This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Forever
Released on December 4, 2018
A new Hope Ramsay series is always a welcome source of excitement to me, but the setting and situation of the characters as described in the blurb had me really sitting up and taking notice. I was happy to sail away with Jenna and Jude around his small town South Carolina island home, learn about the Gullah Islander culture, and the usual lovely small town cast of characters that this author writes so well.
The Cottage on Rose Lane, from the beginning was such a surprise in more ways than one. Foremost was the heavier tone it struck. The author dug deep for this one and it showed. She also tackled a hero from a unique culture, the Gullahs, descendants of the freed slaves who were given their land and slowly their culture is dying off or pushed aside for development along the coast. There are other elements of the island culture from a local pirate who may or may not haunt the old home of his unrequited love, sailing club, slower life and close-knit community that were introduced. But, beyond the deeply rich culture and the hero’s identity to it, there is the heroine’s search for family and acceptance, discovering the truth about a father she didn’t know a thing about and learned he died before she was even born.
The hero, Jude St. Pierre is a preservationist and is fighting to protect his family’s home and heritage, while trying to keep the family fishing charter boat business afloat when his drunk daddy wants to wallow in the past and refuses to change anything that might help. Jude’s prodigal brother, Micah, is back home and Jude doesn’t want to forgive him. And, now he has a woman tourist wanting sailing lessons who may be a corporate spy for a big resort company who wants the family land to develop for a resort and golf course. Jude knows Jenna is lying to him about something and it stirs up his abandonment issues when his mother breezed into the community, stayed a little while, and then breezed right back out again without a backward glance.
Jenna Fosse is the sole inheritor of the Bauman fortune when her grandfather dies. She wants nothing to do with the money and wanted nothing to do with the family who never came looking for her. She loses her job because her grandfather’s company was a competitor of the one she was working for so she feels her life is coming apart. With her new wealth, she takes a year to travel in the East and find herself through Buddhism. She thought she had found some semblance of peace and balance and was ready to approach her long lost family, but the truth is not the same as her mother painted it. Nothing she knew was true and now she must start again. She takes on a false identity so she can approach her aunt and uncle who likely resent having some unknown niece receiving the entire family fortune and the will won’t allow her to share it with them. This one lie leads to further complications when she meets Jude and wants the handsome sailing man to teach her to sail so she can feel closer to the father who loved to sail on those very waters when he was alive. She slowly starts to involve herself in the place and the lives, but what happens when she reveals the truth?
This gently-paced story is simply beautiful from cover to cover. Jenna’s story and Jude’s the story of the island and their families, the other people in the story… and that rascally pirate’s ghost that may or may not be real. I don’t normally enjoy a story where a character is lying to everyone including the hero and even starts to form relationships while still involved in a lie, but this time I could see that the truth wouldn’t have served. As soon as she saw what her lie was doing to Jude, she told him the truth so he wouldn’t fret about corporate spies and she was the most kind and giving woman who was so lonely and wanted to be a part of something, but was afraid she would be rejected. And, she soon learned that she had reason to fear because her family hated her mother and blamed her for Jamie Bauman’s death. I found it interesting having a heroine who was Buddhist and didn’t just do a few yoga moves and gave lip service, but she really buys into the teachings and they are part of who she is and how she acts.
The romance is as slow and steady as the rest of the book. Both have reason to hesitate on taking a chance on love. Their different races do play a roll, but also their vast differences in economic status and her being from out of town. Throw in Jude’s abandonment issues and her own lack of trust in relationship commitment her mother instilled in her and they had an uphill battle. I loved seeing them hesitantly opening up to love even while circumstances were happening to make it difficult.
This was a great set up book and I am hoping that Jude’s brothers, Colton and Micah, are next for a romance. I saw a little hint now and then about Micah that has me curious. Oh, and I definitely want more of the St. Pierre’s Gullah culture, island life, and that rascally Captain Bill. Those who enjoy a gently-paced, slightly spice contemporary romance should take a peek.
I rec’d this book from NetGalley to read in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #380 CR
New Release #196