Friday, January 28, 2022

Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin Harper

 Aunt Ivy's Cottage

Book Summary

Up in the attic, with views across the sparkling bay, she opens the lid of the carved trunk. Carefully moving aside the delicate linen wedding dress once worn by her great-aunt, she unpacks all the smaller boxes inside until she finds the leather-bound diary. She knows this will change everything…

All Zoey’s happiest childhood memories are of her great-aunt Ivy’s rickety cottage on Dune Island, being spoiled with cranberry ice cream and watching the tides change from the rooftop. Now, heartbroken from a recent breakup, Zoey can see her elderly aunt’s spark is fading, and decides to move to the island so they can care for each other.

When she arrives to find her cousin, Mark, sitting at the solid oak kitchen table, she knows why Aunt Ivy hasn’t been herself. Because Mark—next in line to inherit the house—is pushing Ivy to move into a nursing home.

With the cousins clashing over what’s best for Ivy, Zoey is surprised when the local carpenter who’s working on Ivy’s cottage takes her side. As he offers Zoey comfort, the two grow close. Together, they make a discovery in the attic that links the family to the mysterious and reclusive local lighthouse keeper, and throws doubt on Mark’s claim…

Now Zoey has a heartbreaking choice to make. The discovery could keep Ivy in the house she’s loved her whole life… but can Zoey trust that the carpenter really has Ivy’s best interests at heart? And will dredging up an old secret destroy the peace and happiness of Ivy’s final years—and tear this family apart for good?

A stunning and emotional read about old secrets, new love and never forgetting the importance of family. Perfect for fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Robyn Carr and Mary Alice Monroe.

My Thoughts

Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristin Harper takes us to Dune Island where Zoey has experienced many happy memories.  I thought the cover was just lovely for Aunt Ivy’s Cottage.  The descriptions of the island and Aunt Ivy’s cottage are vivid.  The author brought the scenery alive with her word imagery.  There is a cast of characters with most of them related to Zoey.  After the death of a close relative, Zoey stays on the island to take care of Aunt Ivy who is getting on in years.  Zoey is then contacted by her niece’s stepmother.  She would like to send Gabi, Zoey’s niece, to stay with Zoey with her while.  She believes it is in the best interest of Gabi.  Zoey is also dealing with the loss of a job and her cousin, Mark who is next in line to inherit the house.  Mark would like his inheritance sooner rather than later and is trying to get Aunt Ivy to move into an assisted living facility.  After a comment from a longtime island resident, Zoey begins to wonder if there is a secret that may help save Aunt Ivy’s home from Mark’s clutches.  

Aunt Ivy’s Cottage moved along at a meandering pace.  The book needed action to help move it forward.  The pace was very sluggish in places.  The first paragraph of the blurb is completely inaccurate (finding a leatherbound diary in a trunk under a wedding dress).  This paragraph is what made me pick up Aunt Ivy’s Cottage.   My favorite characters are Aunt Ivy and Gabi.  Aunt Ivy has a wealth of knowledge as well as family stories to share.  Gabi is a teenager who lost her mother, her father has remarried—twice, and now her father is overindulging in alcohol.  The poor girl has gone through a lot in her fourteen years.  The mystery was not so mysterious.  It is a cinch to figure out.  The big “reveal” is a disappointment.  I felt that one person’s reaction was dramatically understated.  Based on how this character behaved throughout the book, I expected a big reaction and a dustup (there should have been fireworks).  The scene was rushed, and I found it to be a disappointment. The romance between Nick, the local handyman/carpenter, and Zoey was okay.  I did not feel any sparks between them.  I like the premise for Aunt Ivy’s Cottage, but I feel the story needed a little more work.  It needed continuity, action, and less focus on Zoey’s zigzagging emotions. I found much of Aunt Ivy’s Cottage to be gloomy.  Death, grief, loss of job, and other topics are discussed along with the emotions.  I wanted a heartwarming story, and I did not feel this met the mark. Aunt Ivy’s Cottage has a good premise but needs a little fine tuning (like fixing the inconsistencies).  Aunt Ivy’s Cottage sweeps us away to a charming island where a family deals with two beloved relatives getting on in years and a long-buried secret.

Aunt Ivy's Cottage is available from Amazon*.  Kristin Harper's other two novels are A Letter from Nana Rose and Summer at Hope Haven.  You can follow Kristin Harper on Amazon in order to receive email updates on her latest book releases.  Thank you so much for dropping by today.  Tomorrow I am a stop on the Celebrate Lit Tour for Magdelena's Choice by Molly Jebber.  We return to Charm, Ohio in 1914 with Magdelena Beachy.  It is the 5th book in The Amish Charm Bakery series.  I hope that you have a joyful day.  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!


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