The Summer Cottage

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by Viola Shipman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781525831522
Publisher: Graydon House Books
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 110,146
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. Rouse divides his time between Michigan and California, writes regularly for People and Coastal Living and is a contributor to All Things Considered. He is the bestselling author of The Charm Bracelet, The Hope Chest and The Recipe Box.

www.ViolaShipman.com

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

February

"I can't do it."

"Yes, you can."

My attorney Trish, who not only happens to be one of the finest divorce lawyers in Chicago but also my best friend from college, stares at me, unblinking in disbelief.

"I can't."

"Sign. The papers. Adie. Lou."

She says this slowly, in a tone like the one my dad used when he caught me trying to sneak in the cottage past curfew.

"I can't," I repeat. They are the only words I can muster.

"You can," she says.

She continues to stare, her brown eyes that match the frames of her expensive tortoiseshell reading glasses still unblinking. Trish graduated top of our undergrad class and her law class at Northwestern. Her gaze had broken some of the most ruthless divorce attorneys and ruthless husbands in Chicago.

She doesn't just stare, I finally realize. She punctures your soul.

"You're freaking me out," I finally say, after an uncomfortable pause. "You haven't blinked in a minute. You look like a snake."

"I am," Trish says. "That's why I'm a great lawyer." She stops. "Actually, you're freaking me out. What's going on, Adie Lou?"

She sits back in the banquette at RL, the posh Ralph Lauren restaurant on Michigan Avenue across from the flagship Polo store, folds her napkin in her lap and then folds her arms over her tailored jacket. The room is beautiful and bustling, and yet still hushed in that way that moneyed places always are. I look around the room. This is where Chicago's elite gathered. The preppy place where the ladies who lunch lunched (and had a glass or two of champagne), the place where businessmen threw back a whiskey to celebrate a deal, the place where tourists gathered to gawk at those ladies and businessmen ...

I stop.

The place where attorneys bring clients to sign divorce papers, I add, so they can't make a scene.

I set the pen down and push the papers back into the middle of the table, clattering bread plates and utensils together.

"I can see we're going to need a drink," Trish says. "Now rather than later."

"It's noon."

"Then we're going to need a double." Trish motions at our waiter, who arrives without a sound, like a well-mannered ghost. "Two manhattans."

"Yes, ma'am."

"I'll be drunk by one," I say.

"Good," Trish laughs. "Then maybe you'll sign the papers." She stops. "What's going on? Square with me, Adie Lou. What's going on in that head of yours?"

Although the weather is brutally cold — typical for February in Chicago — it is a bright, sunny day. I watch shoppers scurry past the frost-etched windows of the restaurant. Their cheeks are red, their eyes bright, they look happy, alive, excited to be part of the world.

I can feel my lips quiver and my eyes start to tear.

"Oh, honey," Trish says, reaching out to grab my hand.

"I'm sorry," I say, as the waiter drops off our drinks. He thinks I'm talking to him and gives me a sad smile.

"Here," Trish says, handing me my drink. She lifts hers into the air, and a huge smile comes over her face. She removes her glasses and begins to sing our old sorority drinking song.

"We drink our beers in mugs of blue and gray
"We drink to Zetas who are far away
"And seven days a week we have a blast
"And when the beer runs out we go to class
"And when our college days are never more
"We'll be alums and then we'll drink some more
"We are the girls who like to set 'em up and drink 'em up
"For Z-T-A!
"Hey! Hey!
"Z-T-A
"Alpha to Omega say oohm-darah, oohm-daray
"Eta Kappa Z-T-A!"

"Cheers!" she says to me, as everyone in RL stares. Trish turns to the patrons and lifts her glass. "Cheers!"

I laugh and take a sip of my manhattan. It feels good to do both.

"That's what I'm missing in my life," I say. "Remember those Zeta girls? The ones who thought they could conquer the world, do anything, be anything they wanted?"

Trish nods.

"You did," I say. "I didn't."

"Oh, Adie Lou," Trish says. "Listen. I hear you. I really do. But I have to be honest. I think it's the divorce talking. I've handled hundreds of divorces, and what you're feeling is natural. There's a sense of overwhelming loss, sadness and failure. More than that, many women often feel rudderless and bitter because they sacrificed their lives for their families, and then when the family is grown, their husbands have a midlife crisis and run off with someone half their age. Men used to just buy a damn convertible."

"He did that, too," I say.

