EXCERPT: “Was it love at first sight?”
Mrs Buchanan is silent for a long moment. The drumbeat of secrets grows louder. “Yes. But that love wasn’t for my husband, Robert.”
Blue eyes are calculating like the fox’s were when he sniffed fresh fish in the trap.
“See you on Friday.”
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Still grieving the loss of her wandering, free-spirited mother, Lucy Kincaid leaves Nashville for the faded town of Cape Hudson, Virginia. She goes to see the house she’s inherited—one she never knew existed, bequeathed to her by a woman she’s never even met. At the heart of this mystery is the hope that maybe—just maybe—this “Winter Cottage” will answer the endless questions about her mother’s past…including the identity of her birth father.
Rather than the quaint Virginian bungalow Lucy expected, Winter Cottage is a grand old estate of many shadows—big enough to hold a century of secrets, passions, and betrayals. It also comes with a handsome and enigmatic stranger, a man next in line to claim Lucy’s inheritance.
Now, as Lucy sifts through the past, uncovering the legacy of secrets that Winter Cottage holds, she’ll come to discover as much about her family history as she does about herself. In searching, she could finally find the one thing she’s never really had: a home.
MY THOUGHTS: The opening chapter of Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor drew me in, but then I felt that the book lost its way for a time, before finally getting back on track and reaching a satisfying conclusion. It all became a little confusing with the story split over two timelines and quite a large cast of characters. Each story has merit, and each could easily have stood on its own. But, in the end, the tying of the two stories together worked for me.
We have all been guilty, at one time or another, of saying nothing when we ought to have spoken up, whether it was a matter of principal or something more personal. And it is the unsaid things in family relationships that are at the centre of this mystery. That, and settling for second best.
Taylor has a lovely turn of phrase. ‘Old pains bob like distant buoys.’ and ‘the drumbeat of secrets grows louder’ are two examples that stuck in my mind.
Lucy’s character struck a chord with me, as did that of Natasha, but I thought Hank too good to be true! The plot is not predictable, in fact mostly entirely the opposite. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.
While not entirely enthralled by Winter Cottage, it intrigued me enough that I would read more by this author, and I intend to check out the books this author has written under the name of Mary Burton.
THE AUTHOR: Mary Ellen Taylor grew up in a southern family that embraced stories of all kinds, from a well-told anecdote to a good yarn or a tall tale. It may have been inevitable that Taylor would take her storytelling heritage to new heights, moving beyond the oral tradition to become a published author.
Taylor, who finds cooking and baking to be important creative outlets, explores some of the challenges and comforts of those pursuits in her Alexandria set novels THE UNION STREET BAKERY, SWEET EXPECTATIONS, AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET and THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET. The novels, which explore themes of family, adoption, belonging and personal history, are influenced by her life and family. Both her grandmother and her daughter were adopted, as is Daisy McCrae, the protagonist in her first novel written as Mary Ellen Taylor, THE UNION STREET BAKERY.
Taylor was born and has spent most of her life in Richmond, but also lived in Alexandria for four years. She received her degree in English from Virginia’s Hollins University, and worked in marketing and sales before she became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories swirling in her head. Today, twenty-eight of her romance and suspense novels and five novellas written as Mary Burton have been published, earning praise from readers and reviewers and have made her a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. THE UNION STREET BAKERY was her first novel as Mary Ellen Taylor.
When not writing or appearing at conferences and book signings, Taylor continues her culinary pursuits. She’s been a kitchen assistant for more than fifty culinary classes over the past seven years at Sur la Table and earned her Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate from the University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts program. In addition to spending time with her family and her three miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella and Tiki, Mary Ellen enjoys walking and honing her culinary skills.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Montlake Romance via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2433665069