Review: The Cottage on Rose Lane by Hope Ramsay

Posted December 8, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 14 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Cottage on Rose Lane by Hope Ramsay
The Cottage on Rose Lane

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Moonlight Bay #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Forever
Released on December 4, 2018
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

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.


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Mary Kirkland
3 years ago

I hardly ever like stories that start out under false pretenses like a false identity because that leads to unnecessary drama and hurt feelings.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

I usually feel the same that’s why this one took me by surprise that I could really enjoy it.

3 years ago

I’ve read this author before and she is good. She was in an anthology of short stories and hers was one of the best. It sounds a bit twisty and fascinating. Great review! Anne – Books of My Heart

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Northwoman

I’ve been a fan since her first series, but her books can be hit or miss though none have actually been flops. This one, though, I think it’s one of her best. 🙂

herding cats
3 years ago

Things you’d never expect from that cover! I do love her books so I’m in for sure 🙂 Sounds like quite the read.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  herding cats

LOL, I thought the same thing. There is a cottage in the story, but there was a different tone to the story than this romancy one. 🙂

3 years ago

Although I live in a big city, I love reading stories that take place in small towns. The culture and quirks make the towns endearing.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  vvb

Yes, good way of putting it- a different culture from a city just as each city is different from another. Fun to meet the quirky characters, too.

Lover Of Romance
3 years ago

I do like it when an author goes about something more complex in a story. And I have such fun reading this author.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago

Agreed. It was a lovely surprise to get to know these characters and their backstories. 🙂

3 years ago

I like the sound of this one with how you describe it. The island culture sounds very unique and also how it dives into the heroes cultural background. The whole lying part I usually don’t like in a story either, so i am glad to hear you enjoyed this one even with that aspect. And I like that she tells him the truth when she realizes her leis are hurting him, that sounds like a very sensible way for her to handle it. Great review! You sure made me curious about this one.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Lola

The Gullah culture on the island had me so curious to learn more. The author wrote some wonderful scenes set in Jude’s family to flesh it out.
Yeah, the lying bugged me at first, but then I saw that for once, it probably was better. It ended up working out well.

Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

I like that this one explores the Gullah culture. I have heard of this but know very little about their history or way of life

Sophia Rose
3 years ago

I had actually not heard of this culture until this book- I knew there were slave communities in the Deep South, but I had not heard of this islander culture that felt more Caribbean than US in many ways. It was definitely fascinating and I want to read more of the series to get more of that.