Welcome to Smitten, Vermont.
With the help of four friends, it’s about to become the most romantic town in America.
The proposed closing of the lumber mill comes as unwelcome news for the citizens of Smitten. How will the town survive without its main employer? A close-knit group of women think they’ve got just the plan to save Smitten. They’ll capitalize on its name and turn it into a tourist destination for lovers—complete with sweet shops, a high-end spa, romantic music on the square, and cabins outfitted with fireplaces and hot tubs.
But is this manly town ready for an influx of romantically-minded guests?
Country music sensation Sawyer Smitten, the town’s hometown hero, wants to help by holding his own wedding there on Valentine’s Day. And little Mia’s lavender wreaths hang all over town as a reminder that faith can work miracles. Along the way, four women spearheading the town’s transformation—energetic Natalie, sophisticated Julia, graceful Shelby, and athletic Reese—get in the spirit by reviving their own love lives.
Join best-selling inspirational romance authors (and real-life BFFs) Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for an inspiring stay at the (soon-to-be) most romantic town on the eastern seaboard.
One visit . . . and you’ll be smitten too.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling authorColleen Coble has writtenseveral romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage,and theMercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks
Kristin Billerbeck is a Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year award.Her books include A Billion Reasons Why and What a Girl Wants. Twitter: @KristinBeck Facebook: Kristin-Billerbeck
Bestselling novelist Denise Hunter hasbeen the recipient of the Holt Medallion Award, Reader's Choice Award, Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. She lives in Indiana with her husband and their three sons. Twitter: @deniseahunterFacebook: authordenisehunter
Diann Hunt writes heart-warming stories with a rose-colored view of the world. Author of 25 books, many of them award winners, Diann lives in Indiana with her husband Jim. Visit her website atdiannhunt.com. Twitter: @DiannHunt
Read an Excerpt
SmittenLove is on the way
By Colleen Coble Kristin Billerbeck Diann Hunt Denise Hunter
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2011 Kristin Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter
All right reserved.
Chapter OneNatalie Mansfield's heart swelled as she stood on the perimeter of the town square and watched her niece and the other children decorate the town for Easter. A gigantic smile stretched across five-year-old Mia's face as her Sunday school teacher lifted her to place the lavender wreath at the top of the clock.
Mia saw her and waved. "Aunt Nat, look at me!"
Natalie waved back, her smile broadening. "She's growing so fast," she told her great-aunt, Rose Garner. "I love her so much."
Black threaded Rose's silver hair, and her smooth skin made her look twenty years younger than her seventy-eight years. "I still remember the first day I laid eyes on you."
"How could you forget? I was a morose ten-year-old who snapped your head off every time you spoke to me."
Her aunt pressed her hand. "You changed our lives, honey. Now here you are providing a home for your niece. A full circle, just like that wreath. I'm so proud of you."
Her aunt's words made Natalie's heart fill to bursting. Being part of their family, along with her four cousins, had healed her heart. "You gave me the only stability I'd ever known. I want to do the same for Mia."
Aunt Rose wasn't listening. A small frown creased her brow. "Something's wrong."
Natalie looked at the men standing a few feet away in front of the hardware store. Their heads were down and their shoulders slumped. The dejection in their stances sent her pulse racing.
She recognized one of her coffee shop patrons, Murphy Clinton, and grabbed his arm as he walked past. "What's happened, Murphy?" she asked.
He stopped and stared down at her with a grave expression. "The mill's closing."
"That's not possible," she mumbled. Her thoughts raced. The mill was an institution and the main employer in Smitten. If it closed ...
He finished her thought. "This town is finished."
* * *
The aroma of the freshly brewed coffee overpowered the less appetizing smell from the drum roaster in the back room. Natalie let her cousin Zoe handle the customers at the bar, as Natalie took the hot beverages to the seating area by the window where she and her friends could see white-topped Sugarcreek Mountain. Spring had come to their part of Vermont, and the sight of the wildflowers on the lower slopes would give her strength.
"So what are we going to do?" she asked, sinking onto the overstuffed leather sofa beside Reese Mackenzie.
"Do? What can we do?" Reese asked. Her blond ponytail gleamed in the shaft of sunlight through the window. She was the practical one in the group. Reese was never afraid of hard work, but while Natalie saw only the end goal, Reese saw the pitfalls right on the path. "We can't make them keep the mill open."
While rumors about the mill had been floating for months, no one had really believed it would fold. The ramifications would be enormous. Natalie's business had been struggling enough without this added blow.
