Thursday, December 10, 2020

Book Review: Aunt Ivy's Cottage, by Kristin Harper

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Zoey’s aunt was consistently gracious to everyone, so she couldn’t imagine her saying or doing anything so offensive it would have caused an estrangement that lasted for years. For decades. Nor could she quite believe that a simple attempt to help her aunt get interested in a hobby, or something to get her out of the house, had led them down this path of reminiscences, and that Mr. Witherell had come up again for what seemed the dozenth time since she’d been on the island. But clearly something was troubling Ivy, so Zoey proceeded cautiously. “Do you want to tell me about it?”

Ivy hesitated, her eyes brimming. “You know I don’t like to speak ill of anyone.”

Zoey did know that; it was the reason Ivy never directly said Sylvia’s father was abusive. It was why she called her own father influential instead of opinionated or domineering. And said that Mark “isn’t good at demonstrating affection,” rather than admitting most of the time he was too self-centered to care about anyone else’s feelings. Her aunt’s tendency to sugarcoat the truth used to drive Zoey nuts.

What a charming story of life on the quaint town of Hope Haven, on Dune Island. Books like this give a whole new perspective on places that the rest of the country may only visit on vacation.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: Aunt Ivy's Cottage, by Kristin Harper
All Zoey’s happiest childhood memories are of her great-aunt Ivy’s rickety cottage on Dune Island, snuggling up with hot chocolate and hearing Ivy’s stories about being married to a sea captain. Now, heartbroken from a breakup, Zoey escapes back to the island, but is shocked to find her elderly aunt’s spark fading. Worse, her cousin—next in line to inherit the house—is pushing Ivy to move into a nursing home.

With the family clashing over what’s best for Ivy, Zoey is surprised when Nick, a local carpenter and Ivy’s neighbor, takes her side. As Zoey finds comfort in his sea-blue eyes and warm laugh, the two grow close. Together, they make a discovery in the attic that links the family to the mysterious and reclusive local lighthouse keeper…

Now Zoey has a heartbreaking choice to make. Nick’s urging her to share the discovery, which could keep Ivy in the house she’s loved her whole life… but when Zoey learns that Nick and her cousin go way back, she questions if the man she‘s starting to have feelings for really has Ivy’s best interests at heart. Will dredging up this old secret destroy the peace and happiness of Ivy’s final years—and tear this family apart for good?

This book had a delightful setting with lots of its own background stories, and believable and interesting characters who acted out an engaging plot and mystery to unravel.

Zoey has reached a crossroads in her life. The library where she worked has closed, which happened to coincide with her Aunt Sylvia becoming ill. After Aunt Sylvia dies, Zoey stays on to help Aunt Ivy deal with her grief and get used to life without her sister-in-law and constant companion. Soon, Zoey’s teen-aged niece needs a change of scenery to help her make better choices. Sending Gabi to stay with Aunt Zoey on Dune Island is a perfect solution, but suddenly parenting a teenager may complicate Zoey’s life even more.

When it seems like everything is falling into place, the possible wrench in her plans is cousin Mark trying to control it all. Suddenly Zoey is pulled in many different directions at once, trying to manage a life she’s getting used to in Hope Haven, while she’s also supposed to be getting her ‘real’ life as a librarian back on track.

Overall I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was a fun story with a little more depth in its genealogy mystery. I hope there are more stories around Hope Haven and Aunt Ivy’s cottage.

{Click HERE to purchase - only 99c for Kindle currently!}

Becki Bayley is a wife, mom, and avid reader of almost anything. She blogs about books and the rest of her life at


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