Monday, May 19, 2014

Review - - The Cottage on Juniper Ridge

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge
By Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: February 25, 2014


When Jen Heath's sister gave her a copy of Simplicity, Muriel Sterling's guide to the simple life, she hoped it would inspire her workaholic, over-stressed sister to slow down a bit.  She never expected Jen to chuck her entire life in Seattle and rent a cottage in the woods outside Icicle Falls, the hometown of the book's author.

Jen is charmed by her new hometown and especially by her sexy firefighter landlord, Garrett Armstrong though any hopes she might have had that something would develop between them seem to be a lost cause. Garrett is equally charmed by Jen but not about to act on it.  The single dad has had his heart broken once and isn't about to hand it over again to a woman he thinks is just as flaky as his ex-wife. Give him a passion-less relationship with a woman with whom he shares common interests and he'll be just fine, thank you very much.  Fate, of course, has something else in mind for the pair.

When the Icicle Falls book club chooses Simplicity as their book of the month, it sets off a variety of reactions and sets into motion events that will change the lives of many of the women in the small mountain town.  Women like Chita Arness - a single mom who just can't say no.  The overworked mom of two children plus one mischievous dog wonders what happened to a young girl's ambitions.  These days, she struggles to make ends meet while spending her limited free time helping her children with school work, volunteering with their activities and hanging out at the Vet's office with the dog who "had a penchant for eating things he shouldn't, like bottle caps, crayons, Lego bricks and shoelaces."  Learning to say no is Chita's first step toward simplifying her life but could those frequent visits to the Vet's office open the door to the future she's always wanted?  Women like empty-nester Stacy Thomas who takes great pride in her "collectibles." When Stacy decorates, she decorates. When she hosts the book club and notices that her guests can't even find an empty space to set down their cups she begins to wonder if perhaps her collecting is edging over into hoarder territory.  But wondering, realizing and actually doing something to change her ways won't be an easy, or pain-free, process.  These are but two of the residents of Icicle Falls whose lives are changed by the power of love, friendship and one simple book.

In The Cottage on Juniper Ridge, Roberts returns to the charming town of Icicle Falls for another heartwarming tale.  Characters familiar to fans of the series are re-visited with individual stories begun in previous books continuing to progress while new characters, and their stories, are also introduced. The primary focus remains on Jen and Garrett but secondary characters also have their moments in the spotlight as they all learn that sometimes simplifying our lives brings us not what we want but what we need to claim the happiness we've been chasing.

Having grown up in an environment similar to Icicle Falls, I'm intimately acquainted with how the lives of many are interwoven to create the unique fabric of a small town, something at which Roberts excels.  While each of her books stands alone, once you meet the wonderful people of Icicle Falls you'll probably want to pick up the rest of the books in the series and get to know them all better.  I did!



  1. I love small town romances and this sounds great!

  2. Thank you for another well done review. I am not familiar with this series, but it certainly sounds like one I will enjoy. I grew up in a small town and we retired to one. They all have their own special personality and this ones worth knowing. I might start with THE COTTAGE ON JUNIPER RIDGE, but I prefer to start at the beginning of a series. I am particularly interested in reading Stacy Thomas's story.