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.
I was “smitten” with this quint fictional town in Vermont, I was not smitten with the stories or the characters. The premise of the book is very clever, especially with the accompanying website, but the supporting parts were not strong enough to carry it through to a complete win. While this anthology was cute and a tool for momentary escapism, it was missing the depth and complexity that I need to be drawn into a book.
Usually anthologies feature a unique set of characters in each story, but Smitten’s characters are constant in each author’s account. I thought that this would help the book to feel cohesive and avoid the usual short story sprint to a conclusion, but, unfortunately, it just did not satisfy. All of the male characters had one thing in common: they were all borderline chauvinists who were too stubborn to admit they need help and reforming from their female-friend-turned-love-interest. The women played the unwilling damsels in distress who apparently can save a whole town from ruination over a cup of joe.
I felt like each author’s style and voice was suppressed because they wanted characters to appear consistent in each story. The fall-out of that is the characters felt unnatural and (dare I say?) boring. Kristin Billerbeck and Denise Hunter’s instalments held my attention more since I could still detect some of their writing flare that I have come to love in their other novels, but I don’t feel like these short stories are a true reflection of their talent and ingenuity.
Overall, this is a good light read for those spare moments between holiday festivities as each story reads quickly and it is easy to stop and pick-up again.
**Review copy provided by Thomas Nelson via NetGalley**