"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!
Annie Butterworth is the landlady of Willow Cottage, a beautiful cottage in the English countryside with a colourful array of guests. Every guest is encouraged to write their thoughts in the guestbook and do they ever! Love, loss, happiness, sadness, guilt, affairs, births, and surprises, it’s all in there. Even Annie’s life gets caught up in the book.
As a young widow, Annie herself is going through some changes. And the appearance of her brother-in-law, celebrity crime writer Oliver Black isn’t helping. As the guests of Willow Cottage go about their seaside vacations, Annie and Oliver must figure out how to move on in their lives, and most importantly, if they will do so together.
The Guestbook by Holly Martin is a lovely, sweet, and unique book. Written in the format of notes left in the guestbook, readers get a glimpse into the life of not only Holly but all of the people who come through Willow Cottage. And boy do they have stories to tell!
At first I wondered if this format would be able to hold my attention the whole way through but I soon found out that wouldn’t be an issue. I loved the way it allowed many different stories to be told without taking over the book. And I loved the way it allowed Annie’s story to develop slowly and mysteriously.
I often stay at places where a book is left for guests to write in. I never write in them nor do I read them. But after reading this book, I’m definitely going to be taking a peak, though I don’t think it will be anywhere near as exciting as this book. I loved all the different stories, and though it has the aspect of being unbelievable (who would write that information about themselves, or correspond back and forth with their mate in the guestbook) it makes every character that stays at the guest house endearing.
Full of charm, warmth, and humour, The Guestbook is a lovely read. It didn’t just make me want to go stay in a place like Willow Cottage, it made me want to own one!