Some books open with a bang, plopping the reader down into the height of drama. Others open with a whimper, showcasing the normal and rosy lives of their characters. The Cottage of New Beginnings, author Suzanne Snow’s debut novel, opens with an illegally parked car and some miscommunication. It’s somewhere between the two extremes and, frankly, in these topsy-turvy days, this low-stakes opening is appreciated.
That’s not to suggest Snow’s world is all flowers and sunshine. Her protagonist, Annie, returns to Thorndale, the village where she spent her childhood summers, after separating from her fiance. Looking for a distraction, she devotes her attention to restoring her grandmother’s cottage to its former glory. And while she’s thrilled to reconnect with old friends, there’s one new face that keeps popping up: Jon, a man of immeasurable talent that everyone seems to love—well, almost.
As the title suggests, this journey is all about new beginnings and Annie ultimately has to break old habits before anything fresh can blossom in her life. While Annie and Jon are seemingly meant for each other, that doesn’t stop each from dismissing the other based on a negative first encounter. Their constant uncomfortableness could be solved with a good talk, but neither seems up for the task, and the result is a fair bit of tension that’s genuinely fun. They’re running to an inevitable end, even if they don’t always see it. Plus, it helps that Snow almost seems to take glee in finding situations that force the two of them together.
Beyond the blooming romance, things are light. Annie rekindles platonic relationships while toiling away in a cottage that seems to subsist on a never-ending list of repairs. These are fun scenes that give Annie something to do, but there’s hardly any tension—and really, no time limit—when it comes to making her new home comfortable. Instead, this provides the house provides a peaceful backdrop as she comes to accept her new circumstances and, finally, the opportunities around her.
In a week filled with chaos, there’s perhaps no better place to escape than The Cottage of New Beginnings.
Title: The Cottage of New Beginnings
Series: Welcome to Thorndale
Author: Suzanne Snow
Publication Date: September 03, 2020
Snow’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.