What do you do when your best friend has an affair with your husband of twenty-five years? The father of your two children and the person you trusted with your heart? Not to mention the best years of your life …
Well, you pack your bags, grab half of the equity in the house you’ve both lovingly restored and run away to an idyllic little cottage in the country.
Only, it’s not quite so idyllic when
1) Rustic charm sounds romantic, but the reality is something else…
2) The heavens decide to open on moving day and the rain just keeps on coming.
Maddie Brooks grits her teeth and hires the highly recommended ‘man who can’, ex-soldier, Lewis Hart. As he rips out the very shabby, and decidedly not-so-chic kitchen, reality sets in. Not only is he the most abrupt person she’s ever met, but the man is a Neanderthal!
As the flood waters rise, and the village is cut off, everything that could possibly go wrong, does.
Hitting the big five-o is the final straw. No presents, family or friends—just infuriating Lewis, who can’t leave because the flood has now cut off his exit. How on earth is she going to get through this and put her life back together?
Can Maddie Brooks become that ‘fifty-and-fabulous’ woman of her dreams?
Source: ARC from Harper Impulse via NetGalley
I enjoyed this one – mostly. Maddie is a great heroine, sympathetic, nice and enjoyable to read about. She’s a recent divorcée nearing her fiftieth birthday, with two grown sons who have definitely flown the nest. Since her life has completely changed she’s decided to live her dream – a cottage in the country. Amidst traffic jams, surly estate agents, paperwork nightmares and general problems, she finally gets the one she wants and finds out it’s a lot more than she expected to handle. Not least because her handyman has an agenda all of his own.
I really liked Maddie, she has a distinctive voice and a clear vision for what she wants. I loved seeing her confidence return and how she dealt with all her problems. She’s a lot stronger than she thinks and I wanted her to end up with all the good things.
Unfortunately for Maddie, what she gets is Lewis. Wow, what a rude, surly, miserable man. I really didn’t like him, and every time I considered changing my mind there’d be a chapter from his POV and I’d start disliking him again. The assumptions he makes about Maddie were infuriating – almost as annoying as the way he calls her lady. Gah. And that’s without the weird ninety-degree swerve things took in his last chapter.
Actually, that whole last section, from Lewis chapter through to Maddie’s following ones, really annoyed me. First Lewis’ revelation comes out of nowhere, then Maddie makes a sudden change of plans and goes after what was obvious from the start, without any indication that things would be different. And there’s no lead in! One moment she was set on something else, the next she’s decided it’s all love and this is what she wants. Could we not have had at least one chapter, or scene, or even paragraph that dealt with the other situation or at least her change of heart before – Ta dah! Ending! Hearts, flowers, happiness, look at the pretties, not at the gaping holes. Chocolate anyone?
Yes, that’s where all of this was obviously going from the start, but having wasted a chunk of the book sidetracking on a relationship that was clearly doomed before it began (and was never remotely convincing anyway) could we not have at least cleared it up properly before pulling the rather shocked-looking romantic bunny out of (quite frankly tattered) hat and waving the jazz hands of distraction. Because it didn’t work. I noticed what was missing and I wasn’t happy about it.
Which is a shame, because until that all happened I quite enjoyed this. Sure, the whole extra suitor was something I could have lived with out since it lacked conviction, but I liked Maddie enough to want to see her reach her happy ending. But after going through so much of it with her, it might have been nice to have seen her join the dots for herself and choose her own happiness. Just including Lewis would never be enough because I didn’t like him most of the time.
If you’re looking for a tale that gives a more realistic view of owning a dream cottage – and all the aches and pains of renovations – then this delivers in spades. It also offers up a great heroine and a mostly fun story. If you like surly heroes who have chips on their shoulder, then you’ll probably like Lewis more than I did. As a summer read it definitely fits the bill, I’m just annoyed because it could have been better if treated with a little more care.
A Cottage in the Country is Out Now!
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