Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Secret of Emerald Cottage by Julie Lessman

Posted September 25, 2021 by meezcarrie in Christian, contemporary, giveaway, Julie Lessman, mystery/suspense, romance / 45 Comments

GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHER: Julie Lessman LLC
RELEASE DATE: September 20, 2021
PAGES: 410

She’s sweet & cozy mysteries. He’s fun & cozy flings.
Till a deadly secret reveals not-so-cozy things.

Twenty-six-year-old Molly Stewart—ex-Navy nurse and former evidence technician for the Charleston Police Department—has been burned by love. So when her friend, Pastor Chase Griffin, begs her to move to scenic Lake Loon to be a nurse and companion for Miss Lilly, his elderly landlady, she jumps at the chance. The secluded and cozy cottage on a clear mountain lake seems the perfect place to heal from her fiancé’s betrayal as well as indulge in one of her greatest passions—cozy romance. First with reading them by the bookcase and then hopefully, if dreams come true, solving them one day as a licensed detective. But when Miss Lilly’s estranged great nephew shows up, it’s no mystery as to why he and Molly butt heads. Because it only takes one stolen kiss—while she’s sleeping, no less—to discover he’s an even bigger player than the ex-fiancé who broke her heart.

When international playboy and Irish soccer star Brec McGill learns his long-lost great aunt is in a coma from a drowning accident, he rushes to her side. Not only is he anxious to reconnect with his only living relative he spent summers with as a boy, but her cottage on Lake Loon, Georgia is the perfect respite to heal from game injuries and escape a tabloid scandal. At thirty-three he’s disillusioned with the game, his fiancée, and life in general, craving nothing but a little peace and solitude to get his head on straight. But when he discovers his aunt’s cottage is not only inhabited by a crusty Aunt Lilly he hasn’t seen in ten years, but a pretty prude of a nurse as well, his plans take a nose-dive in the lake. Because suddenly it appears not only was Aunt Lilly’s accident no accident … but somebody out there wants to see them all dead.


Every time Julie Lessman shifts genres, however slightly, I am there for it. I’ve long been a fan of her WW1 era & Roaring 20s historical romances, and then I became a fan of her contemporary romances. And then I became a fan of her western historical romances and her WW2 historical romance, and now I’m forever a fan of her romantic suspense too.

The Secret of Emerald Cottage combines all of my favorite things – a swoony hero, a plucky heroine, a swoony hero, a cute-and-feisty old lady, a swoony hero, heart-in-your-throat suspense, a swoony hero, decades-held secrets, a swoony hero, stick-your-head-in-the-freezer kisses, a swoony hero, character growth that points to Jesus… and did I mention a swoony hero? Keep your fans, alternate sources of oxygen, fainting couches, and freezers close at hand as you watch Irish soccer star Breccan McGill fall head over heels for ex-Navy nurse (and budding Nancy Drew) Molly Stewart.

Brec has years of bitterness and anger, plus the acclaim & temptations of stardom, clouding his heart from hearing the pull of God, and Molly has been burned too badly by his type in the past. But sometimes love comes at us unexpectedly – the love of God and the love of a soul mate – and watching these two navigate the rocky shores where faith and life intersect brought tears to my eyes on a couple of occasions. And then there’s Miss Lilly (whom I adored in His Steadfast Love and adored spending time with again in this book) who adds some endearing tension relief in one delightful spitfire of a package, with some seasoned wisdom and the power of prayer to boot.

The mystery & suspense elements are very well done, timed nicely with the pace of the other aspects of the plot (namely, the romance). After all, intense romantic tension balances perfectly with the intensity of a suspense novel. Between Molly’s nightmares, Brec’s kisses, the building danger, and some surprising twists, don’t plan to breathe much while you’re reading The Secret of Emerald Cottage!

Bottom Line: Julie Lessman, as always, doesn’t sacrifice on passion – for Jesus, for prayer, and for romance – and the message in The Secret of Emerald Cottage is on point for all three. Added to her fan-favorite signature trifecta and vivid characters, Lessman’s first foray into romantic suspense is a definite success! I hope we see many more from her in this genre, in fact, and I think the setting of Lake Loon probably has other secrets that need to be brought to the surface. Throw in visits with characters from her Isle of Hope series, too, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a great read!

(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!

KissingBook Level: 4+ / keep a fan & fainting couch close by

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Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.

Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 21 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017-20, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.

Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at

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Other Books by Julie Lessman

Want to win a $50 Amazon gift card, a signed paperback of The Secret of Emerald Cottage (or choice of Julie Lessman’s books), a character named for you or a loved one (great birthday/Christmas gift!) in her next book, A Hope and a Prayer, which releases early next spring and a signed paperback of that book?

TO ENTER: Just head on over to JULIE LESSMAN’S BLOG for all the details and GOOD LUCK!

What about you? What makes you want to read The Secret of Emerald Cottage by Julie Lessman?

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45 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): The Secret of Emerald Cottage by Julie Lessman

  1. By the way I think you forgot to mention the swoony hero! Bwahahahaha I am such a HUGE fan of Julie’s books no matter what the genre and I quite agree with you. I’m not quite ready to leave Lake Loon just yet!
    Super great review, Carrie!

  2. Paty Hinojosa Gómez

    The blurb is captivating! And the cover! I love Julie’s books, and now, add the mystery, even more captivating!! Can’t wait to read it!

  3. CARRIE!! Oh, girl, you made my day, my friend — what a GREAT review! Your reviews are SO good, that I always clip lines from them for my promos, and I don’t say that to many people. Thank you SOOO much, not only for taking the time to read Secret, but for featuring me on your blog with a truly beautiful review. God bless you!!

    Hugs and more hugs,

  4. Debra J Pruss

    I enjoy reading romance suspense. Thank you so much for sharing. The cover is beautiful. God bless you.

    • Aw, thanks, Debra — my artist hubby and I put our heads together on all my covers, then Killion Group Book Covers does the rest, and they are EXCELLENT at finalizing and pricing!


  5. Pam K.

    I want to read The Secret of Emerald Cottage first because it’s by Julie Lessman and also because it sounds really good.

  6. Donna Irvin

    I would read this because I loved her previous books, especially the Isle of Hope series. I never say I do not read a particular type of book, because I try different genres, historical time periods and mostly love them.

    • Hey, Donna, thank you SO much for your support, and I tried to infuse a fair amount of my Isle of Hope characters into this book because I miss them, so hopefully you’ll appreciate seeing them again too!

      Hugs and good luck!

  7. Becky D

    This right here is why I follow your blog & reviews:
    “Keep your fans, alternate sources of oxygen, fainting couches, and freezers close at hand as you watch Irish soccer star Breccan McGill…” Such honesty, great suggestions, and the obvious fact that you love romance mysteries. Thanks so much for sharing!!! 🥰📚

  8. Heather F.

    I love Julie’s books, and have been a fan from the beginning! I love all of the swoony heros! :)) I’m excited to read this one!

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