When it comes to romance, there are a lot of sub-genres. Historical, contemporary, suspense, inspirational, and chick-lit to name a few. Secretly Smitten enters a sub-genre I don’t think I’ve heard–cozy romance.
This book, written by real life best friends Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter, is a sequel, but you wouldn’t know. Each story is a stand alone and doesn’t confuse readers with information from the previous book. Although mystery is part of Secretly Smitten, romance takes center stage and deserves a standing ovation.
Each author wrote a story and they are all quick reads. They flow so well together, it’s obvious these are authors who know each other well enough to finish each other’s sentences. Afterall, that’s what BFF’s do, right? Aside from reading enough from the authors to know their own quirks (who knits, for example) I would not have been able to tell this was written by more than one author. The transition between stories was seemless.
Each story is held together by the past. One of the characters, Tess, finds a pair of dog tags in her grandmother’s attic belonging to David Hutchins. Turns out he was her grandmother’s first love, and she believed him to be dead. Tess and her sisters work to unravel how David was thought to be dead when he really wasn’t, and was he still alive?
While they investigate the past, the Thomas’ women discover love on their own. Each woman has her own struggles, and I love that the women had to overcome. Each character was strong in her own right, but there was a challenge in each story. Their men were also each different, with their own backgrounds and conflicts that threatened the romance.
Mystery and romance would be enough to satisfy, but the authors create an added layer for the reader to work through, family. As the David Hutchins mystery unravels, two sisters endure hurt and unforgiveness. I thought this backstory was exceptionally well done and relatable. There truly is something for everyone in Secretly Smitten.
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.
Secretly Smitten was as comfortable as a pair of slippers, a favorite blanket, and a roaring fire. Which I think you should gather as you read this equally cozy book.
Purchase Secretly Smitten here.
I received Secretly Smitten from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There’s nothing like the Christmas season to dive into a heartwarming story. Those winter months are where I’m looking for a sweet story that pulls on my emotions. Lasso Me a Mom by Stephanie Jackson is such a read.
Nikki Turner has it all: she is an honor student, has a popular boyfriend and is a star dancer. However; never is there a time that a smile crosses her face. With a constant frown and a sharp tongue, she doesn’t let anyone get a rise out of her, especially her teacher Cassie McGregor.
When it is revealed that Nikki is homeless and in the foster care system, Cassie, who is a certified foster mother, is chosen to be her temporary guardian, an agreement they both object from the start. As their animosity begins to deplete, Nikki and Cassie realize that what they’ve always wanted just might bring them closer.
Although on TV a similar theme is playing out on the TNT show “Major Crimes,” a lovable but rejected teen paired with an adult that appears an odd fit still isn’t one often explored, and I liked the way Nikki and Cassie interact. They have a not-so-great history, but their positive progression to a great fit is well done.
I would like to see the onion layers, so to speak, peeled back even more when it comes to character development and dialogue. This is a dialgoue-driven book, and I’d enjoy experiencing the character sensing things through dialogue beats instead of just tags. My sense is that in future works, these things will be as natural of a progression as Nikki and Cassie were. The author lists Denise Hunter and Colleen Coble as inspirations, and those are top-notch authors to observe.
Lasso Me a Mom is an uplifting read full of heart. Check it out!
I received a .pdf from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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