A poignant, worthy read: My review of Cottage by the Sea by Robin Jones Gunn

Cottage by the Sea: A Novel


A daughter’s gift of time, a father’s silent wish.

Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients’ longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin’s son Jordan and his fiancée, Sierra, plan a grand wedding.

But the two friends aren’t prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin’s father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father’s—and oh, yeah, Delores’s—cottage by the sea.

What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.


Every so often, I read a novel that causes me to feel things incredibly deeply, submerging me into the pain and joy, trials and triumphs of the characters in a truly tangible way. Cottage by the Sea is one such novel, poignant, rich, reaching down into my soul and leaving me moved by the story contained within its pages. My heart both broke and rejoiced as I read Erin's story and watched her walk through a journey of discovery with her father, a journey that ultimately led to true healing for both. I think that this story especially spoke to me as I considered my own relationship as a father to my own daughters, and as I imagined how I am showing them my love and care. Am I making them feeling cared for and cherished? Are there things I could be doing differently so that when the end of my life draws near, we won't have to work through a closet full of regrets? Robin Jones Gunn has penned a well-crafted novel, one that not only mines the depths of the heart, but entertains as well, because I found that the story moved along at an excellent pace while also letting you savor the unfolding of the story.

I highly recommend this book for those readers seeking a worthy contemporary novel that will leave you feeling uplifted by the time you turn the last page. Be prepared to shed a tear! 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Howard Books, for the purposes of this unbiased review.


Robin Jones GunnRobin Jones Gunn is the much-loved author of seventy titles that have sold more than four million copies worldwide. Her popular Christy Miller series and Sisterchicks® novels have won a number of awards, including three Christy Awards for excellence in fiction, and a Gold Medallion Award finalist award. Robin's unique destination novels transport readers around the globe. To ensure that her tales of these extraordinary locations ring true, Robin has enjoyed the privilege of traveling to each location in order to experience the local culture. Her three visits to the Canary Islands provided bountiful research as she took flamenco dance lessons, rode a camel, and visited the chapel where Columbus prayed before departing on his famous journey. Robin and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawaii.