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"Smitten" is pure fluff. But it is fluff that I loved! If you're looking for a complex plot, and characters with some heft, this is not the book for you. This is a short romance novel with lots of humor, that showcases Janet Evanovich at a much earlier point in her career. I could easily see the talent that grew to author the fabulous Stephanie Plum series, i.e., "One For The Money," etc. It is in this novel(ette) that the character of Stephanie's grandmother emerges, (one of my all time favorite people), in Aunt Elsie. So, if you have a few hours to spare for some delightful entertainment, this is a good choice.
Lizabeth Kane is a recently divorced mother with 2 very active little boys and no way to pay the bills. She had devoted 10 of her 32 years to being a wife, (of an ambitious and wealthy philanderer), and a mother. Now she needed a job. Her Aunt Elsie was coming to spend the summer to care for the kids, but so far - no luck in the job search. Lizabeth had graduated years ago from Amherst College with a degree in history. Her resume is that brief, and her liberal arts education, minus experience, certainly does not make her competitive in the job market.
She stumbles on to a construction site where she meets Matt Hallahan, a real estate developer and CEO of his own company, as well as a carpenter, man-of-all-trades...and gorgeous hunk to boot! He is immediately smitten by Lizabeth and hires her as a laborer-in-training - on the condition that she work with him. He is terrified that she will kill herself while hammering nails. And so begins the love story, with a minor mystery, and about 180 pages of smiles. Go for it!!!
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on February 10, 2001
hello everyone! i just wanted to sure with you that this was a very wonderful read.. however i sincerely warn you not to read this book out in public.. unless you a acquainted with curious stares and looks of disbelief.. (speaking from second-hand experience that is.. hehehe) but if not, then read it in the privacy of your own home. This was a splendid read; you'll fall in love with Lizabeth and Matt (the falling-fast-for-each-other couple) and most of all lizabeth's eccentric yet VERY comical aunt.. this book is brimming with laughs and tender moments! don't pass this one up.. its a keeper!
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Halfway through a 600-page monster of Victorian intrigue, I felt the need for a frivolous respite. SMITTEN was just the ticket.

As author Janet Evanovich explains in a preface written just inside the front cover, SMITTEN was one of twelve short romances - "red hot screwball comedies" - written in her pre-Plum days, nine of which are being re-released. This book in particular was inspired by her experience fixing up a fixer-upper house with her husband.

The heroine is Lizabeth Kane, a recently divorced Mom with custody of two precocious boys, a hyperactive puppy named Ferguson, and Carol the Cat. Lizabeth needs a job, but is either over or undereducated, depending on the prospective employer. She's also, by any standard, unskilled and inexperienced at anything except folding clothes and baking cookies. In desperation, she takes a job as a carpenter with a local building contractor, the hunky Matt Hallahan, even though simply pounding a nail presents her with a challenge. Kane and Hallahan are immediately attracted to each other, and, in short order (and 234 brief and occasionally PG-13 steamy pages), a relationship erupts despite the periodic intrusion into her backyard of a pesky nighttime flasher.

In SMITTEN, the Evanovich fan can see the evolution of the character types that eventually populate the author's enormously popular Stephanie Plum series. (I know; I've read them all.) Lizabeth is a simpler, but just as delightfully kooky, pre-incarnation of Stephanie. Kane's Aunt Elsie could be the twin sister of Grandma Mazur. And Matt morphs into the more complex and sexually infuriating (to Stephanie) Detective Joe Morelli. There are even the zany action sequences that become fully realized with Plum's involvement. At one point, Lizabeth, Elsie, Matt and Ferguson, in Elsie's battleship of a Caddy, chase after the naked pervert making his escape on Matt's Harley.

If the Plum series is light reading with a capital "L" otherwise denoting excellence, SMITTEN is small "l". Since it can be digested in 1-2 hours, it's a suitably amusing and surreptitious diversion for Sunday church service, especially if the sermon runs inordinately long, but with the caveat that no Real Man wants to be caught chuckling at this engaging chic-lit unless he wants to reveal his Sensitive Side.
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VINE VOICEon April 8, 2008
Lizabeth Kane was desperate to find a job. After getting divorced, she needed to find some way to support her two boys, but she had no experience at doing anything. When she saw the construction site near her home advertising a help wanted for a carpenter, she thought it would be perfect, and within walking distance from home. Matt Hallahan couldn't believe it when she told him her story about needing a job, but couldn't bring himself to turn her down. He knew he would find something for her to do. As Matt got to know Lizabeth and her kids, the more he found himself unable to stay away. He wasn't Mr. Commitment, but found himself wanting one with her. Only to his surprise, she didn't want to get involved because she wanted to learn to be self-sufficient and on her own. Matt couldn't fault her for wanting to make it on her own, but he was determined to change her mind because as far as he was concerned, she was already his. He just had to figure out how to get her to love a guy that has a Harley and a tattoo. When a flasher makes nightly appearances at Lizabeth's house, Matt has the perfect excuse to move in!

Enjoyable read. This is an earlier work of JE, and you can see character similarities from this book incorporated into the Plum series.
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Smitten was written before Stephanie Plum began. This is the fifth of nine quirky romances that Janet Evanovich wrote between 1988 and 1992.