Trish stifles a laugh. She stops, smiles and sighs. "But you have the greatest accomplishment I'll never have. A child. Evan is a gift to you and this world."

I match her sigh. "I know, I know," I say. "You're right."

"And let me be totally clear, Adie Lou," Trish continues. "You have the chance to start over."

I take a healthy sip of my manhattan. "That's what I want to do," I say. "And that's why I can't sign the papers."

Trish's raises her eyebrows about to speak, but I stop her. "Hear me out."

She leans back in the banquette holding her drink. "Okay."

I grab my bag off my chair and pull out a sheaf of papers. "I want you to look at something," I say. "I have a plan."

Trish's eyes widen, and she lifts her drink to her mouth. "Oh, God," she says. "A plan. With actual papers. Let me brace myself."

"What if," I ask, my voice rising in excitement, "I kept the summer cottage and turned it into a B and B?"

Trish chokes on her drink. "What?" she asks too loudly, people again turning to stare. "Have you lost it, Adie Lou? Or are you already drunk?"

"Neither," I say, squaring my shoulders.

"You have a great job making great money in a great city with great friends," Trish says. "And you have a great offer on the cottage."

"I hate my job," I say. "I always have. You know that." I hesitate. "I don't want to be miserable any longer."

Trish cocks her head and softens. "I'm sorry," she says. "I didn't realize you were this unhappy."

"Just hear me out a little while longer," I say. "And try to blink."

Trish laughs. "Go on."

I spread the papers I've been holding on to for the right moment across the table. "What if I don't sell the cottage and turn it into a B and B," I start over. "I've been doing a lot of research."

"I hate to interrupt already," Trish says, "but there are a ton of B and Bs in Saugatuck. Isn't it called the B and B Capital of the Midwest?"

"Yes," I say. "But there are only two inns on the entire lakeshore. One is an older motel, and the other is tiny and for sale. Creaky Cottage has the potential to be eight bedrooms if I convert the attic and turn the old fish house out back into a honeymoon suite." I stop and shut my eyes. "And that turret ... wouldn't it be the most romantic place to serve wine at sunset?"

I look at Trish. "I've already talked to a contractor, too," I say, before adding, "Blink."

She does. Once. Very dramatically.

"And what if I kept the wooden boat?" I continue. "And use it for sunset cruises? I would be able to offer something the other inns don't have, something that would make me unique."

"The roses," Trish says, still staring at me. "You forgot about the roses."

"That's not fair," I reply, instantly remembering the first time Trish and I met.

We were eighteen, and we'd just finished sorority rush. It was late, and everyone was either passed out or still at the bars. I couldn't sleep from all the adrenaline, wondering if and from whom I might get a bid, and wandered into the common room to find Trish watching Ice Castles, one of my favorite movies of all time. Not only could we both recite nearly every line — including the big scene where everyone realizes figure skater Lexie is actually blind when she trips over the roses adoring fans had thrown onto the ice — but also immediately knew we'd be best friends forever.

From then on, Trish and I used that line when one of us was about to make a big mistake.

"I admire your enthusiasm, Adie Lou," Trish says, "but now hear me out."

She grabs the divorce papers I had pushed aside earlier and begins to shuffle through them. "Do you remember how many issues the inspection revealed in the cottage?" Trish asks, her voice immediately serious and in full attorney mode. "The roof needs to be replaced, the plumbing is ancient, you still have knob-and-tube wiring in some areas of the cottage, the stairs down to the beach are in need of repair, not to mention erosion that needs to be addressed, the windows are old, the house needs new insulation and shingles ... Need I go on?" she asks. "Okay, I will."

Trish continues to rifle through the papers. "Your gas and electrical bills are astronomical even with no one living there, and need I remind you of the property taxes? Nearly $15,000 a year."

"But I'll be homesteading," I say, my voice still hopeful. "That should knock taxes down by a third."

"Oh, wow," Trish says sarcastically. "You're rich."

She continues, her voice a bit softer. "I'm not counting the upkeep on an old, wooden boat, much less the fact that — oh, yeah — you won't have steady income. How much does it cost to run a B and B? How long to make a profit? What about insurance and health codes and ..."

"But Nate said he'd provide monthly support for me until Evan graduates from college," I say.

"If you agreed to sell the cottage and the boat," Trish interrupts.

"I know I might not be able to do the boat immediately," I say, my voice beginning to rise. "I know I can't afford everything all at one."

"That's an understatement," Trish says.

