in a rural Maine town called Sovereign. Two women leave corporate America and move to Maine to raise chickens and sell organic eggs. There’s lots more to this story, including romance, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I will say that Jen’s characters are memorable, and actually describe some of my friends in my own rural town of Mount Vernon.

Jen and her husband Stan are farmers and she’s also an itinerant Quaker minister. I love the way she refers to her husband as the Cranberry Man. They also raise Scottish Highland cattle. Jen is a Maine native, and I’m sure that helped her capture the rural Maine so well that I know and love.

I want to share with you her description of Sovereign. “I must point out that there is no longer a town center in Sovereign, so if you are expecting to see a country village with charming shops and brick houses such as in neighboring Unity, for example, you’ll be disappointed. For public buildings the town of Sovereign now boasts only four: the post office, the elementary school, the Union Church, and the volunteer fire department… There is also Gilpin’s Store, which acts as a glue that holds the community together.” Wow! Sovereign IS Mount Vernon!

Amongst the very real characters in the novel, Lila stands out both for her tragic childhood, her courage in moving to rural Maine to purchase an old dilapidated farm, and her discovery of true love. I don’t dare tell you more, except that you will love this novel.

Linda and I are going to read Jen’s four novels in order. Linda has just started Hens and Chickens and I’ve moved on to novel number two, Peas, Beans & Corn. This morning I read just the first two chapters and it looks like I’m going to have to change my plans for the day to keep reading!


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.