I have read all of Robin Jones Gunn's Sisterchick novels and fell in love with her writing style through those books. She has such a wonderful way of taking you to the country in those novels and leaving you feel like you have been there and seen the same things that she has seen. Not many other writers leave me actually thinking that I've traveled the world! With that said, I was interested to see if this book would leave me with the same feeling. In my mind, I traveled to the cottage by the sea and traveled the highs and lows with Erin and her family. I struggled with my emotions of anger when Delores walked out on her husband when he was at his worst. I never thought that she might be going through something herself perhaps, so that was a surprise.
I felt as though I struggled with Erin on how to balance life in her new business, as a new mother-in-law, and then as a daughter to a father who has had a massive stroke and now can't speak and must be in her care. I could see the cottage in my head and picture her standing there and some of the feelings they must have felt. I've never been to a cottage by the sea, but if it's anything like my imagination has led me to believe, then I want to go!
This book, like most of hers, are light, fun books. This one deals with some heavy issues, but is still a book that is easy and fast to read and that you could easily read on the beach. In fact, she is one of my favorite authors to take along with me to the beach because of her style of writing. If you've read and liked any of her previous books, you'll want to read this one for sure. If you've never read anything by her, take a chance. You won't be sorry!
________________ I received this book free from Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Erin's dream of opening her own wedding planning business, The Happiest Day, is finally coming true when her step-mother calls and says that her father has had a stroke. She drops everything to help her dad. Balancing taking care of her dad, planning her son's wedding, running a successful business, and doing all the other normal mom and wife things, Erin quickly becomes overwhelmed. As she tries to mend her relationship with her father and step-mother, other relationships in her life spin out of control. Will she be able to find her "happiest day" in spite of all the turmoil in her life?
I've been a fan of Robin Jones Gunn since I read the Christy Miller series in middle school. I think this may be my favorite "adult" book of hers that I've read, though! Cottage by the Sea is a poignant story about relationships, forgiveness, and redemption. I loved how Robin explored the special relationships between mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters. At times I could see glimpses of my relationship with my own parents through the story. Erin's relationship with her husband was special as well. It was refreshing to read about a husband who faithfully and sacrificially loved his wife through a very difficult time. All of the relationships (Erin and her son, Erin and her best friend, her father and step-mother, etc.) in this book were so rich and deep. As a result, each scene was filled with emotion.
While this was one of the more emotional books by Gunn that I've read, she didn't leave me "down" for long. Instead, I ended the book full of hope and satisfied by a beautiful story. Longtime readers will also enjoy surprise encounters with some old friends. I loved every aspect of this book and will be adding it to my "keeper" shelf. [5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Robin Jones Gunn in her new book, “Cottage by the Sea” published by Howard Books takes us into the life of Erin Bryce.
From the Back Cover: The Happiest day…may be just around the corner.
Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients’ longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin’s son Jordan and his fiancée, Sierra, plan a grand wedding.
But the two friends aren’t prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin’s father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father’s—and oh, yeah, Delores’s—cottage by the sea.
What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.
I do not know about you but I like the sea. I like the sound of the waves, I like to watch the tide roll in or out, doesn’t matter. Hanging out by a beach or shoreline is immensely calming for me. That’s why I like the title “Cottage by the Sea”. One, it is the sea and a cottage brings up the idea of a warm, cozy little place. Everything that Erin needs. Erin gets tasked with having to take care of her invalid father who has suffered two strokes and cannot speak. On top of that the stepmother decides to quit as she feels she cannot deal with the husband’s incapacitation. So in that environment Erin is tossed and needs all the help from the sea and cottage that it can bring. Ms. Gunn has given us a marvelous story of forgiveness, reconciliation and the special relationship between a father and a daughter. Every one of her characters seem to come alive and it feels as if we are intruding on this family as we watch the story unfold before us. “Cottage by the Sea” is all about families and relationships and that is what makes this book a winner. I enjoyed this book a lot and am looking forward to more from Ms. Gunn.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Wynn-Wynn Media for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Every so often, I read a novel that causes me to feel things incredibly deeply, submerging me into the pain and joy, trials and triumphs of the characters in a truly tangible way. Cottage by the Sea is one such novel, poignant, rich, reaching down into my soul and leaving me moved by the story contained within its pages. My heart both broke and rejoiced as I read Erin's story and watched her walk through a journey of discovery with her father, a journey that ultimately led to true healing for both. I think that this story especially spoke to me as I considered my own relationship as a father to my own daughters, and as I imagined how I am showing them my love and care. Am I making them feeling cared for and cherished? Are there things I could be doing differently so that when the end of my life draws near, we won't have to work through a closet full of regrets? Robin Jones Gunn has penned a well-crafted novel, one that not only mines the depths of the heart, but entertains as well, because I found that the story moved along at an excellent pace while also letting you savor the unfolding of the story.
