Cottage by the Sea is a true stand-alone story by Debbie Macomber. This book doesn't belong to any book series.
You'll actually find that instead of being a romance, this book is more of a saga about the life of Annie Marlow.
Amazon classifies this story as a family saga as well as a domestic life in women's fiction.
The story itself is about how Annie picks up her life after the tragic loss of all of her family (mom, dad, brother, bro's wife and niece) to a mud slide.
Yes, Annie does encounter a love interest during the course of the story, and it does move forward to marriage, but there's no details to worry about whatsoever.
But to follow Debbie Macomber's style of writing, this story is about how Annie learns to live again after losing her entire family. All the ups and downs that she must go thru in order to be able to breathe again.
This book happens to be almost 11hrs long when you listen to it on Audible, so it's a good lengthy story with lots of events and happenings that help Annie to move forward with her life.
The majority of the story takes place in Oceanside, a small community where she stays in the cottage by the sea that her family rented when she was young. And that's where the name of the book comes from.
The story has an interesting beginning. With a prologue, we find that Keaton, a gentle giant, fell in love with her as a teen. And when she moves back after, he's the one that helps her find her footing.
The story goes thru the tragic event of losing her family to the mud slide. And we find the emotional upheaval that, obviously, happened because of it.
And because she's understandably shaken by this tragedy, she feels that she needs to find a place that has happy memories to be able to help herself pick up the pieces.
And this is how she ends up in Oceanside.
She stays in the same cottage she did with her family. Works at a job that gives her great joy and finds a man that touches her heart and soul.
So this move brings in all the characters that naturally come with a move, a real estate agent, a new landlord, a new boss and coworkers. And all these characters play a part in her healing, even though they don't know about her terrible loss.
She wanted things to herself, to allow herself to heal and to not be defined by it.
But as times goes on and she gets to know the people around her, she lets them in, especially Keaton and shares her pain.
I found tho, that she didn't share enough of her pain with Keaton and that caused much heartache and confusion and led to several scenes where they didn't interact with each other.
But in the end, they did repair their hearts and really truly open up to each other and fix what was broken. And yes, it does end happy!
But the story isn't about the romance, not really. It's about Annie finding her new place in the world without her family. And what that means to her. And the new friendships that were made because she became a new person because of this tragedy.
This was a tragic story, a moving story, a touching story.
To have to go thru something like this is just unimaginable, nobody should have to do this. But sadly, there're people that loose their entire families and have to pick up the pieces. And how they do that can be either good or bad.
Macomber did a great job of portraying how Annie picked up the pieces of her life. I was a little disappointed with parts of the ending. I wanted more openness between the characters and there wasn't and that caused problems for them.
This is the type of story that's utterly entertaining and unforgettable. I enjoyed the narrator for this story as well.
There are no other books in this series as Cottage by the Sea is a stand alone novel.
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