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Cottage by the Sea

Title:  Cottage by the Sea
Author:  Robin Jones Gunn
Pages:  248
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Howard Books
Note:  I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Follow my other reviews at  and on twitter @lcjohnson1988
                What a great story!  This is a contemporary work of fiction, but it is easy to see very real emotions and actions in very lifelike situations as shown by the characters.  The main character is Erin, who is a 50-something-year-old, married, mother of three.  She and her best friend, Sharlene, have been planning for 2-1/2 years the opening of their bridal planning business called “The Happiest Day”.  On their opening day, they get their first client and things appear to be looking good for the future.
                All of Erin’s life she has sought the approval of her father.  Just once she wants to hear him say he is proud of her or that he loves her.  Her mother has died about five years previous, and her father has remarried and moved from California to the coast of Oregon.  He has bought a rundown cottage that he and his wife slowly renovate to make into a charming home.  It is called the Hidden Cottage and it is right on a cliff above the sea.  He moved there saying that there was nothing left for him in California, which is where Erin lives.  Ouch!  Also, her father has been estranged from Erin’s brother Tony for 20 years.  However, throughout her life her father and mother have been believers in the Lord, teaching their children by living their faith.
                A health crisis brings Erin to Oregon and into the company of her step-mother, who Erin sees as abrupt, controlling, and sometimes downright mean.  How could her father marry someone who is completely the opposite of his first wife?  Erin’s anger grows and causes her to make assumptions about certain situations.  Erin begins to spend time outdoors in Oregon, appreciating God’s creation.  The reader can see Erin’s emotions reflected in the actions of the waves of the sea.  As Erin spends more time with her father, she begins to resolve her issues with her father and love him more.  She also is about to drive her business partner and best friend to exhaustion as Sharlene must handle the entire flourishing business alone while Erin is in Oregon.  Sharlene begins to make rumblings of discontent.  Will they be able to work things out?  Will Erin be able to keep her share of the business?  Erin has a wonderfully supportive and loving husband.  Together they make decisions after praying first.
                This book has it all on the emotional spectrum:  love, forgiveness, mercy, anger, resentment, commitment, and much more.  The author has done a great job bringing these characters to life and making their emotions easily identifiable with the reader.  The way all the happenings are pulled together by the author to make a satisfying story that pulls at your heart strings is wonderful.
My rating for this work of fiction is 4.5 stars.
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