The Cottage in the Highlands by Julie Shackman @G13Julie #ContemporaryFiction#Mystery @ØneMoreChapter_ #BookTwitter #NetGalley

61072308Author: Julie Shackman 

Published: December 2022 by One More Chapter

Category: Contemporary Fiction


When Leonie Baxter finds herself out of a job and out of a relationship, she’s at her wits end. Her life has just been turned upside down and she needs a plan, fast.

By chance, on a walk with her rescue puppy, Leonie stumbles across a striking house in the woods; fully furnished but unoccupied. As a journalist, she is determined to find out more, after all, reporting is in her nature.

But her attempts are thwarted by Lily Cruickshank who lives in the cottage next door. Why won’t Lily help Leonie? And who is the mysterious Flynn Talbot, whose letter Leonie finds inside the house?

And in uncovering the secrets of the abandoned house, will Leonie open her own heart and let love back into her life?

Leonie Baxter had worked for The Silver Ness News as a junior reporter for two years and loved her job, so the news that the paper was being taken over came as a huge blow. The small team, Doug, Frances and Leonie, had worked well together and they were all upset about the amalgamation with a large newspaper group. But the fact remained Leonie was out of a job and she had a mortgage to pay, not to mention her living expenses.

Trawling for jobs was a thankless task and Leonie needed a break. She decided a walk with her 10 month old rescue cockapoo, was in order to try and unwind. Letting Harley off lead didn’t help matters when she didn’t return at Leonie’s whistle and was nowhere to be seen. Chasing after Harley, Leonie finally caught up with her by an abandoned looking house in a wooded area. Despite its air of dilapidation, the house had something about it that drew Leonie’s attention.

I was reaching for the letterbox to give it a rattle in the hope that someone might answer and assure me they were alright when I realised there was the sound of someone — or something — moving behind me.

I spun round, my heart whizzing up to my throat. Harley let out a nervous growl.

A silhouetted figure stood there. “And what do you think you’re doing?” barked an aggressive female voice.

Leonie’s journalistic instincts kick in after seeing the house and meeting Lily, and take her in directions she would never have envisaged. All this while trying to settle into her new job, which wasn’t quite what she believed she’d applied for.

The Cottage in the Highlands is an easy, feel good read with interesting, mostly likeable characters and shades of The Devil Wears Prada. I like books set in the Highlands, it’s such a beautiful location, but I didn’t actually get the sense of being there. However, the storyline with its twists and secrets, Leonie’s attempts at solving the mystery and how it connects to the past, plus her struggles in her new job made for an entertaining read.

My thanks to One More Chapter and NetGalley for my review copy.


JulieShackmanJulie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and adopted a Romanian rescue puppy, Cooper.

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