Monday, March 10, 2014
Coble, Billerbeck, Hunt and Hunters' Smitten Book Club ~ Reviewed
By Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter
Published by Thomas Nelson
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.
I’m thankful for a review copy of a book that introduced me to the town of Smitten and it’s very special book club. Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter, team up to write the third book in the Smitten series. If you haven’t read the other books before this one fear not, you won’t feel lost. There are four parts to this novel that are written by each of the author focusing on a different lady from the book club, who all live in the town of Smitten.
Love by the Book by Colleen Coble, Shelved Under Romance by Kristin Billerbeck, A New Chapter by Diann Hunt, andHappily Ever After by Denise Hunter. Each one of these segments give the reader peeks at a few of the book club meetings where they discuss the book, the treasure hunt and let’s not leave out match making! Grin!
The book starts out with the community and the book club ladies helping Molly deal with the loss of her firefighter husband. The whole town has pitched in to help her pay for her husband’s funeral and navigate running her husband’s business.
Donations of books are dropped off at the library where one of the book club members works. Heather discovers a book in good condition and bursts our laughing when she shares the title with her book club friends. Check this one out, “The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship by Pearl Chambers…She claims the reader who understands these patterns and uses them will find true love.” The gales laugh at her statements and one of them tells the others Pearl Chambers was a local author who was pretty famous back in her day.
They all sit down to laugh about more of Mrs. Chambers’s ideas about courting and a letter drops out of the book. It’s a letter Pearl wrote to her daughter Beatrice Chambers. It states, “…your grandmother found a gold mine in the hills, and left the clues to its location in this book!...signed your loving mother.”
Could this be true? The group starts to look at this book in a whole new light. It was fun to see this group of ladies go on a treasure hunt that they hope will help Molly and her son, Noah in their situation.
Molly is a member of the book club that is not faithful to read the book every month. Her friend Gage asks Molly a question, “So let me ask…if you’re not much of a reader – why a book club?
“I like to read- sort of, when the genre’s right and the author’s good and the books’ not, you know too thick or boring.”
“And Venus aligns with Mercury under a crescent moon?”
“She made a face, “Fine. It’s not about the books. It’s about girl time. Friendships. Community. Happy?”
I’ll Amen that! Book club has meant this to me over the years too!
This book is a light hearted fun read. Each section of the book deals with one girl in the book club, a different relationship issue and how they go about trying to uncover clues to help them find the buried treasure! Would they find the pot of gold? Will each lady in the group lean from Mrs. Chambers about love and apply it to the situation they find themselves in? Would they uncover a true “…treasure, the real kind, the lasting kind…” that might just be in there own backyard in the town of Smitten?
Grab a copy of this sweet romance story with a few twists to find out the answers to the above questions. The authors do a great job of harmonizing their writing styles. It’s seamless.
My sympathy and prayers go out to Diann Hunt’s family as they mourn the loss of Diann . Praying her community is pulling together to love them through just like the town of Smitten did for Molly in this book.
I highly recommend this delightful read. It has good discussion questions and it also has a peek into the fourth book in t his series called Secretly Smitten.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins