Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: The Guest Cottage

Summary: Sensible thirty-six-year-old Sophie Anderson has always known what to do. She knows her role in life: supportive wife of a successful architect and calm, capable mother of two. But on a warm summer night, as the house grows quiet around her and her children fall asleep, she wonders what’s missing from her life. When her husband echoes that lonely question, announcing that he’s leaving her for another woman, Sophie realizes she has no idea what’s next. Impulsively renting a guest cottage on Nantucket from her friend Susie Swenson, Sophie rounds up her kids, Jonah and Lacey, and leaves Boston for a quiet family vacation, minus one.

Also minus one is Trevor Black, a software entrepreneur who has recently lost his wife. Trevor is the last person to imagine himself, age thirty and on his own, raising a little boy like Leo—smart and sweet, but grappling constantly with his mother’s death, growing more and more closed off. Hoping a quiet summer on the Nantucket coast will help him reconnect with Leo, Trevor rents a guest house on the beautiful island from his friend Ivan Swenson.

Best-laid plans run awry when Sophie and Trevor realize they’ve mistakenly rented the same house. Still, determined to make this a summer their kids will always remember, the two agree to share the Swensons’ Nantucket house. But as the summer unfolds and the families grow close, Sophie and Trevor must ask themselves if the guest cottage is all they want to share.

Inspiring and true to life, The Guest Cottage is Nancy Thayer at her finest, inscribing in graceful, knowing prose matters of the heart and the meaning of family. -- Ballantine

When I was picking out books to take with me to the Outer Banks a few weeks ago, one that I made sure to include was THE GUEST COTTAGE by Nancy Thayer. Ms. Thayer is a bestselling author known for writing beach books, and she's even been called the "Queen of Beach Reads."

THE GUEST COTTAGE is a story about two single parents and their children who end up sharing a beach house on Nantucket one summer. Sophie is a mother of two and has always been there for her successful architect husband. However, recently she's been wondering if it's enough... if this is all her life as to offer. Not surprisingly, her husband has been asking similar questions. When he tells her that he is leaving her for another woman, Sophie has no idea where to turn; and she decides to rent a guest cottage from her friend for the summer on Nantucket Island.

Meanwhile, Trevor is a young father of one whose wife has recently died. His little son Trevor isn't dealing with the loss very well, and Trevor wants to do what it takes to make Leo come out of his shell. He decides a quiet summer away from all of their recent troubles might help Leo, so he decides to rent a guest house from his friend.

Surprise! Surprise! It's the exact same guest house! I guess the owners don't really communicate all that well! Anyway, Sophie and Trevor decide that maybe they can all stay there for the summer and make things work. As their families grow closer, Sophie and Trevor find themselves attracted to each other and wonder if there's any way they can build a future with each other once they arrive back home to Boston.

THE GUEST COTTAGE was an ideal beach read. It was relatively light and full of romance, and I can see why Ms. Thayer has sold so many books. I can't really say that the premise was all that original, and I could definitely tell from the first few pages where the story was going; however, I don't think surprises and twists are necessary elements in a beachy read.

The first thing that struck me when I sat down to write this review was how gorgeous the cover was. I can guarantee that had I seen this book at a store, I would have stopped to check it out. I had an ARC of THE GUEST COTTAGE with a generic red and white cover, and I didn't fully appreciate just how pretty this book was! It certainly screams "summer!"

I enjoyed THE GUEST COTTAGE quite a bit. One reason why this book entertained me as much as it did was the character of Sophie. I could relate a bit to her as a mother (not really as a wife!), and my heart definitely went out to her. To find that her husband was having an affair and wanted a divorce is hard enough, but to be 36 years old and starting over is a scary thing. I loved how she put her children first, and she was a good mom. I also enjoyed seeing her reconnect with a passion from her past. I definitely was rooting for her to find love again (although it was certainly fast!) and happiness.

I also really liked Trevor. His situation was a little different. His wife had recently passed away and he was left all alone with his young son. He not only had to deal with the tragic loss of his wife, but he also had to deal with Leo who was becoming more and more withdrawn. On top of that, I think Trevor also began to examine his marriage and he discovered some sad and startling things about his wife. I really, really liked Trevor. He was a good man and a good father.

Ms. Thayer definitely knows how to weave a good romance. I appreciated the way she developed Sophie and Trevor's relationship, and I even liked the little bit of tension she incorporated into the story. It was obvious, that despite the age difference, that Sophie and Trevor were much better matched with each other than they were their respective spouses, and I found myself rooting for them. It was a sweet love story that also managed to incorporate their children!

THE GUEST COTTAGE would make a fun book club pick for the summer. I'm sure many readers would love to pack this one in their beach or pool bag. There is a reading guide with ten discussion questions. Some of the themes you might want to explore include love, loss, marriage, guilt, divorce, parenting, and friendship.

Overall, THE GUEST COTTAGE is an entertaining beach read. Recommended to fans of Ms. Thayer and Elin Hilderbrand.

Thanks to Elevate Communications for a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

This sounds perfect for the beach!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Sounds like a good summer read!