She took a sip of her mocha java. A little bitter. She'd have to tweak the roast a bit next time. "If the mill closes, the town will dry up and blow away. We can't let that happen." If Mountain Perks closed, she didn't know how she would provide for Mia.
And she wasn't leaving Smitten. Not ever. After being yanked from pillar to post with an alcoholic mother until she was ten, Natalie craved the stability she had found here with her great-aunts and extended family which included her three best friends.
Julia Bourne tossed her long hair away from her face, revealing flawless skin that never needed makeup. "This is one of those things outside your control, Nat. I guess we'd all better be looking for jobs in Stowe."
Shelby Evans took a sip of her tea and shivered. Her Shih-poo, Penelope, dressed in a fashionable blue-and-white polka-dotted shirt, turned around in Shelby's lap and lay down on her navy slacks. "I don't know about you all," Shelby said, "but I wanted my kids to grow up here."
The women had no children of their own—and none of them was even close to thinking about settling down—but that was a moot point for Shelby. She had a storybook ending in mind that included a loving husband and two-point-five children for each of them. Natalie was sure her friend would find that life too.
Natalie moved restlessly. "There has to be something we can do. Some new export. Maple syrup, maybe? We have lots of trees." She glanced at Julia. "What about your New York friends? Maybe you could ask some of your business friends for advice."
Julia shrugged her slim shoulders. "They know spas. I hardly think a spa is going to save us."
Reese had those thoughtful lines on her forehead. A tiny smile hovered on her full lips, and her hazel eyes showed a plan was forming. "We don't have time for exports, but what about imports? Tourists would love us if they'd come visit. We have heart." She took out her ever-present notebook and pen and began to jot down ideas.
"They come to ski in Stowe anyway," Shelby said. "All we have to do is get them here."
Natalie rubbed her forehead where it had begun to ache. "But what do we have to offer that's different from any other town?"
Julia crossed her shapely ankles. "Smitten is cute with its church and all, but cute doesn't bring tourists. I can't even get a decent manicure in this dinky town. People aren't going to pay for ambience. We need some kind of gimmick."
Reese tapped her pen against her chin. "I have an idea," she said. "Everyone jokes about the town name. Why not capitalize on it?"
"How do you capitalize on a name like Smitten?"
"What does Smitten make you think of?" Reese asked. "Love, right? What if we turn the town into a place for honeymooners?"
Shelby adjusted the bow on Penelope's head. "I went to Santa Claus, Indiana, once. Tons of people, even in July."
Natalie swallowed a groan. They'd all heard about Santa Claus too many times to count. She needed to derail Shelby before she broke into a rendition of "Jingle Bells." "We could have love songs playing as people strolled the streets."
Julia snickered and nodded toward the man striding past outside the window. "I have a feeling Carson would have something to say about that. He hated all the jokes about his name in high school."
Natalie followed the angle of Julia's nod. Her gut clenched the way it always did when she saw Carson Smitten. He was a man who attracted female attention wherever he went. He looked like his lumberjack great-grandfather, with his broad shoulders and closely cropped dark hair.
He had all the single women in town drooling over him. Except for Natalie, of course. If the other girls knew what she knew about him, they wouldn't think he was so great.
"I'm still thinking about my idea," Reese said. "This will mean new businesses, new jobs, lots of revenue pouring in. We'd have to get the entire town on board."
Natalie's excitement level went up a notch as she imagined the town transformed with its new mission. "The town meeting is coming up. I can present the idea there."
"It's a good thing you're a selectperson," Shelby said. "People listen to you."
Natalie dug paper and a pen from her purse, a Brighton that Julia had given her for her last birthday. "There needs to be a cohesive plan. What would this love town look like? Besides romantic songs playing over speakers around town." She peered at Reese's list and copied down the items.
Shelby retied Penelope's bow. "We need a lingerie shop that sells perfume," she said. "Fudge. Some plush hotels and bed-and-breakfasts with tubs for two." Her smile grew larger. "Maybe old-fashioned lampposts along the path around the lake. You could put outside tables on the street and white lights in the trees. Flower boxes all around town."
"And we'll need more restaurants," Julia added.
Natalie eyed her. "You said a good manicure was impossible to find. What if you started a spa?"
Julia's perfectly plucked brows lifted. She grabbed the tablet and pen from Natalie. "I don't know. I'd like to move back to New York eventually."
"The honeymooners won't spend all their time in their rooms," Reese said, her eyes gleaming. "We offer great outdoor activities. The skiing here is as good as anywhere in the country. People just don't know about us." She gestured toward the mountain. "And look at that view."