I highly recommend this book for those readers seeking a worthy contemporary novel that will leave you feeling uplifted by the time you turn the last page. Be prepared to shed a tear! 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Howard Books, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
Erin Bryce has just opened a wedding planning business, The Happiest Day, with her friend, Sharlene. When she gets the news that her father has some serious health issues, she travels from her home in Southern California up to the Oregon coast to spend time with him and his second wife, the brusque and very odd, Delores. Erin is about to be overwhelmed with the new business, her own son's wedding to Sierra Jenson, and spending time caring for her ailing father. Will she be able to keep her sanity and her focus during this chaotic time? Robin Jones Gunn has been one of my favorite authors since I was in late elementary school and this book did not disappoint! I enjoyed reading about Sierra's wedding, but what I enjoyed even more was Erin's devotion to her father. While Erin and her husband were trying to move him to a nursing home near their California home, Erin stayed in Oregon to take care of her father. And while spending time on the Oregon coast, Erin falls in love with the Cottage by the Sea. I give this book 4.5 stars. I received this book from Howard for the purpose of this review.
Two squeezes meant simply that I love you; three squeezes in return meant I love you too! That was the way things were communicated silently in the Bryce family, only Erin really needed this confirmation from her father which was always left with wanting more.
As Erin Bryce and her best friend Sharlene prepare for the launch of their new wedding planning business, The Happiest Day, she receives a phone call from her dad's wife, Delores telling her that he has had a stroke. Erin immediately leaves for the small beach side community of Moss Cove in Oregon to see how her father is doing. When he appears normal and back to the old self she remembers, she books a flight home and begins to prepare herself for her new business venture but also a future wedding for her son Jordan.
As Erin waits for her father and Delores to show up for the day of the wedding, she tries hard to keep her emotions in check. She blames Delores for keeping her father away and making all the decisions for him. When the day comes and goes with their presence missing, she phones her father's home and learns they are still there. Ready to unleash all her anger, Delores informs her that her father has suffered another stroke and this time he won't be returning back to his old self anytime soon.
In the latest novel, Cottage By The Sea by Robin Jones Gunn, the reader is drawn into the story between a love that is needed by both Erin and her father, Jack. Now with a stroke removing his ability to verbal communicate, Erin and Jack have to rediscover a way to connect after so many years and reestablish the love that both of them need before its too late. This is a timeless story of one of the great needs I believe a woman needs to have in her life, the love of a father and Robin does such a wonderful job at completing this through her novel. I was moved to tears by how well she made me feel for both Erin and Jack's needs.
I felt the frustration that Erin had toward feeling the care of her father was dumped on her shoulders while everyone else seemed to have a life to return to; her anger at Delores when she learns that Delores simply can not stay with someone who requires this type of care; and her crushing need to find a way to fix things between her and her father as communication between the two have a small window that seems to be rapidly closing.
The parts of the book I was immediately drawn to are the setting for the story, being a long time resident of Orange County in California, the reminders of the strawberry fields in Irvine, the John Wayne airport and the poetic way that Robin leads you into the story and magically paints a picture so well, you know it's real. Here's one of my favorite lines from the book, describing the ocean outside her father's cottage:
"Erin could now recognize the waves' varying sounds. She knew, just by listening to the intensity of the waves' roar through the open kitchen window, when they were crashing against the rocks and sending a spindrift into the air. She also knew when the sea was at rest, simply breathing in and out, sending the waves rolling to the shore and then curling them back. Today the sea was feisty. With a curled-up fist, it hurled the white-capped waves onto the shore. The salty avengers tumbled far up the sand before receding in haste and preparing for their next pitch. (pg 177)."
I received Cottage By The Sea compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Publishers for my honest review. This is such a beautiful book to describe the love between a father and daughter and one that Robin shared through her own personal experience. This one will tug at your heart strings and reel you in with all the emotion from words found on the pages. It truly will be unforgettable for me and one I will treasure. This one rates a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and one that has found a permanent place in my library.