July 11, 2010
Review of "Cottage by the Sea" by Ciji Ware
I was entranced from the first page, between author Ciji Ware's enchanting writing and a heroine that I not only really liked but could relate to. I found Blythe to be a spunky character without being pushy or overbearing and while she was also soft, she wasn't a pushover. Her emotions and the impact on her self esteem were raw and cut through every page - - I could feel Blythe's despair in the pit of my stomach, so gripping and understandable was her pain.
Lucas Teague was a satisfying and masculine hero, from the first moment he appears as Blythe's new landlord in Cornwall to his mucking through his estate in his Wellies and dented Land Rover to his customary tea taking at 4 p.m. daily. One of my favorite aspects of Lucas was his vulnerability, showing that underneath that stiff British upper lip, he did have his flaws. In fact, several times during the course of the book, I felt strong parallels to Mr. Darcy's interactions with Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, where both parties are so strong willed and determined they can't see what is so obvious to the bystander (like this reader).
I found the historical aspects of the novel to be thoroughly enjoyable. They made up only perhaps an eighth of the book overall but they were so rich in detail and so engrossing to have put the whipped cream on top of this slice of literary pie. In fact, the flashback scenes of the original Blythe, Kit, Ennis and Garrett could have made a stunning story all on its own.
The cherry on top of this confection would have to be the incredible locale. I have never been to Cornwall (or to Britain, in fact) but Ms. Ware's beautifully descriptive writing gave me the most gorgeous mental images of this lovely coastal area of England. As Blythe described walking from Painter's Cottage to Barton Hall, I could shut my eyes and see the wooded walk, hear the waves behind me and prepare to see the rhodedendrons as tall as trees as Barton Hall came into view. This book only served to whet my appetite to see this amazing country.
Cottage by the Sea is one of the best books I have read this year, hands down, and one of my favorite historical fiction pieces overall. This book has romance, it has drama, it has history and it has the supernatural. There is something for every reader to enjoy and savor. I could not recommend this book highly enough and feel that any reader taking a pass on this delightful novel would be missing out on an incredible and worthy experience.
Cottage by the Sea is available for purchase now at major booksellers including Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
For more information on Cottage by the Sea and author Ciji Ware, please visit Ms. Ware's website.
Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.