Secretly Smitten Anthology
Colleen Coble (Author, Contributor), Kristin Billerbeck (Contributor), Denise Hunter (Contributor), Diann Hunt (Contributor)
- File Size: 939 KB
- Print Length: 383 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 140168713X
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 8, 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
My Overall Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Individual ratings listed with the stories.
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
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.
Dog tags of a man who supposedly died in Korea are found in the attic. The dog tags belonged to David who was the first love and fiancé of Rose. Rose’s granddaughters, Tess, Clare and Zoe, decide to investigate even though their mother Anna warns against it. Each story tells a new love story while moving the investigation forward another step, exposing long hidden secrets and betrayal.
Love Between the Lines by Colleen Coble. Rating 4.25
Tess has a few extra pounds and doesn’t expect there will ever be a man who would choose her. She is attracted to Ryan, the owner of the local dairy, ice creamery. But Tess is nothing like Ryan’s first wife and sister-in-law who are beautiful fashion mavens. Unknown to Tess, Ryan is attracted to Tess too. She is down to earth, real and natural which he finds refreshing after his first wive’s compulsive perfectionism.
Ryan owns the home that used to belong to David’s family. Tess offers to help Ryan clean his attic which will allow her to search for clues about David but also brings Tess and Ryan time together. Ryan’s daughter, Sophia, is fond of Tess too. She loves how Tess, who owns the local book store, is willing to dress up and make voices when reading stories to the children.
I enjoy Ms. Coble’s clear, real-to-life characters, settings and plots. The romance grows slowly and sweetly, with the added warmth of a young child. The dialogue is very real and natural.
Make Me a Match by Kristin Billerbeck. Rating 4.25
Zoe is the younger, vibrant sister who loves helping the seniors in Smitten. She’s decided to sink everything she has into a new business: Cupid’s Arrow Matchmaking Services. Zoe believes the business fits in with Smitten’s efforts to become a tourist attraction as a romantic get away.
As Zoe prepares her new storefront for an opening singles event a handsome man walks into the ladder she is using. She doesn’t need trouble before she even starts but it seems trouble may have found her in the form of the new town manager, William.
William is a trouble shooting, rule-making and enforcing manager. He’s been brought in to help get the town selected for a new rail station which would really help the town economy. William likes Zoe but he sees code violations in her building that make it unsafe. He wants to help Zoe but if he doesn’t take a hard stand he’ll be risking his own job.
The conflict between these two is fun as impulsive Zoe immediately takes a defensive stand in opposition to William’s concerns. There is good humor as the family keep trying to match-make the pair. I enjoyed the faith based references of trust that the author slips into the story.
Knit One, Love Two by Diann Hunt. Rating 4.5
The girl’s mother, Anna, lost trust in men and love after their father left her and the girls behind to start a new family with another woman. Anna managed to help make ends meet with her knitting shop, The Sit ‘n Knit. She loves the colors and textures of the materials and loves helping other women in the community with their projects. She is reluctant to trust the interest of Michael, who is the handsome son of Emma, a customer who is suffering from cancer. Besides, Michael is a retired, career officer who he has been a loner for a long time and is struggling with an estranged son.
A skiing injury lands Michael cabin bound and Anna offers help. When Anna decides to raise a herd of sheep to supply wool for spinning Michael is there to help her. Slowly a friendship edged with desire builds.
I enjoyed the vulnerability of these characters as they learn to release their fears and begin to trust. The warm, mature romance is very lovely. I also liked Anna’s firm faith and willingness to seek guidance from the Lord.
Love Blooms by Denise Hunter. Rating 4.5
Clare is the middle child and a lady with a green thumb. She is the one who keeps to routine; steady and practical. She has recently lost her boyfriend who decided that she was just too predictable and ‘boring.’ It is a surprise when she hires a drifter to help at the nursery that she manages.
Ethan lost a buddy in war and has lived from town to town following where he feels God directs him to help. He was desperate for work when he arrived in Smitten and now is looking for God’s meaning in bringing him to this charming town. He is attracted to Clare but he doesn’t want to start something since his visit is only temporary.
Ethan and Clare both have fear, control and trust issues to overcome. It is wonderful to watch them shift their views so that they can come together. This story also does a great wrap up for the mystery and the healing for the betrayal that occurred in Rose’s past. I had tears in my eyes by the time this ended.
The book concludes with some great Reading Group Guide questions that dig a little deeper into emotions and reactions. This would make a great group read as well as a lovely read for anyone who likes inspirational romance.
I received this anthology from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley for an honest review.