I am delighted to share my review today for The Cottage on WInter Moss by Allie Cresswell. I have read some of Allie’s books previously and I do like her writing style a lot. When she contacted me to see if I wanted to read her latest book, there was no hesitation, of course, I would. My views are my own.
Burned-out author Dee needs fresh inspiration. Impetuously, she abandons London and her good-for-nothing boyfriend to go wherever her literary quest takes her. Journey’s end is a remote village on the shores of a wild estuary, overshadowed by a ruined pele tower. She rents Winter Cottage and waits for a story to emerge.
The bleak beauty of the whispering dunes, the jacquard of colour and texture of the marsh and a romantic tree in a secluded glade—The Trysting Tree—all seduce Dee. Nevertheless, the secretive behaviour of a handsome neighbour, lights across the marsh, a spurious squire and a bizarre, moonlit encounter all suggest there is something odd afoot.
Local gossip and crumbling graveyard inscriptions give Dee the opening she needs. She begins to weave hints about the tragic history of a local family, feuding brothers and a fatal fire into a sweeping historical saga. Her characters clamour for a voice as the tale spools effortlessly onto the page—demanding to be told. Dee feels more like its instrument than its instigator.
As she becomes enmeshed in the local community, Dee is startled to find her fiction unnervingly confirmed by fact, her history still resonating in the present-day.
Is she being guided by echoes of the past?
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I really enjoy this author’s books, her latest one was such a wonderful read. Dee, an author who has just split from her boyfriend decides to go on a road trip to… well… she drives until she runs out of road. She finds herself in a small community and there is a cottage available to let through the winter months.
The residents of this out-of-the-way village and the remote cottages where she stays give her something for her next story. Using people from the past she discovers her story just seems to want to be told. The truth of the past, the mistakes of the past, and the hurt of the past are still felt by today’s families. Bickering and feudal families from the past have set the scene for the atmosphere of the present.
This author writes some amazing descriptive passages, bringing a bleak, barren, and weather-worn area out of the shadows. She gives it a sense of being, like a character in its own right. In fact, the surrounding area in this story has secrets, just as the families do. How often do we wonder what the walls of old houses have seen, well the author gently brings this out in this story.
The story is actually a story within a story. The present-day one is of Dee and how she comes to be in the cottage on Winter Moss, the few people she meets, and how she feels drawn to the mysteries of the past. The past is something that wants to be told. As I was reading this story I felt a certain atmospheric air, one that has a nervous feeling. What if the truth is something that will cause harm or upset, how would you feel if the people from the past had their story told and it could potentially change how you perceive others or they perceive you?
Using a duel timeline was a great way to get to know the families and discover what happened many years ago. It is a story of the time, of family loyalty and of marrying into the right family. As the author leads us through the generations attitudes change but the animosity remains.
This is a gorgeous story, the author describes the setting with beauty and danger. Wind and wave-swept areas are open to the elements and are often deluged in rain. The mists and fog make it treacherous, and the water makes it dangerous. The author however weaves a wonderful tale that shows how a community has its opinions, and how the past sets a precedent for the present.
Gorgeously written, wonderful characters, heartbreak, hope, and an addictive read from start to finish. If you like dual-timeline stories that deal with families, troubles, feuds, and a chance to restart then this is one you really should look at. I would definitely recommend this book, it was fabulous reading.
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