Natalie groaned. "The last thing I'd want to do on my honeymoon is go skiing. I'd rather sit holding hands across a linen tablecloth with a lobster in front of me."
"But I'd go skiing in a heartbeat," Reese said. "Our big draw is our outdoor beauty. We don't have an outfitters shop. We'd need that." She jotted it down on her paper. "You know how I've been saving for a shop like that for years. Maybe now is the time."
"Now is the time," Natalie said. "Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. We're going to push you until you do it."
"I love it!" Shelby stood and paced by the window. "Maybe my etiquette school can be part of it too. I can coach women on how to put on the best parties and cater to the society women who come to town. Maybe teach ballroom dancing."
"And your designs," Natalie said, unable to keep her voice from rising. "Those cute outfits you make for Penelope would sell like hotcakes." She glanced at the picture of herself with Mia hanging on the wall. "I have to do what I can to save the town. I want Mia to have the security I've never had. A-And I've been thinking. I want to be Mia's real mother. I'm going to see about adopting her."
Her announcement left her friends with mouths gaping. She glanced at Shelby, whose soft heart she knew would be the first to agree with her.
Shelby's dark eyes glistened. "Oh, Nat, that's just like you! You have so much love to give. Mia's a very lucky girl."
A lump formed in Natalie's throat. "Starting the adoption is going to be my birthday present to myself. Every day I wake up and wonder if Lisa is going to take her away from me someday. I can't live with that fear."
Julia grimaced. "Lisa is never going to own up to her responsibilities, but I'm glad you're going to make sure Mia is safe."
"I'll be praying for you," Reese said softly. "There will be lots of frustrating paperwork. Let me help you with that." She flipped the page on her notebook. "And it's all the more reason for us to get this idea sold to the residents. You don't want Mountain Perks to go under."
This was not going to be an easy sell to Carson Smitten. Natalie stared out the window again and watched the man yank on the door to his hardware store in his usual confident way. She had no doubt she could convince the rest of the town over his objections. After all, what did they have to lose?
* * *
Smitten Town Hall was packed. Carson Smitten scanned the rows of people. Folks were talking excitedly, mostly about the mill news that had been announced two days ago. There looked to be a lot of interest today in the things listed in the warning that had been published thirty days earlier. Once the moderator had been selected and brought down the gavel, the participants recited the Pledge of Allegiance and began to go through the list of items in the warning. Things went smoothly with no surprises until Natalie Mansfield took the mic.
Dressed in jeans and a red sweater that showed her curves to advantage, she stepped forward on the stage. "We've all been reeling with the news that the mill is closing," she began. "I have a proposal to bring to the town. A way to bring major tourism to Smitten."
A wave of murmurs rose, and people leaned forward. Burly George Metcalf called out, "If you can save my plumbing business, I'll eat dirt."
She smiled. "It won't take that, George. But make no mistake—it's a major change."
Carson narrowed his gaze on Natalie. He liked looking at her. He'd always been drawn to her dark-haired beauty, but she'd been distant with him ever since that fiasco with her sister, Lisa.
Natalie moved to the podium, and the screen behind her illuminated. The picture that came up showed Smitten, but a very different one from the rough lumber town that now existed. Was that a skating rink? Carson studied the screen, intrigued by the picture-perfect town.
"We've all heard the jokes about our town's name, but it could be the thing that saves us." She turned to look up at the screen. "We can cater to lovers, honeymooners, those celebrating their anniversaries. We'll have love songs playing in the streets, encourage more businesses that accommodate couples."
Carson shot to his feet to object, but before he could voice his opposition, others got in ahead of him. The town meeting buzzed with excitement as voters threw out ideas on how to make this idea credible. Terms he'd never associated with his town were bandied about. Terms like spa, candle shop, lingerie shop of all things. It was insane.
He finally got the mic. "We don't need a new marketing plan. We need a new industry." He glared at Natalie, who leveled a stare back from calm brown eyes. She'd done this on purpose just to rile him. He knew it.
"But don't you see—this is a new industry. It's tourism, one of the best kinds. Instead of the mill ruling our lives, we'll be in charge."
"It's a good idea," Harold Warren shouted from the back of the room. "We can sell our town. I've lived my whole life here, and I don't want to leave."
"Me neither," a woman's voice chimed in. "We'll need a publicist. I can help with that."
