Jul 26, 2014

The Guestbook by Holly Martin

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.


Annie is the owner of Willow Cottage. She is a wonderful hostess and always makes sure her guests are having a great time. She invites them to a barbecue, has a drink with them or she's there to provide some food and drinks. She's often available for a nice chat or to help out when she is needed. Annie hasn't had the most easy years. She's still young, but she's already a widow. Her life is quite eventful, because there are several men who are interested in her. The famous writer Oliver Black is a regular guest of the cottage and he and Annie are very close friends. They've known each other since childhood. Annie's still grieving, but after two years she's ready to date again. Maybe she and Oliver will have a chance, but the abundance of guilt is making things very difficult for them. Will Annie eventually find some happiness?
The Guestbook reads has been written as an actual guestbook. The reader gets to know Annie through messages that have been left by many different people. Annie always replies, so there is plenty of dialogue between her and her guests. I liked the idea, and Holly Martin's successful and thoughtful execution of it, very much. She's written a beautiful and emotional story in an unusual and formidable way. Some of the messages are funny and snappy, others are long and way too honest. There's a huge variety which made the story even more interesting for me. I loved this book, it's a wonderful, romantic story and because of its originality it's a real standout.


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