WINTER COTTAGE – Mary Ellen Taylor
Cape Hudson, Virginia – 1916, 1988, 2018
1988 - Catherine Buchanan allows teenager Beth Jessup to video her interview for a school project, but she will always keep a secret that she hopes will never be known. Catherine's past is tied to Winter Cottage and the former owners, her husband's parents, who never approved of her marriage to their son. And Catherine's young love for another town member will not be mentioned to Beth either.
2018 - Lucy Kincaid is on a quest her dying mother sent her on. Wild, unpredictable, but loving Beth wants her daughter to return to Beth's hometown to claim an inheritance. Beth had always kept her past a secret, especially as to who Lucy's father is. Now, with Beth's ashes and her young German Shepherd in tow, Lucy is in Cape Hudson to find the house that was left to her mother. The small town is well aware of who Lucy is and the citizens remember Beth very well.
When Lucy contacts Hank Garrison, the lawyer handling the house transfer, she discovers quickly that, as friendly as Hank is, he is not exactly thrilled about her getting Winter Cottage. He reveals to her that he is trying to rebuild the town's standing by expanding his vineyard, and that includes land around the house. Lucy isn't sure she's ready to settle in such an insulated community after growing up in Nashville, but she'll make that decision soon.
Once she is settled in the house, Lucy begins to research its history as well as her own family background. She finds video tapes done by her mother when she was in high school of the woman who owned Winter Cottage, and a saga begins to unfold.
Lucy takes in Natasha, a twelve-year-old girl she finds hiding in her house, knowing exactly how the child must feel. Natasha lost her mother too, and her ne'er do well father's violent and drunken behavior has left the brave little girl with a chip on her shoulder. Lucy understands Natasha's vulnerability, and between Lucy and Hank, they want to improve her life. But how will that happen if Lucy decides not to stay in Cape Hudson? The more Lucy discovers the facts of her past, the more confused she is about her feelings for Winter Cottage, her first real home, and the friends she's making in the small town.
WINTER COTTAGE is a very entertaining and well written story of family, friendships, and a mysterious house. The characters are realistic and honest, and the mysteries are solved eventually. WINTER COTTAGE is an excellent way to end the summer.