Someone else volunteered to be on a task force. In spite of Carson's resistance, the proposal went to a vote and passed. All around him he heard people laying plans for how they could contribute to the idea. He couldn't believe it. Grabbing his jacket, he stormed from the building. Out in the town square he sank onto a park bench and rubbed his forehead. How could they jump on such a crazy idea so quickly? Love capital. Good grief. They'd be the laughingstock of Vermont.
A female voice spoke behind him. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"
He looked around to see Natalie standing behind the bench with her navy peacoat in her hand. She was the last person he wanted to talk to. "I think you've said it all," he said.
She ignored his comment and joined him on the bench. A light scent, something flowery, wafted from her hair. He nearly rose and walked away, but courtesy demanded he at least hear her out.
"It's clear you hate the idea," she said.
"You're getting people excited about an idea that won't work. We're not a touristy town. We're blue-collar workers. We need another plant, maybe a furniture manufacturer. Something we can sell."
"Think about it, Carson. This is totally unique. People will eat it up. What else do we have going for us?" Her voice held excitement.
He struggled to ignore her enthusiasm. She'd always been persuasive. "Recreational stuff like skiing, hunting, and fishing. We can work on that." He glanced at her. Big mistake.
She leaned toward him on the bench. "We've worked on that for years. It's no secret your fishing cabins are only half full most of the year. And you're practically running your hardware store by yourself."
He winced. "We can brainstorm ways to do a better job."
"We've tried that. There's too much competition, even here in Vermont. But no one else is doing this. No one else can do it. We have the name and the great setting. All we need is to work together."
"It's my town, Natalie. My ancestor built Smitten. I'm not going to stand back and watch you make a joke of it."
She nodded toward the hall. "The meeting is breaking up, and I have another appointment. Let's talk at the coffee shop when you come by in the morning. I have some ideas to discuss with you. Please."
Excerpted from Smitten by Colleen Coble Kristin Billerbeck Diann Hunt Denise Hunter Copyright © 2011 by Kristin Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter . Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsNatalie: Birthday Wishes....................1
Julia: Small Town, Big Dreams....................93
Shelby: You've Got a Friend....................201
Reese: All Along....................301
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Four best friends hatched a plan to save the town of Smitten when the mill closed down. This is a sweet romantic tale of how love and faith saved a town and it's people. I really enjoyed reading this novella. Even though each of the four stories were written by different authors, it flowed together very smoothly. I appreciated the way each woman's faith was shown. The authors sort of mirrored the characters after themselves and I loved how they added little details to the story that made it more personal to them. Each woman was different and yet they were able to come together and put their faith into action to implement something beautiful and successful. There are discussion questions and an interview with the authors at the back of the book. A very cute story that makes for a fun, fast read. I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.
I was not to familar with these writers but it sounded like a good book so i gave it a try and boy was i surprised, very well written and hard to put down. Sorry to see the end of the book. Story was about 4 friends who wanted to help the town after the Mill Closed. I liked the way each story flowed into the next.
I LOVED reading Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt. The four authors did such a good job merging four stories together; it did not feel like you were reading a book by four different authors! Before reading, I read their introduction to the story. The authors decided that they would write about four friends, each with personalities similar to their own. This idea was unique in and of itself and made me more intrigued to read the story. I had only read one other story by Colleen Coble, and truly enjoyed it. As I was reading Smitten, I related most to the characters that Colleen Coble and Diann Hunt wrote about, Natalie and Reese. This also made it more interesting to read, figuring out which character I was most like! The four girls are best friends in the story. Their town, Smitten, is ¿going under¿. The mill where many people in town worked is closing down and the town looks as if it has no hope for a future, until the girls and the town decide that they can use the name of their town, Smitten, to get tourist there. They are going to turn their town into a romance destination. Each girl has a man in their life. Natalie and Carson are both town members and help decide things for Smitten, Shelby and Nick are really good friends of about 4 years, Julie and Zac are high school friends and Zac and Julie¿s brother are best friends, and Reese and Griffen are childhood friends. The romance between the couples is a little bit predictable, but still very enjoyable to read! Also, the authors did a great job incorporating scripture and prayer into each story. I found myself taking a moment to say a prayer for my own life several times while I was reading. When this happens, I know the book is hitting home! I enjoyed reading Smitten! Thank you Booksneeze for yet another wonderful opportunity!
