What’s up Romancers? I feel like it has definitely been a while since I’ve read a more cozy romance and I needed to rectify that because honestly the cozy romances is where my love of romance began. I had to have The Cottage on Rose Lane when I saw it, and wasn’t disappointed.
The Cottage on Rose Lane by Hope Ramsay
Published December 4, 2018 by Forever
My Rating 4/5 Stars
Audiobook Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Jenna Fossey’s life is about to change. An unexpected inheritance and the chance to meet relatives she never knew existed has her heading to the charming little town of Magnolia Harbor. But as soon as she arrives, long-buried family secrets lead to even more questions, and the only person who can help her find the answers is her sexy-as-sin sailing instructor.
Nothing makes Jude St. Pierre feel more alive than racing on the open sea – at least, not until Jenna comes strolling down his dock asking for sailing lessons. But it feels wrong to be attracted to her – especially when he learns why she came to town. Jude knows she deserves the truth but can he help her discover it without losing her and the family he’s come to think of as his own?
I really love when you pick up a novel not knowing what to expect and you find that thing within the pages that really blows you away. For me, in The Cottage on Rose Lane, the thing, that blew me away was the location with its culture and history. This romance takes place in the Deep South, on the South Carolina coast. A place with beautiful waterways and rich with history, and plenty of history being stripped away with the booming coastal resort and golf industry that’s taking over. I really admired the way the author handled all of the historical aspects she incorporated into the story. With being a white female author, writing a story that shed light on a part of African American history I was ignorant to due to not being from that part of the country, it felt very natural and respectful. I found myself down a rabbit hole for a straight hour researching as much as I could about the Gullah Geechee culture she writes into the romance. We can’t let our history slip away!
I am not the biggest fan of plot lines where there is a secret. My anxiety just can’t always handle it and Jenna has found her way to Magnolia Harbor with the secret of: one of the town’s prominent figures is her dead father’s brother, she’s inherited money from her Grandfather but none of the family has ever met her. It drove me crazy at times. Usually at least halfway through the book the secret will come out, and Jenna does confess to her love interest Jude, but it was still the big elephant in the room up until the last few chapters. I have to give it to the author, the secret aspect definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat, but it took me a while to get into it. During the entire book, Jenna is getting to know the townspeople, and her family, under a fake name, fake identity and has to sit idly by chatting with her aunt as if the family’s hate for her doesn’t matter. Even the love interest thought she was Magnolia Harbor for something totally different for a few chapters and didn’t trust her.
I liked that Jude and Jenna’s romance is an interracial romance. Both are people dealing with abandonment issues and really, so many odds are stacked against them but it works. Their love story did take me a little while to find believable but once I did, I was hooked. Ramsay really found a way to make everything complicated without feeling overly complicated.
I’m not sure if this is the start to a new series or not, but there are a few storylines I’d like to see more from. I also wouldn’t mind exploring the slight bit of paranormal activity we see in the book. I thought it added a fun twist to the story, and I mean, you can’t really have a story set in the Deep South without a few haunts.
Overall, I thought this was a nice re-introduction back into the world of cozy romances which I have missed so much. Aside from the history, the other part of this romance I enjoyed, was the fact that the love interest was a man of color. I loved the descriptions of his beautiful brown skin, his pretty eyes and his curly hair. It was refreshing to see a black man, in a cozy romance, as the hero.