THE SECRET OF EMERALD COTTAGE
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHER: Julie Lessman LLC
RELEASE DATE: September 20, 2021
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 www.julielessman.com.
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?
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