A trip to the beach, anyone? 😉
The Cottage Next Door
The Beach House # 3.5
By: Georgia Bockoven
Releasing July 14, 2015
What should have been the best day in Diana Wagnor’s twenty-nine years easily turns into the worst when her job is downsized, she discovers her fiancé in bed with her best friend, and watches her cherished grandmother’s house burn to the ground.
Clearly it’s time to start over and get out of Topeka, Kansas, where she’s spent her whole life. But what should she do? And how does she ever trust herself in another relationship when her one indisputable skill seems to be picking the wrong man?
Diana finds her answers at the cottage next door to the beach house with the help of a tall, sculptured, soft-spoken Californian, and a heart-shaped piece of sea glass.
While the beach house next door to the cottage sported fresh paint trim and cedar siding that was years shy of the classic faded gray, the cottage fought to keep nails in place as its wood exterior dried and shrunk with age. Inside, some rooms had been restored on a graham-cracker budget, while others reflected more prosperous times and were more like an elegant tiramisu. Tile had replaced linoleum in the bathrooms and kitchen, and the rest of the house held new hardwood floors.
Except the enclosed back porch.
For some reason, one that he’d never shared, the professional golfer who’d purchased the cottage in the middle of a career-threatening slump refused to make any changes to the porch. Not even when he’d readied the house for sale to go back on tour, and the realtor insisted the unpainted wainscoting and 1940s wallpaper would keep him from getting top dollar, did the golfer yield.
The cottage sold, and at closing, the new owners proclaimed the first thing they were going to do was remodel the porch. The golfer gave them an enigmatic smile and wished them luck.
And just as he knew would happen, nothing, with the exception of the curtains and furniture, changed. The wainscoting and wallpaper that the new owner had proclaimed hideous was suddenly charming, the floor a masterpiece of craftsmanship that provided a window to a past when hardwood trees grew straight and strong and thick.
They don’t build houses like this anymore became a mantra passed from one owner to the next. Which meant the floor in the back porch was swept and vacuumed and occasionally polished, but never replaced.
Such a sweet story!
I love the idea of a house–especially one on a beach :)–that has a positive magical influence on the people who pass through it. And the sea glass “heart”–what an awesome idea! Even though this novella is book 3.5 of the series, it served as a great introduction.
Diana and Michael are an easy couple to root for. They’re both coming off of rocky romance histories, and neither is really looking for romance–of course 😉 Diana’s never ventured so far from Kansas before, but was more than ready for a change. She finds herself enchanted by her first glimpse of the ocean, eager to start her new job, and intrigued by Michael. Michael finds himself drawn to the newcomer, but he’s hiding a pretty substantial secret from her. Is the possibility of romance–not to mention Diana’s job–over before they really begin?
Of course not! But every good story needs some conflict, so… 😉
The one aspect of the story that was a bit frustrating–not understanding exactly why Michael had to keep Diana in the dark about what was going on at the galleries she was hired to work at–ended up being explained very satisfactorily in the end, thank goodness.
The Cottage Next Door also gives us a teaser for the next book in the series (not yet titled, as far as I can tell)–it’ll be contractor Jeremy’s story, whom we see in this novella and feature his adopted daughter Shiloh, who we heard much about but didn’t make an actual appearance in this book.
I must read book 4. Soon.
Though there are the first three novels in the series to keep me busy in the meantime…
Rating: 4 stars / B+
Georgia Bockoven is an award-winning author who began writing fiction after a successful career as a freelance journalist and photographer. Her books have sold more than three million copies worldwide. The mother of two, she resides in northern California with her husband, John.