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The Key to the Last House Before the Sea–developer versus locals
The Key to the Last House Before the Sea
by Liz Eeles
What do you do when you are a single mom in a small tourist town where rentals are sky high? Your mom and dad have both passed away and now you find yourself scattering the ashes of your beloved grandmother. You and your sweet five year old daughter are homeless, and your employer just closed his store, so you are also unemployed. Nessa is in this situation and feels she can rely on the generosity of kind friends for only so long.
She is helping out at Driftwood House, Rosie’s B&B, in an informal exchange for lodging when Gabriel in his suit and tie sweeps into town with plans to demolish “Ghost Village,” including Nessie’s family’s cottage. Nessa scrambles to find a way to stop the plans while still providing for her daughter’s future and happiness.
The story is told from the points of view of Nessa, Gabriel, and Valerie, the mother of Nessa’s ex-husband Jake. Jake is, depending on whom you talk to a star of industry in his new job (Valerie), an unreliable, rarely present or contributing father (Nessa), or a free spirit (Jake). All of the characters have secrets and problems. As they work through them, there are interesting plot twists that arise. Nessa is passionate about her family and their legacy and about doing her best and what is right for her daughter Lily who is an adorable child.
Without indulging in spoilers, I can say that this is a story that became a page turner for me, but not in the sense of a thriller. I became involved in the characters and wanted to see happy endings for them. Like the characters, I could not see how anything nearing bliss could be achieved.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Category: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Notes: #4 in the Heaven’s Cove Series. Although a few characters from previous books have minor roles, this book is basically a standalone. Each book in the series is good, but is different in main characters, plot, and themes. The setting provides the cohesiveness.
Publication: August 19, 2022—Bookouture
She never used to be so nervous about life, but sometimes these days she hardly felt like herself at all. Perhaps it was hitting her mid-fifties and starting to feel the pull of old age. Perhaps that was why she veered between feeling murderous towards Alan and so sad that she could hardly get out of bed some mornings. Thank heavens for Lily, the one bright spot in her life.
He threw the clean towel onto his big, comfy bed and rushed down the stairs, faintly appalled that he felt so rattled by a conversation with a five-year-old. I’m a mature, successful businessman, he told himself, and the sooner I get back to London and my normal life, the better.
Nessa was trapped through financial insecurity and the responsibilities of single parenthood. His life was far more privileged but, in effect, he was trapped, too, by family expectations.
Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea–returning home
Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea
by Liz Eeles
Called home from her life in sunny Spain by her mother’s sudden death, Rosie returns to the chilly English coast and Driftwood House, her family home. Rosie never felt like she fit in when she was in high school where the popular kids called her Weirdo Rosie Merchant.
In Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea, we learn that some of her former classmates have matured and some remain bullies. Liam, the high school lothario was dumped at the altar. Belinda is the local center of information, i.e. the town gossip. Nessa, formerly called Loch Nessa Monster, was rarely seen during her high school years because her mum was terminally ill. Nessa is the survivor of a bad marriage with a little girl and is employed at a hardware store. The little town is full of characters who all want to know of Rosie’s travels and when she will be leaving again.
Most of the plot centers around secrets her mother had kept from her. It seems she didn’t know her mother as well as she thought she did. There were many life changing repercussions from these secrets. To delve into the plot further would disclose too many spoilers.
Rosie is a hard-working, determined, likable character. She changes and grows in the story. Liam is a reluctant love interest. What would be the point? Rosie will be retuning to Andalusia, her two jobs, and her boyfriend as soon as she sorts out her mother’s affairs.
Of course, the author has other plans for Rosie. I think you’ll enjoy watching the story unfold. There are several major plot and character surprises. Even the antagonists experience turn arounds that will have readers smiling happily at a very satisfactory conclusion.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Women’s Fiction
Notes: #1 in the Heaven’s Cove Series
Publication: February 18, 2021—Bookouture
Tea, the British answer to everything from disappointment to grief to crashing guilt.
…it would be good to feel…something. Something positive, rather than the sadness, humiliation, anger and anxiety that had become the four horsemen of his personal apocalypse.
The village was still shrouded but higher up, on the cliffs, the fog had been burned away by the sun, and Driftwood House was now an island in a sea of mist that swirled far below her.
Killer Comfort Food–family you choose
Killer Comfort Food
by Lynn Cahoon
There are lots of threads in Lynn Cahoon’s Killer Comfort Food. Angie Turner is a chef who owns the County Seat restaurant in River Vista along with her friend Felicia, a pastry chef who also excels in front end management of the restaurant. Angie’s initial problem is that a developer wants to buy her beloved home for a soybean plant. Complications arise as Barb, owner of the Red Eye bar, needs her help in finding her missing daughter Susan from whom she is also estranged. Susan had every reason to not just disappear, but an argument with her husband causes suspicions to lie heavily on his shoulders.
There are many other threads in this complex plot, but through them all are two shining themes. Frequently in her books, Cahoon stresses the importance of family, especially the kind of family created by people who have bonded together as a work unit or as a community. She also mentions family heritage a lot in this book, including recipes, relationships, the land worked by a family, and the memories forged there. The other theme is generosity as Angie and her friends go out of their way to support each other and extend that same kindness to people they don’t know.
Lynn Cahoon is one of my go-to authors for cozy mysteries You can even start one of her series in progress as she excels at providing background information. I recommend both this book and this series.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #5 in the Farm-to-Fork Mystery Series, but great as a standalone.
2. Cahoon reached back through the memories of her childhood and included the recipe for Quick Cookies, a cookie that requires a few minutes on the stovetop, but no baking.
Publication: January 5, 2021—Kensington
“No worrying. Not yet. Save your worry for tomorrow.”
“Hate’s a strong word. I just want Todd sent to live on the surface of the sun so I don’t have to think about him ever again.”
…she was surrounded by people who cooked when they were nervous and who also knew that food made everything just a little more bearable.