Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, & Denise Hunter

Our Rating:  4 Stars
Synopis from Thomas Nelson:  Four friends devise a plan to turn Smitten, Vermont, into the country's premier romantic getaway-and each finds her own true love along the way.
With Smitten Lumber closing, residents wonder if their town can stay afloat. Then four friends and local business owners-Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese--decide the town is worth saving. How will they do it? They'll turn Smitten into a honeymoon destination!
As Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese work to save the town, each discovers romance in her own life. Meanwhile, the faith of a little child reminds the whole town what it means to have real faith in the God who is the always and forever Love.
Discover a novel written by four of Christian fiction's most popular romance novelists- friends in real life who've drawn an amazing story of four friends! Includes a Reading Group Guide as well as "Conversation over Coffee with the Authors".
Review:  I have to admit that sometimes I am a bit weary about reading a collection of inspirational fiction short stories because past experience has shown me that the characters can be somewhat one-dimensional and lack plot development.  However, when I saw the authors who had contributed to Smitten, I decided that this particular collection may well be worth my time.  I have enjoyed books from each of the authors in the past; and like the introduction  and acknowledgments explain,  Smitten is a work that developed as a result of their friendship.  
As the authors state,  elements of each of the four friends' personalities mirror their own.  It is this real-life friendship that creates one seamless story about the trials, support, laughter, and love among friends and community members in Smitten, Vermont.  Although each short story focuses on one of the four friends, Natalie, Julia, Shelby, or Reese, it progresses through the year as the town rallies to save the town by transforming it into a romantic destination.  As a reader, I relished the descriptions of the idyllic small-town with citizens working together to create successful private businesses.  Despite the small town appeal, Smitten would be a failure without a plot that develops each of the characters and encourages readers to relate to them.  Fortunately, like the title suggests, readers will likely become emotionally connected to the characters' struggles, and "smitten"  with their stories.   
Smitten is a collection of light-hearted and uplifting stories to escape to at the end of the day. Readers can re-visit Smitten at, and a sequel entitled Secretly Smitten will be available December 2012.  
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their book review program, BookSneeze.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in 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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