“Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.
Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.
As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.
But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?”
So delighted and excited to be taking part in the gorgeous, autumnal treat of a book, Coming Home To Maple Cottage by Holly Martin. My thank to Kim Nash at Bookouture for allowing me on to the tour and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
Anyone who has read a book by Holly Martin before knows what to expect and the lovely cover of the book gives more clues that this is a warm romantic read, perfect for these lengthening autumn evenings when all you want to do is draw the curtains and hunker down with a mug of hot chocolate and a cosy read.
The book is set in the friendly little seaside town of Sandcastle Bay. However, this idyll has only become home again to Isla Rosewood following the tragic death of her brother, Matthew, which has resulted in Isla being forced to abandon her life in London and being dumped by her long-term boyfriend so she can return home and take up guardianship of her five-year-old nephew, Elliot. She is slowly rebuilding a life for the two of them with the help of the close-knit community in Sandcastle Bay, including her friends and family and, particularly, Matthew’s best friend Leo Jackson. But then all of this is put in jeopardy by an unwelcome arrival in the town…
There is much to love about this book. The characters are all warm and likeable; Holly has a flair for writing people that you are drawn to. Isla’s plight is interesting and compelling enough to have you desperate to find out what is going to happen and invested in the story to the final page. Leo is a suitable attractive but flawed romantic lead in the best traditions of the genre so I was praying for things to work out between him and Isla, essential in a book of this kind. There is also a supporting cast of interesting townsfolk, some of whom bring a welcome comic streak to the story with their small town gossiping and I was cringing along with Isla at times, but it was a very accurate portrayal of how small towns work. My favourite character, though, is Elliot. He is just adorable and Holly does a great job of capturing the speech and obsessions of a five-year-old. The relationships between Elliot and Isla and Leo and Elliot are the beating heart of this book and are a joy to behold.
I did have a couple of problems with this book. A minor one was some of the names – they are way out there on the tweeness scale, even more so than in normal in one of Holly’s book, so sugary they made my teeth hurt. Hot Chocolate Cottage was a step too far for me, I’m afraid.
My main issue was with one of the major plot devices. I don’t want to give too much away but, as a solicitor, I have to say that I could not suspend my disbelief enough to accept the actions of one of the characters. I just don’t believe it would happen like that. Even with all the poetic licence in the world it just did not ring true. Sorry. It did rather spoil the book for me and I wish Holly had found some other way of dealing with that aspect of the story.
On the up side, I really loved all the little autumnal details that were in there with the festivities and activities. And the romance between Isla and Leo was completely authentic and I loved that aspect of the book.
This is a sweet story and I am sure fans of Holly’s will love it, it has all the elements present that make her books os popular. There was a lot in it that I enjoyed and I am not sorry I read it. Even with the drawbacks, I was still eager to read to the end, but I could have enjoyed it more if some of the above issues had been different. Good, but not perfect, but you should read it and make your own judgement.
Coming Home To Maple Cottage is out now and you can buy a copy here.
To follow the rest of the tour, make sure you check out the blogs listed below:
About the Author
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.
Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books.
Connect with Holly:
Facebook: Holly Martin Author
Goodreads: Holly Martin