Thursday, January 19, 2012

REVIEW: "Smitten"

“Smitten” is an anthology of four romantic novellas about a small town and its inhabitants. Penned by four of the foremost Christian romance authors, each tale can be read independently, but complement each other perfectly. When the lumber mill in Smitten closes, the very survival of the town and its people is threatened. Then a few of the local ladies come up with the idea to capitalize on the town’s name and turn the community into a tourist destination for lovers and honeymooners.

***Colleen Coble’s tale, “Natalie: Birthday Wish” follows Smitten resident Natalie, part of the foursome who came up with the idea of turning Smitten into a lover’s paradise. She runs the local coffee shop with her mother and has her hands full raising her sister’s daughter, Mia. She believed when her sister claimed that Carson Smitten was Mia’s father, but now that Natalie is falling for Carson, she is having her doubts.

****“Julia: Small Town, Big Dreams”, Kristen Billerbeck’s contribution, is a charming love story. Back in Smitten to care for her mother after an accident, Julia, a successful New York esthetician feels her niche to help the town would be to open a spa. When her brother’s friend (aka her childhood tormenter), Zak takes an interest in helping her dream come true, Julia wants it to be because he loves her. But Zak keeps talking about duty to her brother.

****“Shelby: You’ve Got A Friend” by Diann Hunt is a beautiful tale of two fathers and their amazing daughters. Nick doesn’t want his manly town to transform into a girly, frilly place. He also doesn’t know what to do with his 12 year-old daughter when she moves in with him after her mother dies. Shelby has a strained relationship with her father, so she decides to help her friend, Nick, build a relationship with his girl, Willow.

*****Denise Hunter’s “Reese: All Along” beautifully wraps up the collection of stories. Reese is realizing her dream of owning an outfitter’s shop as Griffen works to renovate her new store to service the clientele that will come to Smitten as a lover’s paradise. They’ve been great friends for years, so Reese can’t act rashly when her feelings for Griff begin to change to something more romantic. Not wanting to ruin the friendship, she hatches a plan to make him notice her as a woman rather than a friend. But when the guy she plans to “date” to make him jealous cancels on her and Griffin offers to step in, are Reese’s plans ruined? Or is this the perfect way to make him love her?

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