I want to first thank Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to read The Cottage in return for an honest review. I did not realize that this book was the second in a series. However, the storyline is easy enough to figure out as you read along. I would not recommend reading this as a stand-alone though. As I read about the past events I realized that there is a lot that, I missed out on by not reading the first story. In the front of the book, you will find a family tree and a map, which helps a lot in figuring out the characters and the setting. The book is an easy read that is perfect for wintertime. The Cottage at first glance seemed like a smaller book, but when you open the book, you will find that the print is small making the book a lot longer than I expected.
From the moment the story starts, there is conflict and excitement. We meet some wonderful characters that really pulled me in with only a few pages. The author changes points of view constantly, which can be a good thing. However, the constant changes did not work for me or the small chapters. Why not just cut the scene and make it one large chapter? I know that it is a matter of opinion, bur as a reader; it felt choppy with so many short scenes showing characters that we probably would not see again. There were scenes that lagged, and I found myself wishing things would move quicker. I even had to reread a few scenes, because I was confused at which character was taking a turn. I am not a fan of writing out words as someone says them aloud, because a lot of the time I cannot understand what they are trying to say. There were times in the book, when I did not know what a character was saying, because he wrote out their thick accent. Luckily, he does not do it too often, and when he writes about David, his accent is clear. Sometimes the characters become a bit stereotypical, but the good this is that all the characters act that way not just the Americans. Overall, I did not like the way it was laid out for the reader, but it was a good storyline and plot overall.
Now moving on to what I liked about the book. I really enjoyed how it flashed back in time so that we could see the small town in modern day and in the past. I found myself dying to know more about Lonis family and past as she discovers it for herself. I could imagine myself perfectly in her old house with all of its books, the fireplace, and her lovely tea times. The two main characters are amazing, and I loved the chemistry between them. The author really had me fangirling over David who is not only compassionate but also a great leader and wonderful man. The book gave me a lesson on what it is like in Scotland, considering I have not read anything prior to this book about their culture. I also learned a lot through this book about Quakers and their religion. The many characters that Loni meets in the small town are not only relatable, but they are fun and sometimes blunt making them a treat to read about. It was definitely a new experience, and I really enjoyed the people in his story.
The book is very different from the Christian Fiction novels that I have read. It has a lot more action and does well in staying realistic with the events that revolve around Loni and her inheritance. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a book that has some romance between the characters but is not overwhelmed by just a relationship. The author does a wonderful job at slowly revealing the past and the characters secrets keeping me wanting more all the way to the end. I plan to read the last book in the series, (assuming that it is the last book) The Legacy. I want to thank Bethany House again for allowing me to read this wonderful and cozy read.
A beautiful & moving story from a master storyteller
December 20, 2016
Blooming with Books
Secrets of the Shetlands #2
By Michael Phillips
Two weeks ago Alonnah "Loni" Ford found out that she was the heir to property in the Shetland Islands. But the Cottage is more than just a quaint Scottish home and the majority of Whales Reef is part of her inheritance.
Will the people ever accept an American as their Laird? And learning that the island is now in the hands of a woman might be more than the people of Whales Reef can accept. And when Loni hears that the Chief is not fond of Americans she's uncertain that she wants to meet the man the community feels she usurped.
With everyone having an opinion about her fitness to determine the future of Whales Reef Loni herself becomes uncertain of her next step. Does she accept her inheritance and the responsibilities that come with it? Or does she decline it allowing the courts to decide the island's fate?
Before she can make a decision Loni must confront that which has held her hostage all her life - secrets have defined her life and now she must peel back the layers that have made her who she is. Can she discover who she is before it is too late?
In typical style Michael Phillips's book takes place in different times as the past of Whales Reef is revealed in connection with the current upheaval the island and community now faces. The past is taken from a journal that belonged to Loni's great-grandmother and is easily identifiable in the reading as it is in italics. I personally love this back and forth format that slowly reveals the back story. Also fun is allusions to previous series Michael Phillips has written (I quickly identified the Stonewycke and Heathersleigh Hall series character references). It is not necessary to read the first book in the series to be able to enjoy this (somehow I managed to miss the first book and yet still thoroughly this book, but now I want to know what happened earlier).
I received a copy of this book from the publisher with no expectation of a review positive or otherwise - all opinions expressed are my own.
a beautiful romance and a compelling Christian fiction read
December 20, 2016
Zoe @ Blessed and Bewildered
I highly recommend any book written by Michael Phillips. The Cottage is no exception. It is a beautiful romance and a compelling Christian fiction read. As is common in Phillips written works, The Cottage is a lesson-filled book. It is a comforting read, a relaxing read, while at the same time a spiritually and morally challenging read... if you are listening. I pray that you listen. I'm going to encourage you now to read The Inheritance, the first book in the Secrets of the Shetlands series, if you haven't already and to then read The Cottage.
I believe that sharing a few lessons that I picked up from the story and then a couple of great quotes can speak for themselves to the value of the story. Enjoy!
-You cannot judge character at first glance.
-You cannot expect a level of openness from someone that you will not give yourself.
-There is honor in not speaking unkindly of another person, even when it may cause great jeopardy to yourself and/or those you care about. This requires character; a portion of which comes from understanding the need to place the entirety of our lives in Gods hands.
-The value of a legacy
Quotes (unless the quote is specifically cited it has been pulled from dialogue within The Cottage):
I went up to my study. The familiar faces of my books welcomed me. I threw myself in my reading-chair, and gazed around me with pleasure. I felt it so homely here. All my old friends present there in the spirit ready to talk with me any moment when I was in the mood, making no claim upon my attention when I was not! I felt as if I should like, when the hour should come, to die in that chair, and pass into the society of the witnesses in the presence of the tokens they had left behind them. George MacDonald
A wise man knoweth when he has contracted foot-in-mouth disease.
Thou knowest what is expedient for my spiritual growth, he said in a quiet voice. Let Thy will be mine, and let my will ever follow Thine. Breathe knowledge of your will into my spirit, and give me courage, humility, and good cheer to do it. Make me your pure, dutiful, and humble disciple and your obedient son.
Kempiss Imitation of Christ.
I received areview copyin exchange for my honest and unbiased review. My thanks to the author and publisher.
For all of my reviews visit my blog at www (dot) blessedandbewildered (dot) com