The Cottage
by Gerri Hill


Bella Books, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59493-096-6.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg
Posted on 11/24/2008

Fiction: Romance

Clinging to thirty-nine, Jill eats lunch on the same park bench each day as a way to enjoy solitude in a scenic location. Married to a high school coach who is rarely at home and at odds with her typical teenage daughter with terminal PMS, Jill has an office job she can do in her sleep. Craig hasn't changed much since college and both her fourteen-year-old and meddling mother-in-law are hypercritical of everything Jill does. It's not surprising that she often feels unappreciated, invisible, and like the hired help at home. Jill has been coming to the park for years and cherishes her one hour of peace and serenity to reflect. One glorious January day she spots a painter and is intrigued enough to give up her alone time as she is pulled in and moves closer to see what the stranger with the salt and pepper hair is up to.

Carrie, forty-three, is also married with two teenage boys she adores. She rarely sees her workaholic husband, which doesn't bother her one bit. Prematurely retired from real estate, Carrie takes pleasure in painting her lush surroundings and observations of the occupants of the park, particularly one captivating woman. As if it is preordained, Carrie and Jill meet and form an instant connection. The friendship that ensues naturally escalates to so much more.

Jill and Carrie's story is heart-wrenching on so many levels. Hill explores the difficult situation these women find themselves when their love threatens the very foundation of the lives they built with their husbands and children. Their lives aren't extraordinary, which makes it even more believable. Through dialogue and action, Hill shows emotion vividly enough to experience the pain of Jill's home life falling apart while she is conflicted about falling in love with a woman. There's no denying that she has finally met her soul mate, Carrie. Even though the direction of the story becomes clear and the reader prays the inevitable won't happen, Gerri Hill succeeds in packing a painful punch. The Cottage is emotionally wrenching but worth the tissues for the life-affirming lesson it teaches.


Gerri Hill's first published work came in 2000, with many more romances and mysteries following. Visit her website.

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