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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: Smitten Book Club

Book Description

 "Consider that your beau is like a coveted novel whose compelling first lines you’ve just begun to read.” —A Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship

 At a rummage sale, Heather, a member of the Fireside Book Club, discovers a turn-of-the-century romantic advice book written by a once-famous Smitten, Vermont, resident. When she shares the precious volume with her friends in the club, they find clues about a hidden treasure rumored to be buried in their tiny town. 

As Heather, Abby, Lia, and Molly take turns reading the book, each projects onto it her own literary tastes. Heather sees it as a mystery. Abby discovers delicious dashes of Jane Austen. Lia sees in it the idealism of a bygone day. And Molly just wishes they'd made the book into a movie!

 One by one, each of the women finds romantic love—often in spite of the historic book’s advice. And in searching for the legendary gold, the friends discover the best kind of treasure. The kind that brings hope and healing to each of their hearts."

The Smitten Book Club is the third book in the Smitten Series written by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt.  Each of the books takes place in a little town called Smitten Vermont.  Each of the authors writes a section of the story dealing with one of the characters.  Each of the three books focuses on different sets of characters although you do see some familiar faces in each of the books.  Because of this, you really do not have to have read prior books to read the Smitten Book Club, but if you are like me, you will not want to start a series in the middle and will want to go back and read Smitten and Secretly Smitten before diving into Smitten Book Club.

This book focuses on 4 friends: Heather, Abby, Lia, and Molly.  At the beginning of the book, Molly looses her husband and the town rallies around her to find ways to help and support this young widow and her child.  The first section, Love by the Book is Heather's part of the story. She will do whatever it takes to help her friend, but can she trust an old love her broke her heart?  The second part of the book, Shelved Under Romance, is Abby's part of the story.  Shy, withdrawn librarian Abby needs to learn to let go and enjoy a bit of adventure in her life.  But isn't Wyatt everything her father always warned her about?  The third story, A New Chapter is Lia's story.  An old friend moves back to town after loosing his wife with his young daughter.  Lia has always loved him, but he never saw her as more than a friend.  Will his feelings towards her change?  The last part, Happily Ever After is Molly's story.  A year after loosing her husband and Molly is floundering.  Her business is failing and they have still not uncovered the missing treasure. Can Molly trust her business rival or will he succeed in sabotaging her business and leaving her with nothing?

I very much enjoyed going back to Smitten Vermont through the Smitten Book Club.  Sometimes you just need a happily ever after story and for me, these stories fit the bill.  These 4 authors do a great job writing a collaborative book.  The ladies in the stories lives are not perfect, but through trust in the Lord, and friendship they find their way through trouble circumstances, pick up, and go on.  I think we all want to live in a place like Smitten (minus the cold and snow of course!) with the love and friendships that are made and kept there.  I enjoyed the bit of mystery as well and the excerpts of The Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship.  I did find it very sad that the choice was made to have Joey's wife die in a mall shooting (doesn't happen in the book but that is why he has returned to Smitten) but that unfortunately is a sign of the times we live in and the random violence that happens all around.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of Smitten Book Club for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC regulations.

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