Smitten By Kristen Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter What a lovely story! In wasn't sure how I would like a story told by 4 different authors. I thought perhaps it would be awkward and cumbersome. It is none of those things! Everything dovetails seamlessly as it weaves together the stories of four couples and the fate of their town. Lots of Faith, unexpected meetings (some quite rough) and misunderstandings But in the end, things are looking rosy for the future. A joy to read. ISBN#978-1-4016-8494-5
What a good read by 4 Christian authors that are well known in the industry. It was over 400 pages and I finished it in less than a week! A new book called "Secretly Smitten" is coming in December 2012 and I am sure going to order it. I also signed up for their newsletter. Buy this book and let the stories whisk you away to Vermont and new love!
If you enjoy any of the four authors that wrote this book you will fall in love with the characters. I am a huge Colleen Coble fan. I enjoyed all aspects of this book and was excited to meet three more Christian authors that I can follow. A must read!
Smitten is a contemporary romance with a dash of faith. Not to sound cliché, but I was completely smitten with Smitten. Coble, Billerbeck, Hunter and Hunt deliver a fast paced romance, complete with small town charm. Main characters, Natalie, Julia, Shelby and Reese are completely different right down to how they exercise; but they are the best of friends. Each is a successful business owner, whose fate is tied to the closing of the lumber mill. They form an idea to turn the town into a romantic tourist destination. The only problem they face is getting the men of the town to agree. The main character's personalities are based on the author's themselves. I thought this was a unique way to get to know each a little better. In real life the four authors are best friends and lean on each other for support and faith. This was evident in the bond the characters shared. The characters are flawed, independent, smart, genuine and care about each other and the town of Smitten. Two young characters Mia and Willow are refreshing and their unwavering faith a wonderful reminder to us all. The tale that unfolds is delightful, and as each woman brings her own visions to fruition, she unexpectedly finds true love. The romance between the couples was sweet. The interaction between each couple, made my heart flutter, made me cry and even laugh aloud.
On Friday night, I went to bed fairly early. And then I wasn't completely tired, so I picked up my iPod, planning to read just a chapter or two of my newest e-book, Smitten. An hour and a half later, I finally made myself put it down and go to sleep. Saturday night, I again thought I could read just one or two chapters, but ended up staying up and finishing the entire book. It was just too much fun to put down! There are four main characters in this book, with each one having her story told by a different author. I thought the stories were tied together very well, and I wouldn't have guessed that the book was written by four different people if I hadn't know it already. I really enjoyed getting to know all four of the characters. That was one of the things that made the book hard to put down- as I read one woman's story and was briefly introduced to her friends, I then wanted to continue reading to see what happened to her friends! All four stories, as well as telling about the individual women, together tell the story of their adventures as they try to save their town, Smitten. This is a fun read, and I hope that the authors combine forces again in the future for more Smitten books! Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of this book to review for myself, thanks to Booksneeze. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.
Smitten by Colleen Cable, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter Natalie Birthday Wishes by Colleen Cable Smitten is a town in VT that has to close the mill down. The women talk about how to attract business and agree that it should be a love type business that would enhance the name of the town. Everything catering to the honeymooners and lovers. Their every wish come true. She even has the mayor on board now and is helping him redo his cabins and they start going on dates. She doesn't really think he is the father of her sister's baby that she's had custody of for over 5 years. Her sister only calls when she needs money. Like how her friends are more than aware of her having to eat gluten free food and they cater to her needs. She finds herself in love with the mayor and the little girl, Mia also loves him. She looks to the bible for guidance in the scriptures. Julia: small town, big dreams by Kristin Billerbeck Julia had worked in an upscale spa in NY but now lives in Smitten, where she takes care of her mother. She still has the insight when it comes to transposing things like someones makeup on their face. She's called her friend Devlin to come look at the town to not only inspire her but to monetarily fund the transformation. Her brother Greg has asked Zak-the body builder who's local to keep an eye out for her. He doesn't feel he has any chance of catching her eye, he's not as high class as her. She needs more faith and hope in her life to help her get over herself and let others help where they can. Or is she gonna head back to the big city? Her women friends have a lot of faith in her and the ending is a total surprise. Shelby: You've Got a Friend by Diann Hunt Shelby's shop is called Social Graces where she teaches girls how to become ladies. Nick is a local fireman and he's helped put out a fire at Shelby's house. On his way back to her house he gets a call that his ex-wife has passed away so now he needs to make plans for his young daughter and bring her to live with him. Roses house had a flood from the hot water heater and now Shelby can't use her house for the classes. Nick has come to the rescue by allowing her to use his outbuilding where in season, he sells Christmas trees and decorations. Things happen that leave her watching Nick's daughter while he settles the trust fund for Willow. Her own child would've been the same age as her but her dad had ordered her to get rid of the baby. I'm in heaven-Willow knows how to knit and crochet! Like how in every story Mia has provided the lavender wreath meaning eternity and having faith in the towns survival, connects them all together. Another thing I really like was in each story there is a daily walk/run/rollerblade exercise and talk with the 4 women. Each day a different person gets to choose the type of exercise. Only God can help when Willow has run away. Reese, all along by Denise Hunter She is ready to start on the renovations with the local contractor: Griffen. She will run the new outfitters shop in town in hopes the tourists that come will find something to do with their time, athletically. She wants to make Griffen jealous but her plan backfires and he wants to step in and make her old boyfriend jealous that he missed out on her. Really great how the whole book was brought together at the end, fantastic!