"Trish," I say, tempering my voice. "For the past twenty years I've raised a child in an emotionless marriage, I've endured a husband who regards me as critically as one of his philosophy books, I've excelled in a job I've despised, I've lost both my parents, I'm about to lose my family cottage ..." I hesitate, trying to rein in my emotions. "I can't lose anything else."

"You realize what's at risk here, don't you?" Trish warns. "You're my friend, but right now I must advise you as your attorney first and foremost."

I nod. I know she cares about me and is just looking out for my well-being.

"You have a great offer — all cash, need I remind you — for the cottage. If you don't sell, you'll be losing a sizable chunk of change that would set you up for life. In addition, you'll be incurring a load of debt, you'll be leaving a city you love to start over in a resort town, you'll be starting a business that you have no experience in ..." Trish stops. "You could lose it all, Adie Lou. Everything. Even the cottage in the end."

"I feel like I don't have anything to lose," I say. "And what if I don't? What if this is what I was meant to do? My grampa sacrificed everything to buy that cottage. My parents loved that cottage more than anything in this world. So did Evan and I. What does it mean if I just walk away from all of that so life is a little easier on me? My mom told me the worst thing to live with is regret." I stop. "That cottage is my history." I stop again. "I think it might be my future, too."

Trish nods and then smiles. "Okay, then should I remind you that you don't particularly like random strangers, and I haven't seen you make anything except reservations since I've known you."

"Hey!" I protest. "I cooked when Evan was young, but then Nate said he hated the 'smell of food' in our house. And he only really wanted to hang out with people he liked, intellectual elites who didn't understand the joy of eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's and watching Sex and the City reruns on a rainy afternoon." I stop to catch my breath, my anger rushing forth like the waves of Lake Michigan during a storm. "And I just don't like the people I work with or for ..." I stop again and look at my friend.

"My God, Trish," I continue. "Look at me. I mean it! Look at me! Who am I anymore? I've gained twenty pounds. I wear sweater sets now. A man at an account meeting who's older than me called me 'ma'am' last month. I'm an online click away from purchasing a rose-colored sweatshirt with cardinals perched just-so on a snowy branch with matching sweatpants and giving up." I stop, and my lips quivers. "I need a new beginning. I've lost who I am. I'm trying to find that girl again. Help me."

Trish's face softens.

"And it's my summer cottage, not his. Nate always hated it. I don't know why I listened to him in the first place about selling it."

Trish looks at me for a long time, not blinking, and takes another healthy sip of her manhattan. "Give me a few minutes," she says. "Let me call his attorney." She stops. "He does owe you, and I'll make sure they know that."

As she walks away, I take a sip of my drink, and my head grows light. The world seems to fall away in sections right in front of my eyes — the walls of the restaurant first, followed by the tables, then the waiters and the diners, before the buildings outside slip into the ground, leaving me alone with only the sound of my heartbeat in my ears.

What am I doing? Trish is right. I could be making the biggest mistake of my life.

"Well," Trish says, walking back to the table startling me, "Nate doesn't want you making a big deal to the university, especially with his tenure review coming up and since Evan is a student there." Trish winks. "I might have made it seem as if you were going to storm into the chancellor's office or call the student newspaper if you didn't get your way." She continues. "And Illinois is a dual classification state. As I told you before, it separates marital property from separate property. Your parents left you the cottage. It's yours legally. It's separate property. It's not Nate's. So he has no rights to it."

She continues. "But the mortgage on your Chicago home is in both names. It's marital property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, but equitable does not mean equal, or even half, but rather what the circuit court considers fair. The court divides the marital estate without regard to marital misconduct."

"Where are you going with this?" I ask nervously.

She smiles. "You have a deal. Nate will continue to give you two-plus years of support, only until Evan graduates. But he now wants two-thirds of the cash from the sale of the Lake Forest house."

I begin to protest, but Trish holds up a hand. "Hear me out. I can contest that, and chances are you'd likely get a fifty-fifty split of the home, if not more, but then they could contest the level of Nate's support, and I know how much that means to you moving forward. It extends your runway, gives you a little more time to get the plane off the ground." She continues. "And Evan goes to school free because Nate works there, so they have that in their back pocket to argue against the level of support."

I take a deep breath as Trish takes a seat.

Trish raises her glass. "Cheers!" she says. "I still think you're crazy, but I'm so proud of you, Adie Lou."

"Thank you," I say, the gravity of what just occurred hitting me with full force. "Cheers back," I add, taking too big of a drink.

