Book Review: The Peace Cottage
ashley | The opening lines of The Peace Cottage by Lisa Kent definitely caught my attention. I wasn’t exactly sure what I signed up for, but I like being pleasantly surprised.
There’s a wanderlust part of me that is always captured by the idea of disappearing into a cabin in the woods, secluded from the real world. I was immediately drawn to the cottage (well, after it was cleaned that is), and the surroundings of this little, curious town. But even more curious, this mother-daughter trio who randomly showed up and settled down out of the blue, so desperate for a new home that they would scrub a filthy cabin top to bottom just to stay there. There’s obviously a story here and I needed to know what it was.
Turns out, this was a story of grief and three women coming to terms with their life and trying to start anew. This was a prolonged process that a whole novel was written about, and yet, it seemed like the process moved so quickly. Lucy’s husband had been dead not nearly a month and she was already eyeing up her attractive landlord. The girls just lost their father but they’re still so perfectly polite and anxious to get on with life and start school and get a job. These are either very strong, determined women or there’s something sort of missing from this. I just didn’t feel the depth of their grief, something that supposedly drove them from their home, something that should, I would think, provoke strong emotions and uncharacteristic behaviour, but it didn’t and I found this hard to accept.
I’m also not sure how I felt about Lucy and Jack’s complicated relationship. Or Jack in general. He was obviously a saviour to them and I understand where he was coming from, but I’m not sure I totally believe his motives or his intentions. Perhaps that’s my own problem, that I don’t have enough faith or trust in people, but I just found his involvement with their lives a little questionable. At least for the short amount of time they knew each other and spent together.
I was happy that the details surrounding Lucy’s husband’s death were finally revealed, though. At first it seemed like this might be brushed over too, but hearing the circumstances surrounding his death and the backlash Lucy was put through as a result added that much needed depth that I was looking for and helped put everything else in perspective. I kind of wish we learned a bit more about what they were running from earlier on in the story, it might have helped me understand their intentions and motives a bit better from the get go. That said, the forgiveness that followed happened quite instantly as well. It’s almost like there was a checklist of events that this story was just ticking off as it went through.
The Peace Cottage was a nice enough story, but I guess it all just seemed a little two dimensional to me, touching only on the surface of these women, mechanically having conversations and living day to day. There were some shining moments of faith and healing, glimpses into what could be a very inspirational story, but all in all, it fell a little flat for me and there were so many layers that could be explored in these characters that I didn’t feel were. But the whole feeling of the cottage was beautiful and I loved the concept of this family finding this safe haven to start to heal and come to terms with things. In that, the idea of the peace cottage really resonated with me, even if the characters did not.
April 30, 2014