Mara Hughes has recently separated from her wealthy lawyer husband. She is in her early thirties and is the mother of nine-year old twins. Her husband Gideon was unfaithful, and has decided to move his new woman into Mara’s family home. This all in the same week that Mara lost her mother to a dreadful death from cancer.
Mara learns that her mother has left her a house on a Cornish beach. A house that she had no knowledge of previously. When she and her children go to view the house they find that it is in dire need of repair. The sea air and storms, coupled with its having been abandoned for many years have left it dilapidated and not fit to live in. The seagulls literally fly in through a hole in the roof! With no money of her own, she is at her wit’s end to know how to fix up the old house in order to sell it.
Her husband, Gideon is threatening to seek custody of her children if she cannot provide a home for them.
Mara finds friends in the seaside village of Magpie Cove. Women who knew her mother before she left home those many years ago. They are kind and supportive at a time when Mara’s desperately needed them. Also, Mara meets a carpenter who is willing to invest in the repair of the old house in return for half of the proceeds of its sale.
The carpenter, Brian Oakley, is a womanizer and though Mara is attracted to him, she tries to keep her heart under lock and key for fear of being hurt by him. Also, though her husband is cold to her, he is a wonderful father to her twins and she feels duty-bound to keep ties with him civil for the sake of her children.
“Someone should tell kids that this is what happens when you grow up, she thought. Not dreams, not nightmares, but a series of disappointments.”
It was the idea of inheriting a house on a Cornish beach that first attracted me to this novel. Settings in Cornwall will always push my buttons and it is no secret that I love being near the sea. And family secrets? They will always appeal.
Though not my usual genre of choice, romantic fiction does hold a place in my heart. “The House at Magpie Cove” is essentially a romance, but it has many elements of women’s fiction as well. It covered subjects like parental responsibility, independence, and guilt.
Yes, I knew how it would end at about the 30% mark, yet…. I didn’t care. I was there for the ride, and an enjoyable ride it was. Predictable yes, but sometimes that is exactly what you are in the mood for. The characters were very well rendered and the setting was sublime.
Highly recommended to those who appreciate a well-balanced blend of women’s fiction and romance.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley.
ISBN: 9781838888848 – ASIN: B08F5HTNGX – 242 pages
Kennedy Kerr (aka Anna McKerrow) has written and published poetry, children’s and adult books. She lives in London and is originally from the West Country, which gave her accent a subtle (yet noticeable) pirate twang as well as a love of cream teas and all things mystical.
Kennedy loves mythology, magic, tarot, pretty much most music, fantasy and sci-fi novels, luxury skincare products, spas, candlelight and stormy beaches. She is the proud owner of a cuddly black cat called Twinkle, who evidently believes she is a princess. Kennedy also loves cooking and baking all types of food, which is almost as much fun as eating it.