"And I'm sorry," Trish says. When I look up, her eyes are filled with love. "For not asking how you were really feeling more often. For not being there for you. For not seeing that your marriage wasn't fine. For ..." She hesitates. "... well, everything. You're taking a risk, and that is admirable. I envy and adore you, Adie Lou."

I reach across the table and take my friend's hand in mine, and give it a big squeeze.

"Thank you," I say.

"To no regrets," Trish says, before adding, "Promise me one thing?" "Okay."

"Just watch out for the roses," she replies.

CHAPTER 2

"Hi, Mom."

I am always taken aback when I hear my son's voice. I still expect him to sound like he did when he was a boy — high-pitched, singsongy, begging for me to hold him or help him — instead of the baritone that booms forth from his six-foot-two-inch, nineteen-year-old body.

"Lose my number?" I tease. I'm on my cell phone, sitting in my Volvo, which is packed with boxes from my office. It's amazing how a career that can consume every minute of your life becomes insanely irrelevant the very moment you leave to follow your passion, I think. "It's been a while."

"I'm sorry," he replies.

I move on cautiously because I don't want to worry Evan. "I have some news."

"I heard already," he says, cutting me off at the pass. "Dad told me."

Of course he did, I think, annoyed.

"Oh," I say, bracing myself. "What did he tell you?"

