Samantha Tonge returns to the blog with a story of forgiveness, answers and growth with
Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage
Lizzie had what she believed was a near-perfect childhood with two parents who were utterly devoted to her, if more than a bit overprotective. Her mother’s bouts with depression simply offset the memories she has of their deep and enduring love for one another, and in part she believes that their relationship made her own journey difficult as she always looked for the same sort of encompassing emotions. But as she matured and grew up, she also went her own way – using her artistic talents and gifts to apprentice, then become, a tattoo artist: causing a rift between her and her parents.
What may have been and her need for her parents’ approval was at the crux of Lizzie’s unsettled feelings, brought to a head with her parents’ sudden deaths and a vitriolic reaction from her mother’s sister. Everything, including her relationship fell apart, and a letter, discovered by her parents’ attorney months after their death only brought more questions. Renting the property her aunt owned, Streamside Cottage, through a letting agent brings Lizzie back to the little village where she hopes to find answers.
From small discoveries and many questions, as well as the return of some memories that she never connected, Lizzie finds answers and more questions, and a mystery. Why she feels so comfortable and connected to the postman Benjamin, and just what she wants to do after her time away from the tattoo shop in London and her ‘discoveries’ end. Lizzie was full of questions, half-formed conclusions and plenty of secrets held from her from her childhood. With small memories returning, and questions being answered, she’s got the chance to make her own choices and revisit her childhood memories with full information – information that was lost or withheld, and to reframe her relationships with the family she has left.
Samantha Tonge has taken a young woman’s journey of grief and rediscovery and brought hope, light and plenty of characters who help her along the way to fully move into the next phase of her life. Curiosity and questions keep the reader following Lizzie through the journey, her relationship with Benjamin and the unanswered questions, the memories that resurface in moments unexpected, and a long secret door opening with new potential keep the story in your mind long after. A lovely read full of emotion, conflicted memories and a mystery that all come clear to both the reader and Lizzie with smiles for everyone.
Title: Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage
Author: Samantha Tonge
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, British, Dual Narration, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Mystery Elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Aria
Published on: 15 April, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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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.
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.