This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Cressida McLaughlin
Owen Fletcher is returning to the village of Little Pelham after over thirty years, ready to start afresh in the place that meant so much to him as a ten year old – the hidden cottage. He knows that the village will have changed dramatically since he’s been gone, but he’s not prepared for what he finds when he attempts to settle into country life.
Meanwhile Mia is preparing for her son’s thirtieth birthday celebrations at Medlar House, the old vicarage. As well as welcoming Jensen and his new girlfriend, her other children Daisy and Eliza are returning to the family home for the evening. Mia is looking forward to the event, but she’s also aware that the unresolved tensions between Jensen and his father, Jeff, are never far below the surface. But on this occasion it’s not Jensen’s news that upsets the balance of the family, but someone who – at least in Jeff’s eyes – doesn’t usually put a foot wrong.
The following banner is an affiliate one. That means Writing Tips Oasis receive a small % of the sale if you purchase The Novel Factory, but at no extra cost to you:
I love books set in close-knit, idyllic villages, where a community spirit comes hand in hand with gossip, intrigue and scandal. Little Pelham is no different, and it’s clear that when Owen and Mia meet things aren’t going to run smoothly. Jensen’s revelation is surprising enough, but with Daisy and Eliza making their own announcements, Mia is forced to look at her family in a new light and reassess her own life and where it’s heading.
I loved the village of Little Pelham, and Medlar House and The Hidden Cottage were described beautifully, so I could picture them and the walk between them, as well as the village green and the local country pub. Each member of Mia’s family has their own story, from happy-go-lucky Jensen, finally beginning to settle down, to workaholic Eliza and Jeff, seemingly happy in his family set up but with misconceptions about how his children, and his wife, view him.
As the story unravels I was waiting for something big to happen. I could sense from quite early on that, while there were tensions, there was also something bigger looming on the horizon. I felt it took quite a while for the story to get going, but when it did everything was turned on its head. There are several romances in the book, some in place from the start, some less certain. And while all were pleasing, I felt there was a spark missing from the main one, and that it played out more gently than I had hoped it would.
The Hidden Cottage is a pleasant and well-written story, with heartbreak, romance and drama. I believed in the characters and settled happily into the picturesque village setting, but I thought it lacked that magic element that keeps you turning the pages until you have to go to work, your eyes can no longer stay open or you’ve turned the last page.7/10