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READ: Review, Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter

I admit it. I’m what Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner’s character in Romancing the Stone) called a “hopeful romantic”—in real life and in my reading. I know about the romance-haters (some are my close friends). And I love other genres (especially literary fiction), too. Still, every life needs a little romance, and many readers do as well. Predictable? Often. Realistic? Maybe. Fun, encouraging, and inspirational? Not always—but the authors who write that kind of romance capture my interest and often, my reading time. Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter all belong to that group. Their new book Smitten (Thomas Nelson, 2011) puts a fun spin on the romance novel: four authors, four novellas, four protagonists (one per novella), and one town struggling to survive an economic downturn. When the announcement comes that the Smitten Lumber Company will soon close its doors, the residents of Smitten, Vermont face a big challenge. Can they recast their town as a romance capital in time to keep the lights burning and the bills paid? Can the four women who devised this master plan get others—especially the men of the community—to recognize its merit? And (perhaps most important of all) can each find happiness with a man who seems like anything but a perfect match? I enjoyed reading Smitten not because it offers dramatic plot turns or multi-layered characters but because of what it does present: a sweet serving of faith, hope, and love. The interwoven plots and characters add a unique touch, and bonus blessings like a motherless little girl, an instant father, and a celebrity wedding multiply the fun. Find out more about Smitten at, where you can sign a petition to “Save Smitten” as an entry into a drawing for a free e-book.  Oh—and I almost forgot—Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate this holiday, leave a comment that answers either of these two questions: What’s your favorite romance novel? What was your favorite Valentine surprise?  All comments earn an entry into the drawing for my Valentine Prize Pack: Love Finds You in Carmel, California by Sandie Bricker (autographed); Delight Yourself in the Lord . . . Even on Bad Hair Days by Sandra D. Bricker, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt (yes, two of our Smitten authors with an autograph from Sandra Bricker), Debby Mayne, and Trish Perry; and a nonfiction project with the intriguing title Sexy Christians (Baker Books, 2010) plus some Valentine chocolate. What more could a hopeful romantic want? Please leave your comment (please include an email link; sorry, but I can only mail to US addresses) before February 15. I’ll choose a winner at random to announce later this week.  Find a local Christian bookstore.  Find the book on Amazon,...

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