I received an eBook Advance Reader Copy of "Smitten Book Club" through Netgalley in order to review it.
"Smitten Book Club" is comprised of four novellas that follow best friends Heather, Abby, Lia, and Molly. They are all members of the Smitten Book Club that meets on Fridays at the Lookaway Book Store. Each novella focuses on one of the four friends' journey to find love but with the underlying story line of trying to find the gold using the "Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship" written by Molly's late husband's great-grandmother throughout the whole book.
Novella #1: "Love by the Book" by Colleen Coble is Heather DeMeritt's story. Heather hasn't ever totally recovered from being rejected by Paul Mansfield. Now that he's back in town, can she get past the hurt to work with him? Will she be able to solve the clues hidden in the Gentlewoman's guide and find the gold to help Molly?
Novella #2: "Shelved Under Romance" by Kristen Billerbeck is the story about librarian Abby Gray. Since her father's death, her life has consisted of work and caring for her mother, with the exception of her weekly meetings with the book club. With her friends thinking she needs a makeover and Wyatt Tanner seeming to take an interest in her, will she let her hair down and be open for a little adventure?
Novella #3: "A New Chapter" by Diann Hunt follows Elliana Burton (Lia to most people). When she has a dental emergency, she is surprised to see Joey Oliver, the only man she has ever loved. Will Joey realize that she is more than just a good friend? Can Elliana help Joey find a new chapter in his life?
Novella #4: "Happily Ever After" by Denise Hunter is the final novella in the book. Molly Moore is still reeling from the death of her husband and finding out that he took out a loan with the house as collateral. The business that he started is struggling and she is out of her element. When Gage Turner offers to help, she is suspicious since he is her competitor in the adventure business. Will she be able to let go of the past and learn to trust again? Will they decode the clues in The Gentlewoman's Guide in time?
This is the third book set in Smitten, Vermont, (the 2nd I've read) so you get to see some of the characters from the previous "Smitten" books, but you don't have to have read the others to get anything out of the book as they have minor roles and backstory is adequately supplied, in my opinion.
"Shelved Under Romance" had a couple story continuity issues that bugged me. First, in chapter 4, it says that Abby "doesn't even drink coffee" when she was meeting Wyatt for coffee, and then in chapter 8, it says "Abby skipped her morning coffee". So does she drink it or not? Also, when Heather brings the Gentlewoman's Guide for Abby to try and decipher the clues, Abby doesn't seem to have a clue what it is, but in the first novella, the four friends all go gold-hunting together trying to find the gold referenced in the Guide. Also, in "Happily Ever After", Molly needs to find a new adventure guide since her's quit, but there is no mention of Wyatt and I thought that he worked for her in "Shelved Under Romance".
I liked "Happily Ever After" the best of the four novellas, but there weren't any of them that I didn't like. The Epilogue wraps up the book and "ties up the loose ends".
I found the first two stories a bit rushed at the ends. There is the usual build up of the relationship and then once the woman trusts the man and acknowledges her feelings for him, there is another conflict that causes her to doubt again. After this final conflict, it seems that the woman flips a switch to trusting him again and, boom, the novella was done.
There was some issues with formatting, spacing, and paragraphing, but I'm assuming that is because it was an ARC. It did make it more difficult to read.
There seems there will be a "Reading Group Guide" at the end of the book.
- File Size: 1400 KB
- Print Length: 373 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 14, 2014)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00DNBEH6Q