THE SECRET OF EMERALD COTTAGE
A love story to die for...
Molly Stewart -- ex-Navy nurse and former evidence technician for the Charleston Police Department -- has been burned by love. So when her friend Pastor Chase Griffin begs her to move to scenic Lake Loon to be a nurse and companion for Miss Lilly, his elderly landlady, she jumps at the chance. The secluded and cozy cottage on a clear mountain lake seems the perfect place to heal from her fiance's betrayal as well as indulge in one of her greatest passions -- cozy romance. First with reading them by the bookcase and then hopefully, if dreams come true, writing and solving them one day as an author and detective. But when Miss Lilly's estranged great nephew shoes up, it's no mystery as to why he and Molly butt heads. Because it only takes one stolen kiss -- while she's sleeping no less -- to discover he's an even bigger player than the ex-fiance who broke her heart.
When international playboy and Irish soccer star Brec McGill learns his long-lost great aunt is in a coma from a drowning accident, he rushes to her side. No only is he anxious to reconnect with his only living relative he spent summers with as a boy, but her cottage on Lake Loon, Georgia is the perfect respite to heal from game injuries and escape a tabloid scandal. At thirty-three, he's disillusioned with the game, his fiance, and life in general, craving nothing but a little peace and solitude to get his head on straight. But when he discovers his aunt's cottage is not only inhabited by a crusty Aunt Lilly he hasn't seen in years, but a pretty prude of a nurse as well, his plans take a nose-dive in the Lake. Because suddenly it appears not only was Aunt Lilly's accident no accident...but somebody out there wants to see them all dead.
All of Julie Lessman's trademark sizzle and spark with a hint of mystery besides? Yes please!
This author has a deft hand with characterization that always leaves me feeling like I'm witnessing the angst and turmoil in real lives...because it ain't a Lessman story unless your tummy's in a twist and you have a lump in your throat some of the time. :-)
Molly's all snap and sass -- a strong willed woman who values honesty, integrity and faith...which is kind of a problem when Brec shows up because he's been anything but. Not her ideal man but my how those sparks just seem to zip and zing around them every which way. There's a prodigal son twist to this story that was moving and inspiring...
But...and I can't believe I'm saying this...I was#team 'other guy' all the way. No spoiler because it's obvious from the cover blurb who the hero is in this story, but yes, there's a bit of a love triangle going on here. It's not the dominant part of the story, but it's there, and the other guy had my vote even though I knew it wouldn't turn out well for him. Sigh. I'm hoping the author writes him his very own love story. Sniffle.
I think what put me off Brec was the meet-cute. It made me uncomfortable -- again, no spoilers -- but -- gah, I'd like to talk this out with someone -- let's just say I found it unsettling enough that I was off kilter the rest of the read so while I could appreciate his growth and his vulnerabilities and the inner battles he had over making sense of his past in order to make changes in his present...well, I still connected with Other Guy more.
The mystery is multi-layer intriguing, but I wouldn't say it's the main focus of the story. Molly and Brec's relationship is definitely front and centre but with this Gothic-y vibe, creep factor suspense that seeps into their lives and keeps the reader on edge trying to figure out what happened to Aunt Lilly and why. In between swooning over the toe-curling scenes, because this is a Julie Lessman creation after all. :-)
This giveaway is for an ebook copy
If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Secret of Emerald Cottage, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoread AT yahoo DOT ca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT AND DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Saturday October 23 2021. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!