At last I’ve had time to post the book review for A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware, which I mentioned in my earlier post. I honestly cannot remember when or why I picked this book up and decided I must buy it. However I do know that it has been sitting on my book shelf for months, if not a year. This isn’t because the book seemed awful, I bought it after all, but instead because it seemed so daunting at over 500 pages.
However I finally buckled down and read it, and boy am I glad I did!
To give a satisfying review of this book, I would need to spend pages upon pages to capture this vast story. So I’ll just give you the quick low-down.
The book follows Blythe Barton-Stowe as she escapes to secluded Cornwall, England to avoid the publicity of her very public, nasty divorce. While in Cornwall, Blythe stays in a small cottage, Painter’s Cottage, set on the a charming but rundown estate called Barton Hall (Coincidence? I think not!) owned by the brooding, charming, handsome Lucas Teague.
The main focus of the book is on Blythe as she tries to repair her broken heart and find herself after her marriage. Helping her along the way is her charming, brooding, British, landlord Lucas Teague, Lucas’ adorable 10 year-old son Richard Teague, and the motherly Housekeeper Mrs. Q. With the help of these lovely characters (and some others) Blythe stumbles upon an old family secret, comes to terms with a painful event from her past (I got teary eyed), and finds a business solution which involves not only her passion for gardening but also helps Lucas Teague and Barton Hall with their financial struggles.
Even though things seem to wrap up nicely for Blythe in the end, it takes a hard 500 pages to get there. The struggles, emotions, and confrontations which Blythe has to deal with are at times gut-wrenching and feel like she cannot catch a break. There were multiple times throughout the book where I needed to put it down, gather myself, and come back to deal with the trials which are Blythe’s life.
While Blythe Barton-Stowe is the main focus, another Blythe Barton from the 1700s also made a nice side story appearance. The story of the 1700 Blythe Barton provides a nice link to the modern Blythe as well as showing the sordid story of how Barton Hall passed from the Barton line of Blythe’s ancestors to the Teague line of Lucas’s ancestors.
My Opinion? I loved this book. It contained mystery, drama, romance, history, and a little bit of the otherworldly time travel. I loved Blythe’s spirit. Although she continued to get beaten down (her husband ran off with her sister!) she kept moving on with her life and trying to make it better. The mystery of how modern Blythe was connected to 1700 Blythe and what had occurred to 1700 Blythe keep me wondering until the end! And lastly, the history of Cornwall England from this time and the 1700 was pretty fantastic for this nerdy history buff.
So I will definitely be reading some of Ciji Ware’s other great sounding novels!
Question of the Day
Have you read anything by Ciji War? Did you enjoy it?