Monday, July 9, 2012

Cottage by the Sea by Robin Jones Gunn


Cottage by the Sea
by Robin Jones Gunn
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available July 2012
Howard Books
272 pages



About the Book
Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients’ longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin’s son Jordan and his fiancée, Sierra, plan a grand wedding.

But the two friends aren’t prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin’s father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father’s—and oh, yeah, Delores’s—cottage by the sea.

What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.

My Thoughts
Erin's dream of opening her own wedding planning business, The Happiest Day, is finally coming true when her step-mother calls and says that her father has had a stroke. She drops everything to help her dad. Balancing taking care of her dad, planning her son's wedding, running a successful business, and doing all the other normal mom and wife things, Erin quickly becomes overwhelmed. As she tries to mend her relationship with her father and step-mother, other relationships in her life spin out of control. Will she be able to find her "happiest day" in spite of all the turmoil in her life?

I've been a fan of Robin Jones Gunn since I read the Christy Miller series in middle school. I think this may be my favorite "adult" book of hers that I've read, though! Cottage by the Sea is a poignant story about relationships, forgiveness, and redemption. I loved how Robin explored the special relationships between mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters. At times I could see glimpses of my relationship with my own parents through the story. Erin's relationship with her husband was special as well. It was refreshing to read about a husband who faithfully and sacrificially loved his wife through a very difficult time. All of the relationships (Erin and her son, Erin and her best friend, her father and step-mother, etc.) in this book were so rich and deep. As a result, each scene was filled with emotion.

While this was one of the more emotional books by Gunn that I've read, she didn't leave me "down" for long. Instead, I ended the book full of hope and satisfied by a beautiful story. Longtime readers will also enjoy surprise encounters with some old friends. I loved every aspect of this book and will be adding it to my "keeper" shelf. [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Robin Jones Gunn is the much-loved author of seventy titles that have sold more than four million copies worldwide. Her popular Christy Miller series and Sisterchicks® novels have won a number of awards, including three Christy Awards for excellence in fiction, and a Gold Medallion Award finalist award. Robin's unique destination novels transport readers around the globe. To ensure that her tales of these extraordinary locations ring true, Robin has enjoyed the privilege of traveling to each location in order to experience the local culture. Her three visits to the Canary Islands provided bountiful research as she took flamenco dance lessons, rode a camel, and visited the chapel where Columbus prayed before departing on his famous journey. Robin and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawaii.

Robin Jones Gunn Online
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