Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Smitten" Review

Welcome to Smitten, Vermont.

With the help of four friends, it’s about to become the most romantic town in America.

(From the Publisher): The proposed closing of the lumber mill comes as unwelcome news for the citizens of Smitten. How will the town survive without its main employer? A close-knit group of women think they’ve got just the plan to save Smitten. They’ll capitalize on its name and turn it into a tourist destination for lovers—complete with sweet shops, a high-end spa, romantic music on the square, and cabins outfitted with fireplaces and hot tubs.

But is this manly town ready for an influx of romantically-minded guests?

Country music sensation Sawyer Smitten, the town’s hometown hero, wants to help by holding his own wedding there on Valentine’s Day. And little Mia’s lavender wreaths hang all over town as a reminder that faith can work miracles.

Along the way, four women spearheading the town’s transformation—energetic Natalie, sophisticated Julia, graceful Shelby, and athletic Reese—get in the spirit by reviving their own love lives.

Join best-selling inspirational romance authors (and real-life BFFs) Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for an inspiring stay at the (soon-to-be) most romantic town on the eastern seaboard.

One visit . . . and you’ll be smitten too.

About the Authors:

Colleen Coble
RITA-Award winning and bestselling author of romantic suspense including the Mercy Falls, Lonestar and Rock Harbor series!

Denise Hunter
Drummer, mother of three, and the acclaimed author of Christian romance novels including A Cowboy's Touch and Sweeetwater Gap!

Kristin Billerbeck
Two time winner of the ACFW book of the Year Award and author of A Billion Reasons Why and What a Girl Wants!

Diann Hunt
Celebrated author of romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction who loves her family, chocolate, her friends, her dog and...well, chocolate.

My Take:

Last fall I attended a Women of Faith event in Indianapolis, and, while there, I got the opportunity to meet author Colleen Coble. She was so nice to me and even signed the novel that I was currently reading – The Lightkeeper’s Daughter. When I told her I wrote book reviews on my blog, especially Christian fiction, she arranged for me to receive advanced copies of two of her novels: Lonestar Angel and Smitten. I was so excited to receive these signed advanced copies!

The novel Smitten is actually four novellas, written by four different authors, in one volume. I have to say the I was concerned that the writing styles would be so different that the whole thing would seem disjointed, but this was not the case. I thought the overall story of the four women trying to save the town of Smitten kept a good cohesiveness going in the book. While I have not read any previous novels by the other authors (only Colleen Coble), I thought that all four authors’ writing styles were similar enough that the book felt smooth and was easy to read.

It was also fun getting to see the story from the different characters’ points of view. They each had their own pasts and their own insecurities about relationships to work through before they could take steps of growth and be the women they were created by God to be.

I’m not sure if I could even say which of the four novellas was my favorite. They were all unique in their stories while still contributing to the overall story arch of saving the town of Smitten. I related to Reese’s personality; Shelby’s relationship with her father towards the end was heartwarming; Julia’s ability to realize that her marriage did not need to end up just like her parents’ was cheering; and Natalie’s never-ending quest for the perfect gluten-free cookie was hysterical!

Overall this novel about Smitten, Vermont, was just a sweet story. I will say that it sometimes did get a bit ‘mushy’ for my taste (Fairy-tale-happily-ever-after…Sigh…), but that is just my opinion. Each story was good, as was the overall story – it just was a bit syrupy-sweet at times. (But, of course, we are in Vermont!)

I enjoyed reading about these four women trying to save the town of Smitten, Vermont. It was a nice read and perfect to read leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Be sure to check out the website for Smitten here:

I will give Smitten … 3 ½ BookWorms.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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