Review: Any visit to Hope Beach is one to be treasured. The small town setting is a piece of cozy comfort featuring equally personable characters. Rosemary Cottage is another charming story of faith and family – it’s a heartfelt novel that doesn’t seem to forget the people of the story. In fans second journey to the nestled island – one that’s name is woven into the very fabric of each story, we meet Amy Lang, a young woman who defied her influential father’s wishes that she become a doctor and instead choses a more fulfilling line of work as a midwife. Connected to the past of her now deceased brother – through ties Amy isn’t ready to face, she reconnects with Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland whose own sister died two short weeks prior to Amy’s brother Ben. When Amy begins to suspect that her bothers death was no accident, her findings point in ominous directions that Amy nor Curtis, may not be prepared to face.
Following in the tradition of Colleen Coble’s prior novels, her latest is a story of pasts riddled with secrets. Colleen has a knack for writing characters that are easy to like and are memorable figures in inspirational fiction. Another one of her trademarks is the presence of a child or children, and ‘Rosemary’ introduces us to Raine, the adorable one-year-old niece of Curtis. The existence of a child turns out to have multiple reasons in this story though none more compelling than how much Curtis loves the little girl and the care he puts into raising the child. Having this characteristic gives readers a deeper look into Curtis as a person – he loves deeply and defends anyone he loves to a fault. He and Amy share this in common. Both of them loved their siblings and find it unfathomable to believe the worst, however one of the books minor flaws is the arguments between Amy and Curtis; their blind belief in family isn’t a “bad” thing, rather it’s how they transfer those doubts and questions onto each other that makes me disappointed. Once the two of them make the decision to uncover the shadowy secrets in the past, they rarely walk away without anger. This also carries into the ending which was, admittedly not paced very well. A handful of chapters lead up to the climax and in one short chapter, everything is resolved – not only does the danger pass, Amy sheds her protective skin and lays her heart bare when she realizes the depth of her feelings for Curtis, the secret she protected from him for the entire book suddenly comes rushing out and all while they are concerned over the fate of a loved one. Had the crux of the suspense in the final fourth of the book ended prior to the last chapter or there been an epilogue, the pacing wouldn’t have been as limiting or as “convenient” as it did.
That being said, this girl still loved Rosemary Cottage. More romantic than its predecessor, all of the characters were hiding from something in their own way – each in need of healing and the comfort only He can bring. Catching up with Libby and Alec was a treat and I was impressed how effortlessly Amy’s work was woven into the story. Being from a family who doesn’t use medical care needlessly, it was interesting to read about her healing herbs and the natural remedies she believed were better for health reasons and fortunately, never is the subject over used or abused. Since the topic of “healers” is often one of debate, its subtly is one to appreciate. Really, the entire book was beautifully written and once again, it boasts a pretty neat hero, which of course, has nothing to do with him being a Coast Guard officer who puts his life on the line to save others. Possibilities are endless over who the next book could be about and I know I am one reader who is anxious to know if they’ll be a book three. Skillfully written in care amidst a nurturing, healing environment with persuasive underpinnings of mystery that is sure to keep readers guessing, Coble’s story is a charming summer read not to be missed!
Synopsis: The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.
Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina. Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?
Coming Next from Colleen Coble: When Lilly Donnelly arrives at the Cutlers’ famed Butterfly Mansion in 1899, the massive house and unfamiliar duties threaten to overwhelm her. Victorian Austin is lavish, highly political, and intimidating, but with the help of the other servants, Lilly resolves to prove herself to her new employers. Then, while serving at an elegant dinner party, Lilly recognizes one distinguished guest as Andrew, the love of her life, who abandoned her without a word back home. He seems to have assumed a new identity and refuses to acknowledge her, leaving her confused and reeling. Before Lilly can absorb this unwelcome news, she’s attacked. Could it be the sinister Servant Girl Killer who has been terrorizing Austin? Or is it someone after something more personal—someone from her past? Does she dare trust Andrew to help or is he part of the danger threatening to draw Lilly into its vortex? – January 2014
Sincere thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes