I am delighted to share my review today for Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage by Samantha Tonge. This is a fabulous read and perfect now that we have more sunny days and the weather is warming up.
My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging my e-copy of this gorgeous book. I would also like to wish Sam a very Happy Publication Day 🙂
Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage
A new start can come from the most unexpected places…
It’s been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren’t.
After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it’s time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were… starting with Streamside Cottage. A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she’s never heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.
Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlour she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbour, Ben, steps in to help.
As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realises she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future.
Oh my goodness what a fabulous read Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage was. Lizzie discovers her parents owned a cottage when their will is read. The cottage is left to her Aunt Fiona, Lizzie knows nothing about the house.
The village of Leafton has that wonderful community feel and Lizzie feels at home after living in the buzz of London. She had led quite a sheltered childhood as her parents were overly protective, and I mean really over the top protective. Leaving home to go to Uni was an ey opener and this led to her starting to stand on her own two feet causing a rift between daughter and parents. Staying in the secretive property will give Lizzie a chance to find out more about her past and parents. But are the locals of the village willing to share their secrets?
This is such a wonderful read that I absolutely adored from the first few paragraphs. It is told in a now and past format, the way the past is told works well with the Now part of the story. It is told in gradual back steps through the years and links in with Lizzie’s discoveries. There are more secrets to be unearthed than the obvious and these cause more than a few emotional discoveries and admissions for some of the characters.
I really liked how the author used a tattooist as the main protagonist. Even though tattoos are more accepted there is still a stigma attached. It would have been easy to give Lizzie a harder time as she does have artwork adorning her skin, but the author went down a more acceptable route and I liked how it was woven into the story with explanations. I am slightly biased about tattoos as I do have three of my own.
The sense of things being secretive and hidden was wonderful, at times with the sense that there was something much deeper to come. Weaving the locals and their stories into the story of Lizzie was a really good way of adding intrigue. While the locals are supportive there is a feeling that there is more that needs to be told.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it is one of family and accepting the past, of heartbreaking discoveries. While it is a rom-com and it has a nice romantic thread, this feels more serious as there are some more serious issues that are dealt with. It is one for those who like a romance with a touch more suspense to it and it is one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author…
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely.
She has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
In 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Ebook Award.
In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award.
In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo.
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