- Author: Linn B Halton
- Published: July 2015 by Harper Impulse
- Category: Contemporary Fiction
What do you do when your best friend has an affair with the man to whom you’ve been married for 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.
I suppose not having the cottage surveyed was the first mistake—buying with your heart, and not your head, isn’t the wisest move. The second was moving in six days before Christmas, the day the heavens decided to open and the rain just kept on coming.
This review is based on an ARC from the author. This does not alter my opinion or the content of my review.
Maddie Brooks, on her way to a house viewing, is being held up in a queue of traffic by a flock of sheep and she’s already running late. After a fraught verbal exchange with the sat nav (love that – I do it myself!) she arrives at her destination to see a picturesque cottage and a fabulous view. It’s love at first sight, even taking into account the considerable renovation work needed. Maddie desperately needs a home after divorcing her cheating husband, and is able to buy the cottage outright. Her life has been turned upside down since she discovered her husband’s affair with her best friend and she’s still emotionally vulnerable. At least Maddie can count on the help and support of her boss and good friend, Ryan.
Lewis Hart, an ex soldier, who wanted to buy Ash Cottage himself for personal reasons, is more than a little put out when he realises it’s sold. And as luck would have it, he is the only person Maddie is able to hire at such short notice for the renovation work. She soon discovers her country idyll is not at all what she expected.
The question in my mind is will I feel comfortable having this man in my home? He looks more like a bouncer than a kitchen-fitter, but there’s a magnetism about him that just made something inside me turn to jelly. What on earth? I take a very deep breath and assume it’s merely hunger. Clearly, I’m in need of a quick sugar fix. He isn’t my type – too rough around the edges and very little in the way of manners, it would appear.
Circumstances conspire against Maddie from the outset and test her resolve to the extreme. I could empathise totally with the exasperation she feels as her plans are sabotaged due to the forces of nature. Not to mention the fact her 50th birthday is two days before Christmas and she’s stranded without friends or family…her only company is Lewis, the irascible ‘man who can’. Neither of them can leave because of the flood and Maddie is really questioning the wisdom of her purchase. The cottage itself is a main player in the story and Maddie’s vision of how it will look is described vividly and beautifully. I think I could live there. The fact the author has taken the setting and renovation work from real life experiences, which include the terrible weather conditions, lends an authenticity to the whole narrative.
Maddie is very sympathetic and easy to relate to, I love how her character strengthens as the story progresses and she begins to believe in herself, gaining confidence. She has the courage to start again in a completely different environment after the break up of her marriage and faces a daunting situation. A complete renovation is not for the faint hearted, especially when living in the property.
I like how several chapters are from Lewis’ point of view which give an insight into his character and make him more likeable than he first appears, especially as his reasons become apparent.
Maddie’s change of heart towards the end is perhaps a little abrupt but I’m glad she made the choice she did. A Cottage in the Country is an entertaining and feel good read, and I love how Linn Halton always adds a touch of the spiritual/paranormal to her books. There are two book covers to choose from, summer and winter. I love a winter scene.