Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Review of Secretly Smitten

In this sequel to Smitten, each author contributed a novella. The four authors are: Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter.

Let’s begin with the summary:

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?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

And now, my review:

I like novellas because they’re bite-sized stories. They read fast, they’re romantic, and they’re satisfying. I liked this sequel to Smitten! The "intrigue" the summary speaks of wasn't a huge aspect, just enough to keep readers engaged. Well done.

The setting—small-town Smitten—is delightful. Along with the setting, the family connection ties these novellas together. Each story focuses on one of the sisters, and one tells the mom’s love story. I related with each heroine, at least in some respect. One of the other elements that tied the novellas together was the grandmother’s love story. Her granddaughters (all adults now) discovered her first love’s dog tags in the attic. But the grandmother hasn’t ever seen them. How did they get there? Hadn’t the man died in the war? This mystery kept me reading through the novellas as well. I especially enjoyed the introduction to the underlying (first love) thread in novella one, the tenderness of story two, that story three centered on a mother of 20-somethings and turned a cliché situation (not wanting to trust in love following divorce) into a believable and heartfelt storyline, and the gardening focus and mysterious hero of story number four.

Looking forward to any further Smitten books that come along. Enjoy!