8 December 2011

Review: Smitten: Love is on the way (Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, Kristin Billerbeck and Denise Hunter)

The main employer in Smitten, Vermont, is closing down, leaving a town full of peple wondering about their futures in a beauty spot none want to leave. Four friends come up with the idea of trading on the town's name, and turning it into a romantic getaway destination for honeymooners and couples. But the men of the town are not in favour of the idea.

Natalie: Birthday Wishes by Colleen Coble:
Most of the single women in town have a crush on Carson, but not Natalie Mansfield. She knows (or thinks she knows) something uncomplimentary about Carson and her sister…

Julia: Small Town, Big Dreams by Kristin Billerbeck:
Julia Bourne's dream is to open an upscale spa in Smitten, like the one she used to work for in New York before she came home to care for her sick mother. She seeks the assistance of her ex-boss, who immediately sees the potential of the Smitten Grill building. Neither Julia nor the new tenant, Zac Grant, see the vision, so the sparks begin to fly...

Shelby: You’ve Got a Friend by Diann Hunt
Shelby Evans is a seamstress and the owner of Social Graces, where she teaches young girls how to become ladies. A house fire means that she can no longer teach her classes in her home, so close friend Nick Majors steps in to offer her a location and help get her house in order…

Reese: All Along by Denise Hunter
Reese Mackenzie hired old friend Griffen Parker to help renovate what will become her outdoor outfitters shop. But then she realises that her feelings towards him are not exactly friendship…

The stories feature long-time Smittenmen who have been in love for years, not saying anything for their own reasons, but waiting for the women to figure it out. They reminded me of us and God, about how He has always loved us with an unfailing love, but He has to wait for us to realise and do something about it. I liked the fact that the couples were all older (by which I mean they are in their thirties).

I especially liked the fact that all of the couples had known each other for some time before the romance bug hit. While I can see the appeal of meeting and falling in love with the new guy (or girl) in town, I do agree that the best marriages are built on a foundation of God and friendship, not just attraction. I also think this is a much better message for young women to be hearing as they search for their future partners.

I do enjoy these romance novella collections. They are a lighthearted, quick read, great for a change after reading something with a bit more depth, or as an escape from the pressures of life, and Smittenis guaranteed to make you smile. The four authors are close friends and brainstorming partners in real life, and this shows in this collection, in the personalities of the characters and the consistency of the plots. All in all, an excellent read, even though the sequel is not due out until December 2012!

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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