by Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Kristin Billerbeck and Diann Hunt
Series: Smitten #2
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication date: January 8, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Purchase*:Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
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.
Last year I read the contemporary romance Smitten featuring three romances weaved into one book all surrounding the town of Smitten Vermont, so I was delighted to receive a copy of Secretly Smitten the second book in the series. This time we get four romances and I loved the diversity of their ages and the overall ARC surrounding the tale. I love small town romances and this lightly sprinkled faith-based tale made me smile.
At a regular Sunday dinner gathering at Grandma Rose’s one of the grandkids discovers a set of dog-tags belong to David Hutchins. He was Grandma’s first love but was killed in action during the war. His tags were never recovered. So how did they end up in Grandma’s attic and why didn’t she know about it? Tess, Clare and Zoe decide to investigate and the three of them might just find love along the way. Anna their mother warns them not to meddle, but she too may have a change of heart.
The first story belongs to Tess. She decides to ask the current resident of the Hutchins’s old homestead a smexy, widowed single father who owns the local cheese and ice cream factory if she can search his basement for clues. Tess a local book store owner is sweet, has some self-esteem issues and thinks she could never attract Ryan’s attention. Children’s reading hour isn’t the only reason he keeps visiting the bookstore, and I adored their story.
Zoe is the wild child and youngest sister, she flitters from one job to the next, helps the local shut-ins and decides to open up her own business. Newcomer William has been appointed by the town to check permits and ensure safety. When he discovers the wiring in her new business is a fire hazard, he finds himself on the wrong end of Zoe’s snark. This was sweet and I laughed as their story unfolded.
Anna the girl’s Mom owns the local yarn shop and finds herself annoyed by Michael her elderly customer’s son. But all men aren’t like her wondering ex-husband are they? The dance they engaged in was romantic and I laughed at some of her antics.
My favorite story belongs to sensible Clair and the dark, motorcycle driving, tall drink of water Ethan. *swoons* Clair hates change and he has spent the past few years traveling. Ethan is ex-military and there is more to this vagabond then meets the eye. I loved how he unnerved Clair and how he handled the feuding elderly sisters. I needed an HEA, and quickly consumed their rocky romance.
Then of course there is the story regarding those dog-tags and I loved hearing and learning about Rose’s first love. It added suspense and a little chaos. I loved spending time in Smitten and seeing old characters, and learning about new developments. I would love to live there and can just picture the main town square, with it’s lights twinkling at night and the smell of fresh coffee in the air. The authors are all BFF’s in real life and they did a wonderful job of threading the tale and personalities together. This was the perfect rainy day escape and I thoroughly enjoyed these clean, small town romances.
I recommend Secretly Smitten and the Smitten series to fans of small-town contemporary romances lightly sprinkled with a faith-based message. These books do not need to be read in order and work as standalone. I look forward to the next book in this series.
Five cups of Vermont coffee out of five
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