Smitten

Release Date: 
December 20, 2011
Publisher/Imprint: 
Thomas Nelson
Pages: 
432
Reviewed by: 

“Each author tells the tale of a separate character, each in her own unique voice, somehow seamlessly meshing the four together and thus allowing the story to flow and blossom. Smitten also includes some delightful surprises: an interview with the authors, a group reading guide, recipes, exercise tips, and a formula for an exfoliating facial mask. Fittingly, you’ll find Smitten in the inspirational section—a truly inspiring read.”

The word smitten is described as “being filled with love.” So when the small mountainous town of Smitten, Vermont, loses their biggest employer, the lumber mill, the residents take it upon themselves to capitalize on the town’s moniker by turning it into a tourist attraction for lovers.

Natalie Mansfield, owner of Mountain Perks, the local coffee shop, bands together with her three best friends to get the rest of the citizens involved in the revitalization efforts. This tiny borough offers picturesque mountains and lakes and clean fresh air, which is a perfect incentive to entice tourists to take advantage of year-round outdoor activities as well as Smitten’s small-town charm.

Julia Bourne is one of Natalie’s best friends, returning home from her job in Manhattan to tend her parents after her mom breaks her ankle. She misses her town, her close friends and the laid back way of life. An esthetician, she considers opening her own spa, but the only practical location is in the old mill’s café. It is too rustic and “manly” and run by Zak Grant, best friend of Julia’s brother Greg, who is deployed overseas. What bothers Julia is that Greg asked Zak to watch over her, as though she were a child. She is in love with Zak and believes he has only befriended to fulfill his promise to Greg.

The second of Natalie’s best friends is master seamstress Shelby Evans, who is opening a finishing-type school to teach etiquette to young ladies. After inadvertently leaving her glue gun turned on and causing a small fire, she is chastised by her good friend and volunteer firefighter, Nick Majors. Shelby and Nick go back a long way, and both have major unresolved issues. Then Nick’s ex-wife perishes in a boating accident and his 12-year-old daughter Willow moves in with him.

The final part of the quadrangle of friends is Reese Mackenzie, a typical outdoorsy athletic person, and who better to open an outfitter’s shop than she? With the glorious mountains for skiing and hiking and the majestic lake for fishing, boating, and swimming, she knows visitors will need equipment to enjoy these activities. And her long-ago boyfriend, Griffen Parker, is even moving back temporarily to help with the restoration.

Then Natalie runs into opposition with Conrad Smitten, heir to the founding fathers of the little town. He is against turning his rugged domain into a “girly place” and pulls no punches when letting Natalie know of his disagreement. But strong-willed Natalie is not about to be deterred.

These four women are bound by deep and abiding friendship as well as their faith in God. Though they deal with their own hardships and problems, their closeness and belief system keep them grounded.

Each author tells the tale of a separate character, each in her own unique voice, somehow seamlessly meshing the four together and thus allowing the story to flow and blossom. Smitten also includes some delightful surprises: an interview with the authors, a group reading guide, recipes, exercise tips, and a formula for an exfoliating facial mask. Fittingly, you’ll find Smitten in the inspirational section—a truly inspiring read.