Secretly Smitten is the light-hearted follow-up compilation of short stories to Smitten, and it re-invites readers into the quaint small town life of Smitten, Vermont. The discovery of new or lost love is the focus of each of the stories; and in these four feel-good novellas, the conflict is resolved rather quickly and easily. These are stories to be read when you want a happily ever-after escape.
I have to admit that I found the plots and characterization of the first three stories to be less developed than I expected. The mystery of grandma Rose's long-lost love adds depth to the overall story; but as a reader, I felt a detachment to the characters and their emotions at times. Secretly Smitten does conclude on a strong note with Denise Hunter's final novella about Clare. Denise Hunter proves that novellas can be written so that the characters are developed and well-rounded. As a reader, I felt sympathetic to Clare's feelings and struggles. Denise Hunter was not only able to pull me into Clare's world, but she also provided a satisfying resolution to grandma Rose's past as well.
Overall, Secretly Smitten is a light and fluffy read; so if you are ever looking for a brief escape from reality, it just might be the right fit for you.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this novel from BookSneeze, courtesy of Thomas Nelson. 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."
Secretly Smitten: Love Changes Everything, by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter, is a collection of four stories, all set in the town of Smitten, Vermont. While the town of Smitten is attempting to make a name for itself, the members of the Thomas family find themselves trying to solve a very old mystery.
In Love Between the Lines, by Colleen Coble, the family discovers a pair of dog tags in the attic belonging to Grandma Rose's first love, a man who died in the Korean War, whose dogs tags were never found. Tess Thomas begins the search for the answer to the mystery, ending up finding proof the man never died and finding love in the process. In Make Me a Match, by Kristin Billerbeck, Zoe Thomas begins a matchmaking business, only to be hounded by the new town manager about her wiring issues. The sisters dig further into the mystery of the dog tags, and Zoe finds a match for herself. In Knit One, Love Two, by Diann Hunt, Anna Thomas finds herself young enough for romance after all. In Love Blooms, by Denise Hunter, Clare Thomas discovers love with a complete stranger, and the sisters find the answers to the mystery.
I enjoyed this book. Despite the four authors and their various writing styles, the story flowed well and unfolded a little at a time until the very end. I would recommend this book to all who enjoy a good romance or a good mystery!
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
Secretly Smitten is Christian fiction and this is a genre that isn't my typical read. I was pleasantly entertained by this book which is actually considered a novella. If you are not familiar with the term, novella is fiction that is shorter than a novel but longer than a short story. Secretly Smitten is a collection of four novellas each written by a different author. The stories are "Love Between the Lines", "Make Me a Match", "Knit One, Love Two", and "Love Blooms". The stories have the same characters just with a shift in the main characters. Each is a romance. The book is number two in the Smitten Series but it can be read on its own. At the back of the book is a reading group guide. I'm thankful for the Christian-minded romance stories of Secretly Smitten; it was sweet and entertaining. This was the first book I read on my Kindle and that made it quite fun, too!
The intrigue begins when dog tags are found in Grandma Rose's attic. They were the dog tags of a man Grandma had loved long ago. But he had been killed in the war and had never come back. How did those dog tags get in Grandma's attic?
Tess, Zoe, and Clare Thomas are not going to let the issue go. But Tess is distracted when a handsome man and his young daughter shop at her bookstore. She is also working extra hard at seeing to it that the train will stop at Smitten. That would help the town so much.
And Zoe has other things on her mind as she is getting her new matchmaking business going. Unfortunately, the new city manager, a stickler for making sure businesses adhere to all the city ordinances, is getting to her.
Anna Thomas, the girls mother, is thinking about raising sheep so she can spin her own wool. That would be a nice addition to her knitting shop. Then Michael, a retired military man, shows up in Smitten to take care of his ailing mother. He offers to help Anna but she is not so sure she should allow herself to get close to this man..
And Claire, she loves her routine at the nursery where she works. She wouldn't even think of rearranging the shop. But when she hires a homeless man, she wonders if she could dare risk love.
What a treat, this second book about Smitten, Vermont. And you certainly don't have to read the first one to thoroughly enjoy this one. The four stories written by the authors flow well. The authors, who are themselves friends, really did a great job in creating a fun to read collection of romance stories. And it all comes out in the end - the dog tags, I mean. What a fun read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter in their new book "Secretly Smitten" Book Two in the Smitten series published by Thomas Nelson takes us back to Smitten, Vermont.
From the back cover: Summer, fall, winter, spring--Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!
There's a secret in Grandma Rose's attic--a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?
The mystery intrigues Rose's three granddaughters--Tess, Clare, and Zoe--and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?
The four authors have joined together to bring us four stories about four friends that give us one complete story about one town that stretches over the four seasons. Colleen Coble starts it off with the story about Tess: Love Between The Lines. Then Kristin Billerbeck picks it up with the focus on Zoe: Make Me A Match. Diann Hunt takes the story over to Anna: Knit One, Love Two. And finally Denise Hunter rounds it out with the spotlight on Clare: All Along.
Once again we fall in love with the town of Smitten and its people and wish there really were such a place to visit. It really is a terrific idea that these four friends had when they created this town that it is so easy to fall in love in. Technically, "Secretly Smitten" is one story that lasts a whole year told through the lives of the four women. So that means we get four tales of romance as we watch the town change and grow. All four authors know how to write characters that come alive off the page. While the stories focus on Anna and her three daughters the real mystery is with Grandma Rose and the dog-tags. Great storytelling, mystery and romance, what more could you ask for? I know: one more sequel! I recommend this book highly!
Secretly Smitten | An Evening of Giggle, Gab & Prizes
The "gals" are celebrating the release of Secretly Smitten with a fun Live Webcast on February 5th. They'll be debuting the *NEW* animated Smitten trailer, giving away tons of prizes, dishing on the book and their friendship. They'll also be wrapping up the Secretly Smitten blog tour, answering audience questions and testing your trivia skills. Don't miss the fun and bring your friends. Click here to RSVP and set up a reminder.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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."