Take four women who are some of the best authors of Christian Fiction, and have them collaborate and design four unique characters, each with a bit of their own personalities, create a storyline and a place and put it all together and you have the makings of the novel, Smitten. It was written by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter with each of them writing a specific chapter geared around the small town of Smitten, Vermont, who has come under hard economic times. Faced with the mill closing which employs 500 people, the town rallies around the idea of creating a play on the word of their town's name, Smitten, which they believe implies the feeling of love. Their idea is to create a tourist town that will draw people to it, honeymooners, lovers, people celebrating such milestones as weddings and anniversary's and those simply looking to find love to the town of Smitten. Most of the town is excited about the prospects this could mean for new business opportunities but also a great place to call home. However when Carson Smitten hears about the idea, he is greatly opposed and thinks there is a better way, but he can't quite come up with one that will work fast enough and slowly the town's residents begin to warm his heart up to the idea. In the first installment of the book, "Natalie: Birthday Wishes" by Colleen Coble takes the story first when the idea is presented to the town council. Natalie Mansfield, is the owner of Mountain Perks, and who is also raising her niece Mia, now 5, since her mother, Lisa abandoned her and left town. Rumors circulate that Carson Smitten is the father, although he denies ever being with Lisa long enough for that to happen, but Natalie can't help but wonder why he won't subject himself to a paternity test to prove it. While working together to find ways to remodel the town for the new look of love, she finds herself working closely with Carson to help renovate his fishing cabins which remain seriously outdated and less than booked for the season. Natalie learns that Carson's brother has a great idea to help kick start the town's new launch and it may boost more love in the town than anyone recognized. In the second installment of the book, "Julia: Small Town, Big Dreams" by Kristin Billerbeck, the emerging story of the character of Julia we caught a glimpse of earlier in the book continues to grow with her story as one of Natalie's closest friends. Julia Bourne is trying to do her part with the town of Smitten to redefine itself as a romantic destination and desires to open a upscale spa. Since leaving New York, she reaches out to contact Devlin Stovich, a successful New York spa owner and someone who has the money she needs to invest in her idea. When he agrees to come to Smitten, he finds the location of Smitten Grill, a former restaurant geared to the logging industry as the perfect location that now lies abandoned and vacant. However upon closer inspection they both learn that the owner, Zak Grant has ideas of his own on how to renovate the space. Will they be able to work together for the good of the town or will Julia be sent back to New York instead? In the third installment of the book, "Shelby: You've Got A Friend" by Diann Hunt, we meet the third in this group of 4 best friends, Shelby Evans who arrives to her home in Smitten and meets the local fire department there to put out a fire in her Victorian Home. Nick Majors, a volunteer fireman stops her from entering along with her Shih-poo, Penelope until it is safe to go inside. Shelby was using the downstairs for Classes for Social Graces, a program to help young girls become ladies while she lived upstairs. She learns through Nick, that she is responsible for leaving a glue gun unattended and apparently there are more that just sparks flying between the two of them. Will romance be fanned into flames or will they simply be smitten with one another but remain friends? In the final installment of the book, "Reese: All Along" by Denise Hunter, we get the opportunity to meet Reese Mackenzie, the local girl who is your all around sports enthusiast who is trying to launch her own business of opening a sporting goods store and is working with her friend, Griffin Parker. What makes this difficult for Reese is that the whole town is rallying around recreating their town and making it the newest romantic destination to compare with the Poconos but in addition to this is the celebrity wedding to their town's newest country star, Sawyer Smitten, Reese's former boyfriend, who is planning on using the town to host his own wedding. Will Reese be able to define her own feelings for Sawyer or is she about to be smitten with someone from her past instead? I received Smitten by these amazing and talented authors compliments of Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for my honest review. I really enjoyed these individual but connected mini romances found inside the cover of this book. You truly feel like you're getting 4 books in 1 and this is one of the reasons I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. This novel is geared to the hopeful romantic in all of us.
