The Cottage By The Sea

by Debbie Macomber

Annie Marlow wakes up to a whole new world finding her old one swept away (literally) overnight by an unexpected tragedy. Her grief leads her to return to Oceanside, where she and her family used to vacation when she was younger. The pacific northwest town gives her more than just healing; it’s filled with colorful characters needing her as much as she needs them. In the end, she faces a decision to remain locked in memories of the past or to go and find the strength to create a new future. 

This is my first introduction to anything by Debbie Macomber. After reading this book, I researched her and discovered more than just books but Hallmark movies based upon her books. I had no idea. I picked up this book to read after marathon-reading Wendy Webb’s ghost stories and needing something a little lighter and less frightening. This book didn’t disappoint. 

Death and resurrection are in this book. Not only does the book open with unexpected tragedy, it closes with a resurrection of sorts. As someone who lost her mom three years ago to tragedy, I easily related to all Annie was going through in the aftermath of her own situation. The grief was very real but the torment of what could have and should have been said and done but wasn’t was acute. Like Annie, I also faced people in my life who needed me to just “move on”. Not nearly as easy as it seems and Ms. Macomber highlights this theme beautifully. I felt every hurt, every regret, every ache. 

Having recently moved away from my mom’s hometown of many years, I also experienced the coming alive again that a new home and a new town brings. That was really special to read especially since many authors gloss over the aftermath of a loss a little too quickly. 

The theme of grief is very real in this book yet, I didn’t find it to be heavy. Each character had something to grieve and leave behind them and while Annie wasn’t necessarily their savior, she seemed to be a catalyst for all of them moving forward in their lives. 

I had a hard time with Annie’s friends from her hometown. The constant badgering and telling her to get back to her life was super annoying. No one needs unsupportive friends like that. 

I would recommend this book. It’s an easy read. I really loved Keaton. I loved the emergence of Mellie. It was beautifully and heartbreakingly written. I almost liked her more than I liked Annie. 

Read this book. You’ll find yourself wanting your own seaside cottage.

My Rating – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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