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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Driftwood Cottage by Sherryl Woods

Driftwood Cottage by Sherryl Woods
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (376 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Single mom Heather Donovan's dreams of home and family are tantalizingly within reach when she settles in Chesapeake Shores. The welcoming arms of the boisterous, loving O'Brien clan embrace her and her son. But accepting their support seems to further alienate her son's father, Connor O'Brien. His parents' divorce and his career as a high-powered divorce attorney have left him jaded about marriage.

Then everything changes. Will the possibility of a future without Heather make Connor look at love and his career differently? Heather's just about given up on her old dreams—of love, of family and especially of Driftwood Cottage, the home she secretly wishes were hers. It's going to take a lot of persuasion—and some help from the O'Brien family—to make Heather believe that some dreams are worth fighting for.

This is an invitation to stop by Chesapeake Shores and look in on the O’Brien family. Life-changing things are happening and the O’Briens are all involved in their number one hobby—meddling. Heather Donovan left Connor O’Brien, the high-powered divorce lawyer who lives in Baltimore. She comes to Chesapeake Shores to make a life for herself and her baby, Little Mick O’Brien.

Emotional stress, tension, and upheaval in their families during their childhood influences both Connor and Heather in their adult relationship. Deeply imprinted in their psyches are strong beliefs about marriage. Even though they love each other, they are at odds. Connor says he will never marry and Heather realizes she can no longer find fulfillment in a relationship without a commitment—especially since there is Little Mick to consider.

Heather opens a quilting shop in Chesapeake Shores, where she has love and support from all of Connor’s family. They recognize Heather’s situation and set in to encourage Connor to “do right” by Heather and his son. His little nieces Caitlin and Carrie tell Connor about a boy at school whose mother and daddy aren’t married. Some of the other kids say he is “illegal” and tease him until he cries. They want to know if Little Mick is “illegal” (illegitimate) and will be teased and called hurtful names when goes to school. Their innocent questions are like a dash of cold water in the face to Connor. But he cannot get past his deep abhorrence of marriage. It rules his actions as a divorce lawyer and his personal life.

Connor’s journey is truly a hero’s journey that is heartbreaking at times and maddening at other times. He allows the past to control the future. His mother and father’s divorce when he was a vulnerable age and the divorces he brokers now have embitter him and leave him in a dark, dreary place—he truly loves Heather and Little Mick, but stubbornly rebels when it comes to marriage.

Heather is the first to admit Connor is considerate, a great father, good provider, and smart, but she can no longer live in the dark, gloomy world Connor lives in with his cut-throat attitude as a divorce lawyer. He works diligently to see his male clients give just as little to their wives as possible. She fights her own demons about being rejected by her parents because of her life style. They have never seen or acknowledged Little Mick.

The O’Brien family may be considered dysfunctional, but their ability to love with a love that never gives up is amazing. While they are totally serious about taking care of each other, they also inject a humor into their “doings” that makes the story sparkle. If you met the O’Briens in another Chesapeake Shores novel, it will be great to find out how their lives are unfolding. If you haven’t met them Driftwood Cottage is a perfect place to get acquainted.

Driftwood Cottage teems with heartwarming characters who struggle with their own inner conflicts while reaching out to others. From Little Mick up through the generations to Grandmother Nell, each character has a distinct personality that enriches the story to give it depth and intensity. Their humor and love are like the icing on a cake that makes it even sweeter and more satisfying.

Sherryl Woods has a unique talent and exquisite style for bringing a setting into clear focus and for developing characters that seem like living, breathing people that the reader shares heart-touching experiences with—some so sad they hurt and others so happy they make the heart sing with joy. She creates a memorable tale of love. Driftwood Cottage gives Heather and Connor their happy-ever-after and foreshadows more happy-every-afters to come for other members of the O’Brien family. This one is a keeper.