Book Review | The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman #thesummercottage #violashipman #harlequinpublicityteam

Genre: Fiction, Second Chances

Published: April 23, 2019 🆕

Pages: 386

My Thoughts:

This was my first book by author Viola Shipman and it won’t be my last. This was the perfect read to take on vacation, it’s a palate cleanser – refreshing and satisfying. It fits into the “second chances” genre with the main character Adie Lou recently going through a divorce and deciding to renovate her family’s cottage into a B&B on Lake Michigan.

She is a relatable, fun woman in her 40s and she’s been in a marriage where her husband criticized her every move and then cheats on her. Instead of falling apart, she decides to make a huge lifestyle change and return to the place where she was happiest.

The lake locals remember her parents and want to help her succeed and even though it’s not all smooth sailing (pun intended) and it’s a ton of hard work, she creates a special place that reminds her guests and herself of the happy summers she spent there.

There are many great reminders and choice bits of wisdom throughout the book. I was fascinated by the fact that a man (the author is Wade Rouse who writes under his grandmothers name) could write women’s fiction so well!

This is a feel good, gentle read that made me laugh out loud and even tear up a little. Adie Lou will appeal to many women – who hasn’t wanted to try something new, to be brave and independent?

Goodreads | Amazon

About the Book:

Adie Lou Kruger’s ex never understood her affection for what her parents called their Cozy Cottage, the charming, ramshackle summer home—complete with its own set of rules for relaxing—that she’s inherited on Lake Michigan. But despite the fact she’s facing a broken marriage and empty nest, and middle age is looming in the distance, memories of happy childhoods on the beach give her reason for hope. She’s determined not to let her husband’s affair with a grad student reduce her to a cliché, or to waste one more minute in a career she doesn’t love, so it becomes clear what Adie Lou must do: rebuild her life and restore her cottage shingle by shingle, on her terms.

But converting the beloved, weather-beaten structure into a bed-and-breakfast isn’t quite the efficient home-reno experience she’s seen on TV. Pushback from Saugatuck’s contentious preservation society, costly surprises and demanding guests were not part of the plan. But as the cottage comes back to life, Adie Lou does, too, finding support in unexpected places and a new love story on the horizon. One cottage rule at a time, Adie Lou reclaims her own strength, history and joy by rediscovering the magic in every sunset and sandcastle.

About the Author:

Viola Shipman is a pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. Rouse is the author of The Charm Bracelet, The Hope Chest, and The Recipe Box, which have been translated into over a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. He divides his time between Saugatuck, Michigan, and Palm Springs, California, and writes regularly for People, Coastal Living, and Good Housekeeping, among others, and is a contributor to All Things Considered.

On a Personal Note:

I had the pleasure of meeting Wade at Literary Orange in Newport Beach earlier this month. He spoke on the “genealogy” panel and I was enthralled by the stories of his grandmother and what an impression she made on him. He told us an especially dear story of this special “Cherry Chip” cake that she always made for him on special occasions. The last time she made it for him was when he got his masters degree. 😢 This recipe and others are included in The Recipe Box, the novel that came out in 2018. While waiting in line for the signing, I got to meet Wade’s significant other, who I was glad to hear has continued to make the Cherry Chip cake for him!

QOTD: Have you read other Viola Shipman books? Which one is your favorite?


Thank you to Lisa Wray and the rest of the Harlequin Publicity Team for the complimentary review copy. All opinions are my own and I was not coerced or forced to write this post!

Want more reviews? Click here!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link. Thank you for supporting this blog and the books I recommend! I may have received a book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Follow OrangeCountyReaders on Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Support Us on Ko-Fi and Amazon. And please, feel free to leave a comment!