Erin's new business as a wedding planner is running at full speed and her empty nest years are full of promise when she receives a call that puts everything on hold: her estranged father has had a stroke. The twinkle is fading from Jack O'Riley's Irish eyes and his calloused second wife leaves, making it clear this is not what she signed up for.Suddenly Erin's visit to her father's cottage by the sea is extended indefinitely. At first the task before her is as daunting as the wild Oregon coast that has become her unwanted second home. Yet in the many hours she spends beside her ailing father, Erin finds a treasure hidden in the darkness. She reaches out and, at long last, receives the gift of healing.
From bestselling and award-winning author Robin Jones Gunn—a poignant novel about a woman who must care for her ill and elderly father, hoping to mend both his health and their relationship.
A daughter’s gift of time, a father’s silent wish.
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.
Robin Jones Gunn is the author of more than seventy novels, which have sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, including three Christy Award winners and a Gold Medallion Award finalist.
In Cottage by the Sea by Robin Jones Gunn, the main character, Erin Bryce, has had one dream: to start a wedding planning business. With her best friend, she creates "The Happiest Day" in honor of their clients' longing for this unity. However, things take a sharp turn downward when Erin receives a call informing her of her father's stroke. After her decision to take care of her father in his Oregon cottage, Erin is forced to reevaluate many areas of her life, as well as her definition of "the happiest day."
Throughout this book, Gunn juxtaposes relationships to accent ideas of forgiveness, love, and the beginnings and ends of family ties. As a character, Erin gets a chance to do what many wish they had a chance to do: say goodbye. The pain that surrounds a dying loved one adds to the emotional strength of the book, and when Erin is forced to make a decision between staying with her dad or pursuing her dreams, Gunn brings a whole new level to Erin's life verse, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10).
Overall, I would recommend this book. Gunn has created wonderful characters and a relatable plot, and she has painted it all into beautiful scenery in the cottage by the sea. My only criticism is that the book moved a little slowly in some points with excess back story, but for the most part, I was completely drawn into this book. - Ronni Meier, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Sierra Jensen, from Gunns series of young adult novels (and the companion Christy Miller series), makes a cameo as the new daughter-in-law of Erin Bryce, who has just started a California wedding-planning business with her best friend Sharlene. Erins best-laid plans are interrupted, however, when her father suffers a stroke and is abandoned by his new wife. Erin goes to Oregon to care for her father at his beloved cottage by the sea, where she deals with feelings of betrayal, loss, and responsibility while discovering that peoples motivations, including her own, might not be what they first seem. Erins faith is nicely incorporated as a character trait without seeming preachy, and the stoke victims frustration at not having control over his body and speech is touchingly portrayed. Unfortunately, a heavy-handed narrative lacking focus or details keeps the plot and characters from developing to full potential. (July) 2012 Reed Business Information
"One of Gunn’s amazing talents is to describe the setting of her novel in such a way that it almost becomes a character in the tale. Readers will definitely want to visit the Oregon coast! The plot is incredibly relevant and truly shows how honoring one’s parents, even when they don’t seem to deserve it, is an excellent tenet to hold." —Romantic Times
“One of the lionesses of Christian fiction, at the peak of her prowess, pens her most ambitious—and personal—tale to date.” —Jerry B. Jenkins, bestselling author of The Left Behind Series, owner of Christian Writers Guild
“Every once in a while, a novelist writes a book that transcends all her others—because this one isn't merely a good story, it's a story wrung from the novelist's heart, every line squeezed from personal tears, pain, and struggle. Cottage by the Sea is that kind of book for my friend Robin Jones Gunn. I know her heart, and I know you will grow and be blessed by reading this book, her novel-from-the-heart.” —Angela Hunt, author of Five Miles South of Peculiar
“Robin writes with an honesty, heart, and skill that draws you deep into the center of her character's lives. Cottage by the Sea is some of the best work by one of our best writers.” —Bill Myers, author of The God Hater
“Cottage by the Sea is a lyrical work of great joy, heartache, and triumph. Robin Gunn's writing has never been stronger. The characters are vividly drawn, the challenges they face achingly real. Highly recommended.” —Davis Bunn, bestselling author
"In this tender story of letting go, Robin's words will minister to those with a hurting heart as emotional entrapments of guilt and unresolved issues are delicately detangled. You will smile through the tears and long to experience more of God's gentle grace in this Cottage by the Sea." —Margaret McSweeney, author of Aftermath: Finding Grace Through Grief
“Cottage by the Sea made me feel right at home. As usual Robin Jones Gunn has shared a meaningful story that both encourages and enlightens—definitely a journey you won’t want to miss. I can still smell the salty air.” —Melody Carlson, award-winning author of River's Song and The Four Lindas