"You want the sanitized version?" he asks.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Summer Cottage"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Viola Shipman.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Summer Cottage 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous 4 days ago
Apparently I need a beach cottage to restore, lately I can’t seem to get enough books about them! Adie Lou has just inherited her family’s “Creaking Cottage” on Lake Michigan. Now she’s moving there, determined to reinvent herself and carve out a new life after dealing with a lot of loss: her parents, her marriage, the empty nest, and her job. Now, solidly facing her transition to middle-age, Adie Lou considers the cottage as one place that she always had happy memories of. But of course, building the dream (or in this case, renovating it) is never as easy as the dreaming of it. She finds herself bogged down in unexpected costs, distasteful guests and navigating her way around a historical society…oh, and there’s a bit of romance. Adie Lou is a wonderful, resilient character and the story is full of hope and promise (even when things seem bad!). The Summer Cottage is the perfect feel good summer book! *I received a copy of The Summer Cottage from Goodreads and Graydon House in a giveaway
Renwarsreads 22 days ago
The main theme of this book is second chances. When a forty something woman find's herself starting her life over she makes some huge life changing decisions. She has some ups and downs along the way to finding her new self and the life she was "maybe: meant to have. There are some current hot topics touched upon in this story, but they are brought up in such empowering and positive ways. This a book written for our time and for issues many women, of all ages, are faced with today.
paulalala09 26 days ago
The Summer Cottage is a touching and moving work that relates the story of a woman finding her true self and niche after divorce. There are fabulous sentiments on life sprinkling the pages that, really, deserve writing down to ponder later. As Adie Lou Kruger revamps her life, she learns that her young past resonates within the walls of her heart and guides her often shaky decisions about renovating her family’s lake house into a B and B. It is a lovely story filled with some very touching, wonderful passages. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
JoannaJ 27 days ago
The Summer Cottage is about love, family, regrets, and new beginnings. Adie Lou leaves Chicago behind along with her arrogant ex-husband who left her for a younger woman, to flip her family's old cottage into a Bed & Breakfast. Little does Adie Lou know how much it's going to take mentally and physically to make her families creaky cottage into her dream come true. I hope as you read The Summer Cottage it takes you right there with Adie Lou, as it did for me. A wonderful feel-good story for this coming summer. I received an ARC of The Summer Cottage from NetGalley and Harlequin - Graydon House Books for an honest review.
3900980 28 days ago
The Hope Chest was my first introduction into the wonderful world of author Viola Shipman. The Summer Cottage, the latest is even more lovely and inspiring. Adie Lou Kruger spent her summers as a child at her grandparent's summer home called Creaky Cottage, and then as a married adult with a child and husband at the same cottage when her parents took it over. There were very simple rules which had to be followed while at the cottage such as "Leave your troubles at the door" and my personal favorite "Nap often". It was perhaps the best times of her life. But when her parents both die and Adie Lou's marriage fails she believes she should sell the cottage and begin to rebuild her life. Unable to let go of the memories of what the cottage has meant to her throughout her life, she makes a decision which will change her trajectory. She decides to turn the much loved and much run down cottage into a bed-and-breakfast although many people doubt it will be able to succeed. Adie Lou watches as the progress of renovating the cottage. which comes with its own share of problems. begins to inspire her to feel hopeful about her decision as well as feeling empowered despite the harsh realities she encounters along the way. The Summer Cottage is about finding out who you really are, finding love in many different forms, the importance of family of all types and especially the goodwill and tenderness of others.
PNWBookworm 3 months ago
I adored this book. I knew going in that I would enjoy it because I love books about starting over, and the hgtv fanatic in me always enjoys a good home renovation story, but I didn’t know that I would fall in love with both the characters and the cottage itself. This story if full of hope and love and looking forward. Though the character is dealing with a lot of grief, over both the loss of her marriage and the loss of her parents, she doesn’t let it get her down and I found myself rooting for her through the whole story. I really loved this book and I know that a lot of other readers will too! Definitely recommend this one!
norma bernsee 3 months ago
Adie Lou finds her strengths and hopes and magic in her deceased grandparents neglected Cozy Cottage in Saugatuck,MI. Her ongoing divorce and unhappy life makes her quit her job in the city. She drives off her deceased grandparents neglected creaky old cottage that is filled with growing up childhood memories . It used to be The Cozy Cottage filled with happy times and family love. She is determined to bring it back to life and turn it into a yearly B & B Inn. It takes a lot of money and discouraging words from the Dragoon Lady(who practically runs the town’s bldg. renovation rules), until Scooter ,an old time childhood summer friend from there, encourages her not to give up and continue her dream.He never left Saugatuck,MI. and helps her rediscover herself. Maybe love too… A heroine in this story is a written letter inside a wall,left behind by young Sadie in 1892 .Her plea to other women to stand up for themselves and not be like her,forced to a marriage… and how instead of a castle built by Papa, it has become a prison. This letter inspires Adie Lou to become more of a survivor and stand tall and find herself within the dream to rebuild her grandparents cottage back to life.Its bewcome a historical place too. Her ex husband Nate discourages her from keeping it but the surprises she has for him …! Each room is themed by the house rule line her grandparents entrance plaque once showed that she as a child recited before they entered the cottage. Her grown son Evan remembers these House rules and reciting them as a child too. Each chapter is titled to each House Rules . They are brilliant and words of wisdom . So,as the Cozy Cottage hangs by each shattered wall and room,needing mending just as Adie Lou heart and soul does, a reputable name has begun for others to find their dreams and hopes,and laugh and nap,along the way. The fireworks on the Fourth of July is a triumpth that shoot to the skies. Ive always loved Viola Shipman’s style of writing,sorta like a Norman Rockwell painting, you feel the characters with a warmth of sentimental pieces and family memoirs we all have in our hearts and homes to remind us of our roots and how they develop early on with family connections. Viola has found these sentimental values from his own memoirs and turned them into wonderful stories I have fondly come to love.
Anonymous 3 months ago
TheBookBag 3 months ago