If you read Smitten without having read the Stephanie Plum novels, you would probably rate the book high for fun and wackiness, above average for plot development and appeal of characters, average for character development and below average for being too predictable. But if you know Stephanie, you have several extra ways to enjoy this book: By seeing how Janet Evanovich has changed her style of writing romantic comedies. That's what moves this warm-hearted, PG-13 novel above average.

Lizabeth Kane is a well-educated 32-year-old daughter of a wealthy family who has been recently been divorced by a philandering husband with pretensions. She also owns a fixer-upper that she doesn't know how to fix. Money needs to come in to meet the mortgage payments to feed her two sons and ravenous dog, Ferguson (a Marley-like misbehaving dog before anyone knew about Marley).

Jobs are hard to find. She's viewed as either overqualified (with her college degree from Amherst) or as inexperienced. Noting that new homes are being added in the neighborhood, she applies to Matt Hallahan, a hunky contractor of her own age who likes Harleys and sports a tattoo in Chinese. She gets the job based on lust at first sight. The romance quickly blossoms.

To care for her sons over the summer while she paints trim and hammers an occasional nail, Lizabeth asks her aunt, Elsie Hawkins, to visit. Elsie avoids funeral homes but she has many features that help identify her as a prototype for Grandma Mazur.

In the background, there's some persistent, goofy flasher who doesn't bother Lizabeth and Elsie . . . but annoys Matt enormously.

The story would have been stronger if the romance had proceeded more slowly . . . as it has with Stephanie and Ranger. But there's a nice feel-good quality to the story that will provide pleasant, easy reading for all but the most critical romance reader.
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on September 10, 2006
I am a person who dosen't like to read. However, after the first chapter of this book, I was hooked!!! This book is so funny and upbeat you will have to smile, laugh, and cry. I have now bought four other books by this author and are loving them too. This book has made me love to read!
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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2006
Although this book was originally written in 1990, I felt it held up well for 2006!! It is certainly in the same vein as the Stephanie Plum books and, in fact, Ms. Evanovich mentiones in the inside cover that our heroine Lisabeth Kane's Aunt Elsie was a prototype for Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur!! I certainly felt that Lisabeth's dog Ferguson was also similar to Joe's dog who eats everything and anything in sight!!

Lisabeth Kane is a divorced mom of two boys, 8 and 10, who needs a job to keep up her mortgage payments on the rundown house she just bought. She has been looking all over the town and finally ends up at a construction site where there is a want ad for a carpenter. Lisabeth figures it is an entry level job and since is good at hammering nails, how hard can it be?

Matt Hallahan is half-owner of the construction company with his other half being in the hospital having broken his hip!! He is disorganized, a slob and a bit rough around the edges but is also instantly VERY attracted to Lisabeth. He decides to give her a low level job -- painting trim to start -- just to keep her around.

The comedic adventures between the two of them, the kids, dog, Aunt Elsie and a mysterious flasher and the police are just hilarious.

A very enjoyable and quick read! I'm glad it was reissued!
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VINE VOICEon August 3, 2006
Janet Evanovich seems a big self-deprecating about her former career as a romance author, and I have yet to figure out why. The talent behind Stephanie Plum has always been there, her love of ill-behaved dogs and general chaos present from the very beginning.

Lizabeth Kane is divorced with two sons to raise, and she's determined to make it on her own. She doesn't have many marketable skills, but that doesn't stop her from going to a construction site to ask for a job. The first person she meets is Matt Hallahan, part owner of the construction company, who practically falls in love with Lizabeth on the spot. He gives her a job and also starts making up excuses to fix her rundown house. He also falls instantly for Lizabeth's sons, Jason and Billy, whose ambitious father has no time for them. Toss in a harmless midnight flasher, Lizabeth's odd Aunt Elsie and her big, blue, indestructible Cadillac, add a big stupid dog and a couple mentions of a cat, and it's pure, vintage Evanovich.

This is a quick read I gobbled up in a couple of hours. It's a perfect light little snack of a novel with fun, warm characters and a happy little plot. I'm glad Janet is re-releasing these early gems because I'm sorry I somehow missed them the fist time around.
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on August 28, 2006
Barely plotted and the characters barely written, this story is just as light as air and harmless and pleasant to read. It is fun to preview all of the Plum elements, especially Aunt Elsie (early Grandma Mazur) and the inevitable Cadillac. Of course the characters sleep together, but, interestingly, pretend to be married to avoid a neighborhood scandal. Wow -- did people really used to expect people to be MARRIED to have sex? Surely not! That's practically intolerant!

Don't seek this book out, but it's not annoying, and will let you follow through with your committment to lights out at 10:30.

I rate books as follows:

***** Fun and meaningful book, or changed/challenged me in a positive way.

****Really fun or meaningful; well worth the time.

***Pleasantly skimmed the surface; not memorable.

**Plodded through.

*Abandoned; very flawed.
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on August 14, 2015
Funny, wholesome, warmth flooding from every page. Truly a romantic comedy with believable storyline that brings you to small droplets from your eyes at moving moments. Enjoyable novel and suggesting to other readers of Janet Evanovich to take the time and pickup. You won't be able to set down the novel.
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