Proof that love stories can be God-honoring
Just a nice read. Not too complex. Good endings. And no vampires or creatures.
Love love Smitten, I kept wanting to get on the train so I could read, almost missed my stop a couple of times! This book is a great read for the overly romantic!
I only got the sample and i read that abd now i love it a nd im going to get the whole boom i love it so so much i recommend this book to anyone who likes the book matched or crossed and like romantic fiction
This book was very easy to read. It had four complete stories that were tied into each other in it. Each story could be read alone or as a whole. I would definately reccomend this book!
Interesting concept of setting the four story anthology in a small town. I liked how the four ladies banded together to capitalize on the town's name of Smitten to bring tourism to the town and save it. The town's lumber mill had to close down to financial reasons. The town's hometown hero, country singer, Sawyer Smitten, offers to have his wedding there to help bring in tourism. I enjoyed reading the stories of these four friends and how each of them to contribute to revitalizing the town and find romance along the way. I especially liked Natalie and Reese's stories best. The receipes that were included were also a nice touch
I was completely captivated by "Smitten"--a charming and involving anthology from four talented authors. I am a great fan of hometown reunion romances, and this book offers four such love stories, written with smooth continuity by each of the contributing authors. I thought that I would have a favorite among the quartet, but the flow of one story into another makes it seem like the tale is being told in one voice. Set in the picturesque and close-knit community of Smitten, Vermont, this story brings together old friends, just friends, and more than friends. When the local lumber mill closes, and economic disaster looms large over the town, four local women spring into action to save their homes and livelihoods. Each of the women convinces a special man in their life to help them convert the rugged town of Smitten into a lover's resort destination. In "Natalie: Birthday Wishes", by Colleen Coble, Natalie Mansfield, is the owner and operator of a little bake shop. She is also "Mom" to the niece abandoned into her care by her own troublesome sister, Lisa. Natalie has long been in love with Carson Smitten, the man whom Lisa named as the father of her baby daughter, Mia. While Carson has always denied ever being involved with Lisa, Natalie is torn between her love for Carson and the love of family she has for Lisa and Mia. In Kristin Billerbeck's "Julia: Small Town, Big Dreams", Julia Bourne returns to her hometown to care for her ailing mother. A New York city aesthetician with an elite society clientele, Julia decides to convince her famous and influential employer to invest in a spa in the newly remade romance retreat of Smitten. Zak Grant, the lifelong best friend of Julia's brother, has a plan of his own for Julia's future, and he just has to figure out a way to make Julia see what he sees. Diann Hunt brings us the opposites attract buddyship between Shelby Evans and Nick Majors in "Shelby: You've Got a Friend". Shelby Evans has a feminine, frilled style with lots of flash. Nick Majors has an "un-style"--sort of a low-key, stubbled lumberjack look. Despite their many differences, this mismatched duo are the best of friends. When Nick's ex-wife dies and he becomes the sole caretaker of his preteen daughter, he needs a woman's guidance. Nick's daughter Willow soon bonds with Shelby, and memories of long-kept secret from Shelby's past haunt her happy time with the young girl. As Nick and Shelby begin to disagree on how to handle Willow, they also become aware that their friendship has become a deep attraction. In "Reese: All Along", from Denise Hunter, Reese Mackenzie enlists the help of her old friend, Griffen Parker, in remodeling the building in which will open a sporting goods store. Years ago, Griffen, always in love with Reese, had left town when she became engaged to Sawyer Smitten. The engagement didn't last and Sawyer pursued a successful career in country music. Sawyer's very public engagement and wedding plans become part of the Smitten community make-over, and he even writes a song to promote the romantic image of the town as a lover's paradise. When Reese finally faces the fact that Sawyer will never be hers, can Griffen make her see that the friend from her past is the key to her future happiness? When you read these four engagingly intertwined tales of romance, you will be "smitten"--just like me! I look forward to the next book from these four lovely and talented ladies, "Secretly Smitten", which will be released in December, 2012. A personal side note from me: I live in a small Virginia mountain community which is economically dominated by a paper mill. If our mill were to close, it would truly devastate the community. I could only hope that there would be enterprising souls with a true love of home and family who would band together to not just survive, but thrive! Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
This is a nice quaint little novel told in 4 parts. It has happy endings all around and is suitable for anyone to read. I wish the characters were a little more developed. I found myself not really caring too much about any of them. I did enjoy Shelby and Willow and their story the most. I also liked the way Julia's story was written. I would read the sequel to this book. This one is perfect for those who love good clean romance. Just don't expect to connect much with the characters.
