Popsugar Reading Challenge 2022 Book 23

I don’t really have a favourite season. There are things to love and dislike about all of them. Love winter cosy jumpers and hot chocolate – hate dark days and relentless cold. love sunshine and picnics – hate sunburn and wasps. You get the idea. I had originally planned to read a winter read in winter, but timed ticked by and I hadn’t read it. So instead I picked a summer read for the start of summer. Summer at Shell Cottage has been in my TBR cart for too long so I decided to give it a go and tick off another prompt.

What it’s about?

From Goodreads:

A seaside holiday at Shell Cottage in Devon has always been the perfect escape for the Tarrant family. Beach fun, barbecues and warm summer evenings with a cocktail or two – who could ask for more?

But this year, everything has changed. Following her husband’s recent death, Olivia is struggling to pick up the pieces. Then she makes a shocking discovery that turns her world upside down.

As a busy mum and GP, Freya’s used to having her hands full, but a bad day at work has put her career in jeopardy and now she’s really feeling the pressure.

Harriet’s looking forward to a break with her lovely husband Robert and teenage daughter Molly. But unknown to Harriet, Robert is hiding a secret – and so, for that matter, is Molly . . .

What I think:

The cover of this book is gorgeous and may lead you to expect a chick-litty summer romance. But this book really surprised me. There are secrets galore and the female characters are complex which I love.

Olivia is heartbroken after the death of her husband. When she arrives at the summer cottage they loved for their annual family summer holiday she uncovers a secret that adds to her heartbreak and makes her question her whole marriage.

Her daughter Freya is also coping with grief. She is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her father, a stressful job as a GP and managing her family. She is drinking more to numb the pain, but does it also cloud her judgement and ability to do her job?

Harriet is married to Olivia’s son, Robert. with successful parents and sister he has never felt good enough. Writing a novel of his own could be his chance to win his family’s respect and take pride in himself. But he is also keeping secrets. his wife Harriet has been cheated on before and hates liars. Their relationship which seems so happy now seems fragile.

And then there is teenager Molly. Like many teenage girls she is falling in love and keeping her boyfriend secret. When he starts pushing her to take their relationship to the next level Molly is excited but also concerned. Is she ready? And why is she hiding her boyfriend.

Everything comes to a head when the reach the cottage. Together they have to confront the problems they are facing and repair their fractured relationships. the magic of Shell Cottage and the memories that they share there brings them to together.

This is heart-warming and joyful. Despite all of the lies and the secrets, the Tarrants face their past and look to the future. The is all about the power of family, friendship and honesty. This is perfect summer read. The characters have enough depth for you to care about them all and want them to overcome their difficulties. There are emotional moments and some of the secrets will definitely pull on your heart-strings.

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