About the Book
Clearing out the attic, Zoey opens the carved trunk and smiles as she picks up the small, leather-bound diary hiding inside. Curious, she leafs through the pages, and realises this will change everything…
All Zoey’s happiest childhood memories are of her great-aunt Ivy’s rickety cottage on Dune Island, snuggling up with hot chocolate and hearing Ivy’s stories about being married to a sea captain. Now, heartbroken from a breakup, Zoey escapes back to the island, but is shocked to find her elderly aunt’s spark fading. Worse, her cousin—next in line to inherit the house—is pushing Ivy to move into a nursing home.
With the family clashing over what’s best for Ivy, Zoey is surprised when Nick, a local carpenter and Ivy’s neighbor, takes her side. As Zoey finds comfort in his sea-blue eyes and warm laugh, the two grow close. Together, they make a discovery in the attic that links the family to the mysterious and reclusive local lighthouse keeper…
Now Zoey has a heartbreaking choice to make. Nick’s urging her to share the discovery, which could keep Ivy in the house she’s loved her whole life… but when Zoey learns that Nick and her cousin go way back, she questions if the man she‘s starting to have feelings for really has Ivy’s best interests at heart. Will dredging up this old secret destroy the peace and happiness of Ivy’s final years—and tear this family apart for good?
A stunning and emotional read about old secrets, new love and never forgetting the importance of family. Perfect for fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Robyn Carr and Mary Alice Monroe.
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Goodreads’ Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Aunt Ivy’s Cottage is a book that first enchanted me with the beauty of its cover. Once I opened the pages, I became equally captivated by the beautifully written story rich with family, love, and nostalgia.
My favorite part of the story is the mystery thread that runs through the novel regarding the truth behind the rumors of events that happened roughly 60 years prior. They significantly impact events in the current day. I love a good mystery, so the need to know the answers compelled me forward and would not let me put the book down. There is even a bit of suspense, which is a wonderful surprise. After I finished the book, I could not help but ponder the what-ifs. What if this secret had come out when all of it began? How would the story be different? Would anything have been the same?
I also enjoyed the characters. They are truly reminiscent of the different personality traits found in most US families and possibly worldwide. Mark is a rather unsympathetic character due to his selfish greed that is as destructive as disheartening. Zoey is the family’s caretaker, putting everyone else’s needs before her own and trusting to a fault. As the story opens, she has landed herself in a bad situation as a result of her trusting nature, but she’s so together that I never doubted for a second she would land on her feet. Ivy is the matriarch of the family who loves to tell the old stories, play cribbage, and acts the grandmother’s part, even though she never had children of her own. And Gabi, who is the teen niece of Zoey’s staying with her aunt and great grand aunt while her father is in rehab, is wise beyond her years and manages to keep a stiff upper lip even when it seems like she is falling apart.
The theme of grief is also a considerable part of the story, and Jessica’s story within that theme moved me to tears with its beauty and its poignancy. It brings a whole new dimension to the story and the characters as they grapple with their memories and what little bits of grief remain. Ivy also deals with insurmountable grief over losing her sister-in-law and housemate for over half a century. It impacts her aging mind and body in profound ways. I found the look at aging and grief to be realistically unsettling.
My only wish for the story is that the ending had turned out differently. It shows such an abrupt change in personalities that it didn’t ring as valid as the rest of the story. I don’t want to get into too much detail for the risk of spoilers, but it felt perhaps too rushed and tied up with a bow in a story that up to that point was anything but a neat little package.
Aunt Ivy’s Cottage will make you want to hug your loved ones and enjoy the old family stories with a renewed enthusiasm for all that is beautiful in love and life.
About the Author
Ever since she was a young girl, there were few things Kristin Harper liked more than creative writing and spending time on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with her family. Eventually (after a succession of jobs that bored her to tears), she found a way to combine those two passions by becoming a women’s fiction author whose stories occur in oceanside settings. While Kristin doesn’t live on the Cape year-round, she escapes to the beach whenever she can.