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24 June 2013

Review: 'A Cottage by the Sea' by Carole Matthews (2013)

Grace has been best friends with Ella and Flick since university. The late-night chats, shared heartaches and good times have created a bond that has stood the test of time. Now in their thirties, Grace is always a bit disappointed about how little time they get to spend together, so when Ella invites them all to stay for a week in her cottage in South Wales, Grace jumps at the chance to see her old friends. She also hopes that the change in pace will help her reconnect with her husband, Harry. Unfortunately for her, Harry isn't as enamoured with Cwtch Cottage as she is. Then Flick arrives; loveable, bubbly Flick, accompanied by the handsome and charming Noah, and suddenly the week ahead looks as though it may be even more confusing for all the residents of Cwtch Cottage.

In April 2013 I read and reviewed Carole Matthews’ novel ‘Summer Daydreams’, which I absolutely loved. I really liked the plotline of the book and the way it was written, so I was excited when I realised I did not have to wait long for a new Carole Matthews novel. ‘A Cottage by the Sea’ has a gorgeous, colourful cover and when I discovered it is set in the south of Wales, I was already sold. I used to spend all my summer holidays there, in my grand-parents’ house near the beach. Unfortunately, both of them aren’t with us anymore, but I have some amazing memories from those summers spent in Wales. All in all, I couldn’t wait to read ‘A Cottage by the Sea’ and see whether it would fit my expectations.

Grace, Ella and Flick have been friends since their days together as university students. Over the years they’ve stayed in touch but because of their busy lives they hardly see each other. So, when Ella invites her friends to spend a week in the summer together at her cottage in South-Wales, it is the perfect opportunity for them to spend some time together again. Grace is bringing her husband Harry, with whom she hopes to have some quality time as well, since their relationship is no longer what it used to be. However, as soon as they arrive, the only thing Harry is interested in is the amount of glasses of wine he can drink in one afternoon and whether his mobile telephone works or not. To make matters even worse, Flick arrives with her latest boyfriend, the delightful and attractive Noah, and Grace starts feeling all kinds of things she shouldn’t be feeling as a married woman. This one week at Cwtch Cottage starts off as a simple summer holiday for Grace, Harry, Ella, Art, Flick and Noah, but as the days progress secrets are unfolded and lives will be changed forever...

Carole Matthews’ writing flows so easily, making her novels an absolute delight to read. ‘A Cottage by the Sea’ and its storyline immediately took me in and made me forget about everything else. I loved Grace; she’s a great friend to Ella and Flick, trustworthy, friendly. As a reader, I really felt for her and the situation she finds herself in: she is married to Harry and wants to do everything to make their marriage work. However, his problem with alcohol and the way he acts towards her... Who can blame her for having unexpected feelings for Noah? I think lots of female readers will fall in love with Noah, just like I did: what a gentleman! However, while I loved reading about this love triangle between Grace, Harry and Noah, I also really enjoyed the other storylines, including Ella, her boyfriend Art, and Flick. Just add the fabulous setting of Cwtch cottage, right at the beach, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a thoroughly enjoyable read!

One of the reasons why I loved reading this novel so much has to do with the fact that it brought back tons of memories of my own family holidays spent on the beaches of South-Wales. However, even if you don’t have that specific link to the setting of the story, I’m sure lots of readers will still adore this novel. It’s a perfect summer-read and exactly what a chick lit novel should be like, filled with tons of emotions and laughter. ‘A Cottage by the Sea’ shows that it’s never too late to find true love or to decide to chase your dreams, and that’s a message we can’t hear often enough, if you ask me. 



  1. Yaaiii!! This sounds like a great read Jody, and what a lovely cover! I'm adding this one to my wishlist as well, I can't wait to start reading all of these books you have recommended. How exciting!

    1. Thanks, Marie, it really is a lovely book! :) Can't wait to hear what you think of the books I've recommended!