25 May 2014

Smitten Book Club by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt & Denise Hunter

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The century-old Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship is no ordinary book club choice. But for the little book club in Smitten, Vermont, it might be their best pick yet!

The thick, leathery tome Heather pulled out of the dusty cardboard box was definitely coming home with her. Not only was The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship an appealing curiosity by virtue of its title; it was also written by Smitten, Vermont native Pearl Chambers, a local gentlewoman from three generations back.

Little did Heather know the repercussions this little curiosity would have on her and her friends’ romantic exploits.

When Heather and her fellow book club members begin passing the book around, their respective interpretations are unleashed on their respective love lives... for better or for worse. Is it a mystery? An idealist fantasy? An intimation of Jane Austen? As romantic love finds its way to each woman, the Guide proves itself both surprisingly prescient and hilariously irrelevant.

What’s more, a handwritten inscription indicates that the arcane book might hold the only extant clues leading to buried gold — exactly what one of the members needs to keep her house. How could they not go treasure hunting?

In this remarkable collaborative novel, besties Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt tackle the tale of the Gentlewoman’s Guide by writing for one book club member apiece. Smitten Book Club is a hopeful, hilarious story of friendship and healing, written by friends for friends.

At the moment, I really love reading novellas and novella collections, so Smitten Book Club, written by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter, presented me with perfectly enjoyable material. Each of the four stories – charming and fun in its own way – individually shows a bit of the friendship and romance in the town of Smitten, Vermont and still connects together with the others in a single, overarching narrative. Smitten Book Club is a sweet read – especially with the added humorous nuggets from Pearl Chambers’ The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship – and I definitely recommend it for a quick, lighthearted read. This is the first Smitten book I have read, but now, after reading Smitten Book Club, I certainly plan on changing that as soon as I can. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley, I received a digital copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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