The Cottage on Juniper Ridge
Rating: 3 Stars
Description: Can a book change your life? That's the question that too busy Jen Heath and the members of the Icicle Ridge find themselves asking. When they pick an Icicle Ridge resident's book Simplicity as their January selection they have no idea what kind of journey this will send them. For Jen - is it possible to give up the life she can't afford and doesn't enjoy in Seattle? Can Stacy find a way to clear out her stuff while still being able to enjoy her treasures? Can Chita find time for herself? Can Toni find a common ground for her family to connect on away from WiFi and cell phone service?
Pros: I love a good rebuilding your life story and Jen Heath's story is excellent. As a character she was fun to read about - intelligent, nice and willing to really change. Her sister and her sister's family were also good characters and they were facing problems that I think are becoming more and more of an issue to most families with dealing with all the available technology. I also thought Stacy's journey to figuring out how to turn her love of finding treasures into something that could really work for her was interesting. The relationship between Stacy and her husband Dean was so sweet and so supportive that it was nice to read. The idea of having all the characters trying to find ways to simplify their very different lives was interesting and something most of us probably could do. The overall atmosphere of the town was lovely. Icicle Ridge definitely comes off as a town you'd want to visit.
Cons: The romance. I was fine with this being a very mild romance (no sex scenes) but I don't find it very romantic when one is constantly judging the other and finding them lacking. I understand that Garrett had had a very bad experience with his ex-wife but he has so many hangups and is so harsh on Jen that I really can't see how this will be a happily ever after. Another thing is the large number of story lines. There are a lot of characters which if they had been left just as side characters would've been fine. However, several are given their own story lines that end up feeling very rushed. Charley may have had an earlier book but I don't believe Chita did and I would've loved to have a book about her and her relationship with Dr. Wolfe.
Overall: It took me a few chapters to really get involved in this book but when I did I read it pretty much in one sitting. I loved the parts where it was just the women and the town but disliked pretty much any of the scenes regarding Garrett. If hadn't been for him I would've been trying to decide between 3 or 4 stars instead of 2 or 3 stars.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely. I really enjoyed the Icicle Ridge setting. If I come across a story that interests me I'd definitely pick it up.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Possibly but with a disclaimer regarding the romance