The Guest Cottage by Nancy Theyer 

This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. It’s taken me a while to post this review, because I hated the book. I try not to write negative reviews; it has taken someone a long time to write a novel, so I try to be respectful of that, but I just didn’t like anything about this novel. 

From the blurb: 

 Sensible thirty-six-year-old Sophie Anderson has always known what to do. She knows her role in life: supportive wife of a successful architect and calm, capable mother of two. But on a warm summer night, as the house grows quiet around her and her children fall asleep, she wonders what’s missing from her life. When her husband echoes that lonely question, announcing that he’s leaving her for another woman, Sophie realizes she has no idea what’s next. Impulsively renting a guest cottage on Nantucket from her friend Susie Swenson, Sophie rounds up her kids, Jonah and Lacey, and leaves Boston for a quiet family vacation, minus one.

Also minus one is Trevor Black, a software entrepreneur who has recently lost his wife. Trevor is the last person to imagine himself, age thirty and on his own, raising a little boy like Leo—smart and sweet, but grappling constantly with his mother’s death, growing more and more closed off. Hoping a quiet summer on the Nantucket coast will help him reconnect with Leo, Trevor rents a guest house on the beautiful island from his friend Ivan Swenson.

Best-laid plans run awry when Sophie and Trevor realize they’ve mistakenly rented the same house. Still, determined to make this a summer their kids will always remember, the two agree to share the Swensons’ Nantucket house. But as the summer unfolds and the families grow close, Sophie and Trevor must ask themselves if the guest cottage is all they want to share.

Sophie doesn’t really love her husband but she quite liked her lifestyle. One night he’s late home from work, so she checks his calendar…where he has written “discuss D with S”. Surely he wouldn’t diarise splitting up with his wife? Yes. Yes he would. Sophie’s husband says he’s in love with his assistant and is moving in with her. She suggests they have a holiday to patch up the marriage. He declines, she books the holiday at a cottage in Nantucket anyway without him, and doesn’t tell the kids about the separation. 

Trevor has also rented the cottage  (via another owner – they didn’t want to go via an agency to cut the other out, it’s a whole big thing ). Trevor’s wife recently died under awkward circumstances. She was an actress and a deeply selfish cow from the sounds of it; her body was discovered naked with another man, both having overdosed on heroin. Trevor told their young son Leo that his mum was sick. Leo is understandably upset.  

Sophie finds it hard to let go of her life, and marriage, and doubts her ability to look after herself. She pretty much was using her husband for his salary. 

Trevor and Sophie start to develop feelings for each other, and it’s all pretty predictable. Trevor likes Sophie because she’s domestic and the opposite of his theatrical, needy wife. Sophie likes Trevor because he’s a hot computer programmer who needs looking after.  What can I say, it’s a match made in chicklit. 

I tried to like this book, but I just hated the characters. They’re so downtrodden and accepting of all the crap they receive from people who are supposed to love them. I just can’t relate to someone who, when their husband says they are in love with a woman 10 years younger and want a divorce, replies that she will forgive him and asks if they should go on holiday! She’s around my age. Just no way would that be a response from someone of my generation!  Maybe 30 years ago and even then it’s not exactly inspiring.  I’m sorry, but I like my characters to have a bit more spine. 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Cheerio!

Stephani Xxx 

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