Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Books Read: Holly Martin - The Guestbook

Welcome to Willow Cottage – throw open the shutters, let in the sea breeze and make yourself completely at home. Oh, and please do leave a comment in the Guestbook!

As landlady of Willow Cottage, the young widow Annie Butterworth is always on hand with tea, sympathy or strong Norfolk cider - whatever her colourful array of guests require. A flick through the messages in the leather-bound cottage guestbook gives a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of everyone who passes through her doors.

This includes Annie herself - especially now celebrity crime writer Oliver Black, is back in town. He might grace the covers of gossip magazines with a different glamorous supermodel draped on his arm every week, but to Annie, he’s always just been Olly, the man who Annie shared her first kiss with.Through the pages of the Guestbook Annie and Olly, along with all the guests that arrive at the seaside retreat, struggle with love, loss, mystery, joy, happiness, guilt…and the odd spot of naked rambling!  

Forget sending postcards saying wish you were here - one visit to Willow Cottage and you’ll wish you could stay forever.

Amazon link: Kindle  

The Guestbook is a delightful story told in a completely unique way.  At first when I heard that this story had been written in the format of comments in a guestbook I did wonder how it would translate, I could see this working as a novella but wasn't sure how it would read for a longer length novel, but I needn't have worried as the writing flowed easily and it was such an entertaining story to read. 

Annie Butterworth is a young widow who decided to buy Willow Cottage, the cottage next door, after the death of her husband and run it as a guest house. Her brother-in-law Olly, a famous crime writer, comes to stay whenever he needs some R&R but he's just one of her regular guests.

Annie opens her doors to everyone and they are all welcomed with open arms as if they are part of the family and are encouraged to leave a diary entry in the guest book expressing how they are feeling and what they have been up to during their stay, and with different fonts depicting the different characters entries you'll get to see some of the conversations take on a life of their own as others join in. But it's the three way conversations between Annie, Olly and his aunt Sophia, who does the cleaning at the cottage, that had me laughing the most ...

From the moment I picked up my Kindle to start reading I did not want to put it down, it was a beautiful story from start to finish with a whole range of emotions and stories unfolding as the pages turn.  I cannot wait to see what Holly has in store for us next.   

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