The Cottage on Rose Lane
Moonlight Bay #1
By Hope Ramsay
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Jenna Fossey’s life is about to change. An unexpected inheritance and the chance to meet relatives she never knew existed has her heading to the charming little town of Magnolia Harbor. But as soon as she arrives, long-buried family secrets lead to even more questions, and the only person who can help her find the answers is her sexy-as-sin sailing instructor.
Nothing makes Jude St. Pierre feel more alive than racing on the open sea – at least, not until Jenna comes strolling down his dock asking for sailing lessons. But it feels wrong to be attracted to her – especially when he learns why she came to town. Jude knows she deserves the truth but can he help her discover it without losing her and the family he’s come to think of as his own?
Includes the bonus story “A Wedding on Lavender Hill” by Annie Rains!
When an event planner is asked to create the perfect wedding in just three days, she must turn to the last person she wants to ask for help – the infuriating owner of the house on the hilltop. (from Goodreads)
This delightful novel includes elements that women love most about women’s literature: drama, conflicts, incredible attraction between a man and a woman, secrets held for decades, humor, wisdom, unique occupations, all wrapped up in the kindness of small town folks. Sailing is a big part of the novel, and when my eyes nearly crossed from all the types of sails and …uh…ropes, I wondered how the author was able to sound so proficient when writing about proper use of them. Hope Ramsay is an expert sailor and author and knows what she is writing about. This novel is extremely well-written with characters a reader can have empathy for and in some cases, identify with.
Thirty-year-old Jenna Fossey is now known as the Sunglass Heiress. Sadly, she never knew the grandfather who left her his entire fortune, including his stock in the company he founded, the largest retailer and manufacturer of optics in the world. She never knew her father as her mom never talked about him. Never saw a picture of him. Never knew his name.
Jenna goes on a world tour, focused mostly in the Near and Far East in a desire to learn more about Buddhism and meditation with respect to what to do with her life now that she has the responsibility for the enormous inheritance. She returned to Boston, spoke with her grandfather’s attorney, Milo Stracham, and decided to go to Magnolia Harbor. Jenna has a great uncle and aunt there, and it is where her father, Jamie, had died when out sailing alone on a calm, sunny day.
When Jenna arrives in Magnolia Harbor she uses an assumed name, for which Milo had obtained ID and credit cards for her. She is now Jenna Fairchild and has rented the beautiful Rose Cottage in a rose garden on Rose Garden Lane for a month. She hopes to meet and spend time with her great uncle and aunt but heard they wanted nothing to do with the upstart young niece who took the inheritance they should have had. They also seem to believe it was her mother’s fault he died.
Jenna was outdoors at Rafferty’s Raw Bar when the Buccaneer 18 fleet returns from their practice races. The “Bucc” in the lead had two men aboard. One looks like she would have pictured a pirate with a mixture of cultural and racial backgrounds. Jenna felt she already knew him or perhaps met him in a previous life, then wondered if her father had resembled a pirate from historic Jonquil Island.
Jude St. Pierre. That is his name, and she went to the dock to meet him. She asks if he could teach her how to sail and is not put off by his initial refusal. His sailing is for fishing charters and he does not teach. When he finally agrees, he quotes $250 per hour cash for a two-hour session. Thinking that would get rid of her…he was wrong! But he has a meeting to attend and hopes she won’t make it the next day.
Jude is a man on a mission, trying to obtain rezoning for land north of town that is a collection of old farms dating back to the years immediately after the Civil War, built and owned by freed slaves. Getting them on the historic register will protect them from being bought up by developers such as the one who wants to build a resort. The town council meeting is coming up and Professor Rushford will speak at the meeting on behalf of Jude, his family members, and similar farm or home owners. When seeing Jenna at the meeting, he assumes she is a representative of Santee Resorts trying to get insinuated with his family. It couldn’t be further then the truth. She learned Uncle Harry is on the town council and wants to see him in action, if there is a way she can get to know him before revealing who she is.
The people of Magnolia Harbor are very well-defined and easy to become invested in. Jenna is easy to get to know except for the secret of who she really is. Watching her try to find a cause, a passion, is fascinating, especially as she becomes invested in the island. I find it interesting how people respond to her anonymous donations, and her response to some of the hard things that occurred because of her attempts to help others out. I think she mostly sees the inheritance as a burden, especially when it keeps her from knowing her aunt and uncle. The sparks between Jenna and Jude are obvious to everyone, and the harder they try to deny it, the more their interest is fanned into flame.
One thing we want from women’s fiction is a good, upbeat end, but we’re not always sure what that would look like. There are several situations that beg for resolution, including if Jude can keep the inherited lands intact and other family challenges, if Jenna will get to be part of her great uncle and aunt’s lives, and especially to our women’s hearts, if there is a future for Jude and Jenna. The author is more than capable of juggling the numerous challenges and one way or another resolving them. Even though some solutions are not what I would consider, the ending is more than satisfactory. I am glad that this is first in a new series, as I would like to visit Magnolia Harbor and its residents again. I highly recommend The Cottage on Rose Lane; it is in some ways as idyllic as the name suggests. Even when fraught with storms, there is innate beauty and peace, the perfect escape for readers.
(Note: A Wedding on Lavender Hill was not included with this e-ARC copy)