My slump has officially ended-for the time being anyway. I don’t think my review for Winter Cottage does the book justice–but I always struggle with reviewing books that I’ve really enjoyed. It’s so difficult NOT to say too much and give it all away. So I censor myself and feel like I’m not giving the story it’s true props! I think this story would make a fantastic movie for Hallmark or Lifetime. And, interesting piece of information–Mary Ellen Taylor is Mary Burton, which I didn’t learn till the end of the story but makes sense because there is a definite “suspense” feel to this story.
Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor
Romance (with a side of suspense)
Released: October 16, 2018
Lucy Kincaid has just lost her mother Beth, to cancer. She is surprised when her mother’s last request is for Lucy to take her ashes back home to Cape Hudson, Virginia. As far as Lucy knew, home was Nashville; Beth had never mentioned Cape Hudson in much the same way she’d never told Lucy who her birth father was. Lucy also learns that she’ll inherit some property there, a home on the lake called Winter Cottage. With nothing keeping her in Nashville and her mother’s last request to fulfill, she bravely makes the trip in hopes of getting some answers.
Once Lucy arrives she learns just how small the town is. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows who she is due to her resemblance to her mother. She meets with Hank Garrison, the attorney handling the estate of Catherine Buchanan, but he has no idea why Mrs. Buchannan left her home to Lucy.
As Lucy meets people in the town, people who knew her mom, she starts to form a picture of her mother as a young girl. She asks questions and reads old newspaper clippings, and when she finds a box of vhs tapes in Winter Cottage and begins to watch them, she learns so much more than she bargained for.
In 1988, when Beth is just 16, she visits Mrs. Catherine Buchanan and asks to interview her for a history project. Mrs. Buchanan agrees and begins to tell the story of a young woman named Claire Hedrick who was a lady’s made to Victoria Buchanan in 1904. As Mrs. “B” tells her story, we meet an interesting cast of characters, and witness how lies and secrets affect those who come after them.
This story is so much more than just a romance. There is mystery and intrigue as the author weaves a tale that pulls you in. We meet three women from three different time periods who are somehow connected by something that happened in the past. I was completely enthralled as I read, trying to figure out just what had happened to get us to where this story begins. I literally began to create a family tree as characters were introduced because I love to try to solve the mystery before the author chooses to reveal everything.
This is a story of strong women, who persevere in spite of the hand they are dealt. Who had to make difficult decisions to protect the people they loved and who suffered the consequences of those choices. It’s a love story, the truest, deepest kind, the kind that is just meant to be, but is never realized for reasons beyond anyones control. And its the story of a woman who years later was able to right a wrong and give a home to the people who really needed it.
I really enjoyed how this story unfolds. It’s layered brilliantly, hints are revealed subtly, allowing the reader to form conclusions and fall in love along with Claire. It is deep and sad, and you’ll feel angry too, because life is just so unfair sometimes. In the end, though, I felt some satisfaction by all that is revealed and was pleased to see the choices Lucy makes.