Title: The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 337 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer whisks readers back to the beloved island of Nantucket in this delightful novel about two single parents who accidentally rent the same summer house—and must soon decide where their hearts truly lie.
Sensible thirty-six-year-old Sophie Anderson has always known what to do. She knows her role in life: supportive wife of a successful architect and calm, capable mother of two. But on a warm summer night, as the house grows quiet around her and her children fall asleep, she wonders what’s missing from her life. When her husband echoes that lonely question, announcing that he’s leaving her for another woman, Sophie realizes she has no idea what’s next. Impulsively renting a guest cottage on Nantucket from her friend Susie Swenson, Sophie rounds up her kids, Jonah and Lacey, and leaves Boston for a quiet family vacation, minus one.
Also minus one is Trevor Black, a software entrepreneur who has recently lost his wife. Trevor is the last person to imagine himself, age thirty and on his own, raising a little boy like Leo—smart and sweet, but grappling constantly with his mother’s death, growing more and more closed off. Hoping a quiet summer on the Nantucket coast will help him reconnect with Leo, Trevor rents a guest house on the beautiful island from his friend Ivan Swenson.
Best-laid plans run awry when Sophie and Trevor realize they’ve mistakenly rented the same house. Still, determined to make this a summer their kids will always remember, the two agree to share the Swensons’ Nantucket house. But as the summer unfolds and the families grow close, Sophie and Trevor must ask themselves if the guest cottage is all they want to share.
Inspiring and true to life, The Guest Cottage is Nancy Thayer at her finest, inscribing in graceful, knowing prose matters of the heart and the meaning of family.
Despite dealing with a few serious issues, The Guest Cottage is a relatively light-hearted read. The Nantucket setting and heartwarming storyline make this latest release from Nancy Thayer the perfect summer read.
Sophie Anderson is stunned to discover her husband of sixteen years is having an affair and wants a divorce. Reeling from the news, she rents a guest cottage on Nantucket from a friend and she sets off with her two children, ten year old Lacey and fifteen year old Jonah, for a summer of fun and relaxation. Their trip is off to an inauspicious beginning when they learn that widower Trevor Black has also rented the cottage for the summer with the hopes the change of scenery will help his grieving four year old son Leo recover from their unexpected loss. After a weeklong trial, Sophie and Trevor agree to share the house and the two families enjoy an idyllic summer together.
Sophie is in her mid-thirties and she has devoted her life to helping her husband, Zack, advance his career while at the same time she is single-handedly raising their kids. She eagerly threw herself into running the household and playing hostess while Zack focused on making the connections he needed to build his business. Concerned for the kids’ well-being, Sophie has been content to stay with Zack despite his lack of involvement in the family’s life. While she is not in love with him anymore, she is still shocked to discover Zack’s infidelity and she remains hopeful that he will change his mind about the divorce. But the time on Nantucket provides Sophie with the opportunity to reflect on her marriage while at the same time she rediscovers her long abandoned passion for music.
Trevor is a saddened by the loss of his actress wife, but her death does not affect his day to day life too much. While she was busy pursing her acting career and hanging out with her friends, he was at home taking care of Leo. Although she was not a large part of his life, Leo is deeply affected by her death and Trevor hopes new surroundings will help prevent Leo’s minor OCD behavior from worsening. Since Trevor works from home running his lucrative computer business, it is very easy for him to spend the summer on Nantucket.
The summer escape is just what Sophie, Trevor and their children need. Despite the age differences, the kids enjoy spending time together and Sophie and Trevor strike up an unlikely friendship. However, desire simmers beneath of the their easygoing camaraderie, but with the fate of Sophie’s marriage uncertain, neither she nor Trevor act on their attraction. Once Sophie knows for certain her marriage is over, the age difference between them bothers her enough that she refuses to consider a relationship with Trevor. When both experience jealousy over each other’s romantic entanglements, advice from a well-meaning friend becomes the catalyst Trevor needs to find the courage to confess his feelings to Sophie. Will Trevor be able to convince Sophie that age does not matter? Or will she continue fighting her deepening emotions for Trevor?
Although a little slow paced in the beginning, The Guest Cottage is a very engaging novel with a marvelous cast of appealing characters. There is very little drama or angst and it is such a joy watching the characters work through their respective issues. The setting is incredibly picturesque and Nancy Thayer brings Nantucket Island vibrantly to life. It is an absolutely charming and uplifting story that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.