Publishers' synopsis:Welcome to Smitten, Vermont.With the help of four friends, it¿s about to become the most romantic town in America. The proposed closing of the lumber mill comes as unwelcome news for the citizens of Smitten. How will the town survive without its main employer? A close-knit group of women think they¿ve got just the plan to save Smitten. They¿ll capitalize on its name and turn it into a tourist destination for lovers¿complete with sweet shops, a high-end spa, romantic music on the square, and cabins outfitted with fireplaces and hot tubs.But is this manly town ready for an influx of romantically-minded guests?Country music sensation Sawyer Smitten, the town¿s hometown hero, wants to help by holding his own wedding there on Valentine¿s Day. And little Mia¿s lavender wreaths hang all over town as a reminder that faith can work miracles. Along the way, four women spearheading the town¿s transformation¿energetic Natalie, sophisticated Julia, graceful Shelby, and athletic Reese¿get in the spirit by reviving their own love lives. Join best-selling inspirational romance authors (and real-life BFFs) Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for an inspiring stay at the (soon-to-be) most romantic town on the eastern seaboard.One visit . . . and you¿ll be smitten too.My thoughts about SMITTEN:What an interesting concept! One set of characters written by four different authors! I was immediately mesmerized by this idea and was (OK I can't help myself) "smitten" with the plot. It was just too cute not to like!However, I was a bit disappointed. Maybe is was my preconceived idea of what I was about to read, but as cute and clever as this idea was, I had some problems. Now, don't get the idea that Smitten isn't a fun read. It is! It's a very enjoyable, fast read. It's perfect escapism and would go great with a glass of ice tea, while sitting by the pool. I really expected to find a different spin on the characters by each author, I was looking forward to seeing how the four writers would adapt each character to their own style of writing, I hoped each author would present a slightly tweaked impression with their story. I didn't see that.I also struggled a bit with the guys in Smitten. I just didn't like them and wondered what the women saw in them. I'd love to have seen how each author would have written their own vision of this story, I'd like to think that there would have been more "there" there.But it was a cute idea, I just wanted more than than the icing on the cake. So I give this 3 stars, cute and quick, but not much below the surface. **This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley, and in no way affected my review.
Smitten by C Coble K Billerbeck D Hunt D Hunter Review The same characters, four friends, are in the whole novel. However, this novel is divided into four parts, with each part featuring a different woman as the main character. They all live in the small Vermont town of Smitten. Natalie: Birthday Wishes by Colleen Coble I enjoyed this first story highlighting Natalie and her not-yet-adopted young daughter, Mia. Although Natalie has made a nice life for herself and Mia, she has severe trust issues, when it comes to men. My favorite character in this first part of the book is Mia. She is a precious and loving child. Julia: Small Town, big Dreams by Kristin Billerbeck This second story has the women and the town making great strides to improve their hometown in myriad ways. The only discord seems to be between Julia and Zak. And there is Julia’s attitude toward her parents. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the past. This is a good story that made me think and assess my own attitudes. Shelby: You’ve Got a Friend by Diann Hunt This was my favorite story, and it made me remember what a wonderful author Diann Hunt was. I like all the main characters in this story: Shelby, Nick and Willow. Of course, by now, I knew Natalie and Julia pretty well, so I was really pulled in by this segment of the novel. I especially found the spiritual theme of forgiveness to be very real. Reece: All Along by Denise Hunter This last story is especially good. Of the four girlfriends, Reece is my favorite. This story brings everything together and ends the book in a satisfying way.
What a fun book! I love how all of the novellas together tell a full, continuing story. What a wonderful idea for these four authors, to each take a character and tell that character's story in their specific novella. I was already a fan of Colleen Coble and Denise Hunter, and am glad to have now read and enjoyed the novellas from Kristen Billerbeck and Diann Hunt. I must admit that it was bittersweet to read the story from Diann Hunt, knowing that she recently passed away and that the other three authors are missing their close friend. I am excited to read the next installments from the town of Smitten. This was a cute and well-done novella collection.
I found it hard to tell that each of the stories was written by a different author. They all blended together well and were very similar. The later ones even included characters from the previous stories. They are all feel good stories about the struggles to obtain that right relationship. I liked the theme of the town going through a rebirth and how each member of the community deals with it. Just a fun read.