Smitten was one of Janet Evanovich’s early forays into romance writing. With any Evanovich novel, you expect a certain level of cheesy goofiness and outrageousness, but poor pacing and lack of story really hinder this particular book. Even though it contains a few chuckles, Smitten is just a cheesy romance that is easily forgotten.
But it does get a couple of extra points for obliterating single-mother stereotypes. Lizabeth Kane, a recent divorcee, hasn’t worked a day of construction in her life, but that doesn’t stop her from snagging a carpentry job that just so happens to be in her neighborhood. There she meets Matt Hallahan–the construction foreman. And here’s where the book loses major feminist points. Hallahan hires Lizabeth because he has the hots for her. There’s sexual tension from the get go, and by the second day, they’re ready to jump each other’s bones. The whirlwindedness of their relationship is unbelievable even by fairytale “love-at-first-sight” standards.
There’s a couple of other added elements. Basically a prototype for Grandma Mazur in the Stephanie Plum novels, Aunt Elsie plays the comic relief along with a big dumb dog that is quintessential in all Evanovich books. There’s also a subplot about a streaker that gets resolved in the most unnecessarily convoluted way–which makes the whole storyline seem completely ridiculous (because a friendly neighborhood streaker isn’t ridiculous enough).
I read this story in a single day. It’s quick, easy, and silly. The chuckles will keep you reading, though your eyes may be rolling at the same time.