In the struggling resort town of Smitten, Vt., no crush goes unrequited, and no chance meeting between lonely singletons comes to naught. Readers are encouraged to persevere through the first three pleasant, if rather bland and predictable, novellas in order to get to the real gem: Hunter’s “Love Blooms.” Her well-told tale of a gardener with deep roots in Smitten and a homeless, Harley-riding drifter (who turns out to be an itinerant preacher) is a sweet gem of a story, rich in finely faceted characters and and luminous spirituality.
In four intertwined novellas, a divorcée and her three adult daughters find love in the twee romance-destination town of Smitten. The connecting thread is a not-so-mysterious mystery about the presumed-dead former fiancé of the clan’s 80-year-old matriarch. It’s nice to see that in Smitten, as in the real world, no one’s too old for their chance at true romance. (THOMAS NELSON, Jan., 432 pp., $15.99)