When Adie Lou's world falls apart, she heads back to the one place that has been a constant comfort to her—her family's Creaky Cottage. When she decides to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast as a tribute to her parents and grandparents–her past–she remembers how important it is to follow and live the cottage rules. I have absolutely just fallen in love with every one of Viola Shipman's stories. The author takes some ordinary item, such as in the case of his first book, a charm bracelet, and in this case, a summer cottage, and weaves a warm, beautiful tale, full of love and lots of wonderful memories. They always make me stop and think about the treasures that we have in our family and the stories that they could tell. The Summer Cottage is the perfect book to read right now as we are coming up on beach-read season. You will become wrapped up in the lives of Adie Lou and Creaky Cottage, just like I did. I would so love to take a vacation there after reading this book.
OrangeCountyReaders 3 months ago
This was my first book by author Viola Shipman and it won’t be my last. This was the perfect read to take on vacation, it’s a palate cleanser - refreshing and satisfying. It fits into the “second chances” genre with the main character Adie Lou recently going through a divorce and deciding to renovate her family’s cottage into a B&B on Lake Michigan.
She is a relatable, fun woman in her 40s and she’s been in a marriage where her husband criticized her every move and then cheats on her. Instead of falling apart, she decides to make a huge lifestyle change and return to the place where she was happiest.
The lake locals remember her parents and want to help her succeed and even though it’s not all smooth sailing (pun intended) and it’s a ton of hard work, she creates a special place that reminds her guests and herself of the happy summers she spent there.
There are many great reminders and choice bits of wisdom throughout the book. I was fascinated by the fact that a man (the author is Wade Rouse who writes under his grandmothers name) could write women’s fiction so well!
This is a feel good, gentle read that made me laugh out loud and even tear up a little. Adie Lou will appeal to many women - who hasn’t wanted to try something new, to be brave and independent?
jbarr5 3 months ago
The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman Love the idea of this book and was very close to doing something similiar when my mother passed away and left her estate to the children. I was 1 of the 5 but others wanted to sell the houses and land. Adie Lou always wanted it to become a quilt retreat where others would go and spend time on the quiet island and learn how to quilt and be taught how to do so-you could live in the houses and be fed. Just sold last house a week ago. Starts out with a woman who's going through a divorce, her son is going to her ex's school, tuitiion paid for and she's at lost ends with her job. Cashes in and heads back to the house on the lake where she grew up. She wants to turn int into a B&B but others in town have other ideas. She needs to meet their standard of approval. She then seeks out help from the locals who can do the work she needs done to improve the house/rooms and the boat so she can take guests out on sundown cruises on the lake. Love how she struggles and gets the jobs done! This would make an awesome movie as all the scenes are described in great details. Love the rules of the cabin-priceless! Love hearing what her name means, history of fish cottage. Love how her girlfriend and her son both help with the project-they are so resourceful. Love hearing the story of the author's childhood, very similair to mine during the summer months. Brothers used to work on the ferry-not chain driven-you had to just throw a heavy rope over the piling, LOL Like instructions on how to make a sand castle=so cool! Like this romantic love story intwined with the beach story. Notes from the author at the end. Reader's guide is also enclosed. Received this review copy from HARLEQUIN - Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) Graydon House Romance, Women's Fiction via Netgalley and this is my honest opinion. #TheSummerCottage #NetGalley
onemused 3 months ago
THE SUMMER COTTAGE explores heritage and self-discovery through a family summer home. Creaky Cottage was a feature during Adie Lou's life growing up. She especially loved the family traditions around it, and of course, the rules. As her son grew up, she was delighted to see how much he loved it too. Now, her son is in college, and she has lost herself- she works in a job she hates and her soon-to-be-ex-husband is sleeping with a graduate student at the college where he teaches. As part of the divorce settlement, she is supposed to sell the cottage which her parents left her. However, as she takes a look at her life, she realizes the Creaky Cottage is her future. Creating a business plan to turn it into a B&B, she embarks on a quest to not only repair and improve the cottage, but also herself. During the renovations, she relies on the help of people from the town, including her attractive childhood friend Scooter and a wounded dog which finds its way to her. This is really a book of connecting with your past and healing. Most of the book takes place during the renovations and the last part with the guests. Adie Lou is a sympathetic character who is also admirable for following her dreams and starting anew. The "rules" of the summer cottage are absolutely the best part of the book, and they are good rules for a healthy life (e.g. 'Wake Up Smiling'). We see Adie Lou living them during each part, which is based on one of the rules. She has also themed the B&B around them. My only (minor) complaint is that it seemed to drag a bit in places, and I think the book could have been shorter overall. On the other hand, the romance was a great slow build, and this made it even better. Overall, it is a heartwarming and charming story about healing and living your fullest life- even if you start doing so later in life. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
CatmomJD 3 months ago
The Summer Cottage is a truly inspirational story about a woman who decides to turn her family summer cottage into a B&B when her marriage ends. While renovating Creaky Cottage, Adie Lou discovers hidden historic gems along the way. It was fun to learn the history of the cottage in each of the discoveries. She rediscovers the town of Saugatuck, where she spent every summer while growing up. She makes new friends; she even falls in love and even rescues a dog. Set on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, the descriptions took me away. The cottage, lake and town were so vividly written, they could have been their own characters in the book. The book is written in sections using Adie Lou’s grandfather’s rules that were to be obeyed while visiting the cottage, “wake up smiling” and “nap often” are just a couple. But, my favorite rule is “Everyone must be present for the sunset”. My favorite quote from the book comes from this rule which we should all to try to remember at the end of each day: “Sunsets are like snowflakes. No one is the same, my mom said. We miss too many of them rushing around. They are celebrations because every day is an accomplishment, a blessing of epic magnitude that we all take for granted. No matter how difficult a day has been, a sunset proves that there is still hope and good things can happen tomorrow. See how slowly they seem to take, and then how quickly they fade?” This book left a lasting impression on me. I highly recommend it.