Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter

Ridiculously short overview: This is a book with 4 stories in one that revolves around one main plot: The closing of Smitten’s lumber mill. It’s the town’s primary export and without it, the town could fail. But the women of Smitten have a plan to save the town by turning it into a romantic destination for lovers.

What drew me the most to this book was the fact that it was written by four different authors. One begins the main plot, two fill in the middle, and the last one resolves it.

Natalie, Julia, Shelly and Reese are the four driving forces behind the plan to save Smitten and the stars of each short story. Even though these women were written by all four authors, I thought the authors did an excellent job in staying true to the voice of each one.

The stories do feel very much connected to each other. We hear about Natalie’s cooking, her aunts and her little niece throughout all four stories. And of course, the further you read the more you see the friendship between the four women unfold and strengthen. But I was disappointed that the issue of Mia’s biological mother, and Natalie possibly adopting her, was never once touched on by the other authors. In fact, it was left unresolved which is very unsatisfying to me.

My favorite story out of all of them was the final story, Reese: All Along by Denise Hunter. Hunter knows how to write a short story. She dealt with the main plot but she didn’t try to cram storylines worthy of a novel into thirteen chapters. The story flowed and was resolved in a very believable way. Hunter was also the only one with a male lead who wasn’t set against the plan to save Smitten. I was glad I didn’t have to read the same male perspective for the fourth time. Overall, Reese: All Along was funny, compelling, and very sweet. Definitely worth the read.

I received this book for free by winning a contest on Twitter. It’s the first thing I’ve ever won and I was grateful for the opportunity to read this book. If you’re thinking of buying Smitten, I’d recommend it for anyone who can look past rushed endings and crazy plot lines to the heart of the characters. I believe you’ll at least enjoy getting to know Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter as I did through their fictional counterparts. Be sure to read the inside cover!

Maggie's star rating: * * * *

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