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Families and hidden secrets were one of my most favorite tropes in fiction, after thrillers obviously. This book had them in plenty. Love for the elderly shone through, a fact I absolutely felt was so essential in today’s fast life. The author Kristin Harper captured that emotion in the words chosen in the story.
My first book by her, I respected the way Zoey loved her great-aunts and cared for them. Her grief in losing one of them was well depicted. On the other hand, Mark came across as the grubby, selfish man who wanted to send his great-aunt to the assisted living so that he could make use of the family home as a site to have weddings.
A secret in the attic caused the mystery to come into the open, and it was up to Zoey to deal with them. She was good in her relationship with her aunts. I loved how her protective nature for them leaped through the prose, but she was quite prone to heated emotions and instant mood change. But since I was like that in real life, I didn’t mind that. Her budding relationship with carpenter Nick seemed sweet. I was glad that the story was not romance-heavy.
I expected Mark to be a great antagonist, but he disappointed me. His section at the end was wrapped up too fast. That was a pity as he provided spice to the sweetened tale. The pace at times seemed too erratic, and all the characters could have been given greater depths so that they touched my and evoked my emotions, even anger.
Overall, a richly descriptive prose along with sensitive moments filled with emotions, love for the aunts made this a soothing read.
Up in the attic, with views across the sparkling bay, she opens the lid of the carved trunk. Carefully moving aside the delicate linen wedding dress once worn by her great-aunt, she unpacks all the smaller boxes inside until she finds the leather-bound diary. She knows this will change everything…
All Zoey’s happiest childhood memories are of her great-aunt Ivy’s rickety cottage on Dune Island, being spoiled with cranberry ice cream and watching the tides change from the rooftop. Now, heartbroken from a recent breakup, Zoey can see her elderly aunt’s spark is fading, and decides to move to the island so they can care for each other.
When she arrives to find her cousin, Mark, sitting at the solid oak kitchen table, she knows why Aunt Ivy hasn’t been herself. Because Mark—next in line to inherit the house—is pushing Ivy to move into a nursing home.
With the cousins clashing over what’s best for Ivy, Zoey is surprised when the local carpenter who’s working on Ivy’s cottage takes her side. As he offers Zoey comfort, the two grow close. Together, they make a discovery in the attic that links the family to the mysterious and reclusive local lighthouse keeper, and throws doubt on Mark’s claim…
Now Zoey has a heartbreaking choice to make. The discovery could keep Ivy in the house she’s loved her whole life… but can Zoey trust that the carpenter really has Ivy’s best interests at heart? And will dredging up an old secret destroy the peace and happiness of Ivy’s final years—and tear this family apart for good?
Publication Date: December 2020
I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, and this is my journey down its pages, straight from the heart. STRICTLY HONEST and UNBIASED.
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