Holly Martin brings us back to Sandcastle Bay with the third book in the series, this one finally brings us to the last Rosewood sister and how her life (and opportunities for love) have changed because of her ‘two boys’, Ethan and Leo. Please read on for
Coming Home to Maple Cottage
Some four years ago during the weekend of her nephew Ethan’s christening, Isla and Leo acted on the electric attraction between them, and at the celebration Isla overheard Leo speaking to another woman and decided that she was (as she had feared) just one in a long list: the night and emotions between them ignored in favor of the ‘reputation’ that her brother’s best friend took over. Now, after Matthew’s death the year before, and Isla’s stepping up to raise and care for Ethan, the little boy is happy, healthy and just as any five year old should be – with his “Uncle Leo” spending time near every day with him, providing a ‘male influence’ that Isla thought so important to the little boy who lost so much. What she can’t reconcile, however, is her love for Leo and the fact that it scares the pants off her – since although he proposes marriage near every week, the thing she needs and wants, his declaration of love for her, never comes. Everyone in town sees just how well-matched the two are, even Leo’s brothers and sister see it , and the not -so-subtle nudges from his Aunt Agatha, it also appears that everyone thinks she’s being coy and foolish where Leo is concerned. They spend nearly every day together, Leo has redecorated a room for Ethan in his home, and made a ‘spare room’ comfortable for Isla for “sleepovers’, Ethan adores him, and Isla misses him when he’s not there. But she worries about the permanence – her last boyfriend never said I love you, and left her after two plus years, unwilling to take on the responsibility for Ethan. She won’t get caught again and end up like her mother – her father leaving the family when they were younger – leaving them to suffer the wrath of their grieving and angry mother as teens.
For his part, Leo has never believed he’s good enough for Isla to love – he’s got a serious ‘save the world’ complex – blaming himself for his father’s death when he was young led to a less-than-savory reputation and teachers and townsfolk expecting the worst from him in every situation. His non-belief in his own worthiness led to a series of one-night-stands – never lying or offering more to the woman than that night, and several overheard conversations of scoffing women downing and disparaging him in ‘save-face’ gestures that only served to reinforce his own opinions. He’d do anything (and has) for Ethan and Isla – and when Ethan’s mother reappears after a four year absence with al efforts to find her and inform her of the hearing in which her rights will be stripped and Isla will finally adopt the little boy were unsuccessful, Leo quickly steps up to protect, shelter and find options and choices for Isla in her determination to do the best for the child.
These two have been electric and so very connected from the first book in the series – despite all the grief and tumult, and even despite Isla’s stubborn determination to hold out for words and not see the multiple ways that Leo shows his devotion and love to them both, repeatedly. From his sandcastle revelation in the last book, to his willingness to step away if his reputation and presence should jeopardize Isla’s chances for adoption, to dancing around collusion with a local solicitor, his godfather, who offers to represent Ethan’s mother without actually pushing or doing much for her except convince her to sign away her rights to the child and leave, the right thing for Ethan in EVERYONE”S view, the movements, gestures and even the inordinate amount of worry that Leo brings with him, and his own failure to see that most of the ‘negatives’ are from a teenager in the throes of grief some fifteen to twenty years ago. Holly Martin has built these characters and this town with such precision and skill, introducing all of the characters that live in this seaside town and showing us their interactions and allow us into their lives. And Isla and Leo are no different – their attraction sparking between them from the beginning, with no small amount of comments from everyone. And, with Isla struggling with her own grief and pushing things aside and down to step up and care for little Ethan, sacrificing a successful career in London all to be there for the little boy, her worries that she’s not enough, and even her reluctance to lean too heavily on Leo, even when he seeks out their company – she’s the sort of person everyone would hope to have as a friend. And Leo, so perfectly patient, accommodating and changing his life and schedule to be available for Ethan and Isla at a moment’s notice – it’s no wonder Ethan sees him as much more than a ‘godfather’ and best friend of his late father- Leo has become the father figure, with all of the love, laughter and honesty one could hope for. It’s just fortunate that he and Isla finally see the light before it’s too late.
Title: Coming Home to Maple Cottage
Author: Holly Martin
Series: Sandcastle Bay #3
Also in this series: The Cottage on Sunshine Beach
Genre: British, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 28 September, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
This utterly addictive new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin will make you smile until your cheeks hurt, sob tears of pure joy and fall head over heels in love with a totally unforgettable romance…
Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.
Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.
As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.
But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?
A glorious, feel-good romance that will make you want to snuggle up under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate and the one you love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.