Adie Lou Kruger’s ex never understood her affection for what her parents called their Creaky 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.
For as long as she has been alive, the Creaky Cottage has been a place of refuge, of comfort, and of family fun for Adie Lou Kruger. As a recently divorced adult, Adie Lou has never needed the Creaky Cottage more and for the first time in the refuge’s history, Adie Lou is considering sharing the space with others. With nothing but a dream, a set of plans, a willing contractor, and a pile of cash, Adie Lou sets out to convert her beloved Creaky Cottage into a Bed and Breakfast.
As Adie Lou embarks on a brand-new life with her B&B, she discovers so much about her life, her place in the world, and what she truly wants to accomplish with her home and space. What’s more, with each new bit of renovation, Adie Lou discovers some bit of history about the cottage she was previously unaware of. These discoveries allow Adie to do some digging into her own past as well as the past/history of the site and the community. Each new discovery and each new revelation allow Adie to become even more committed to her endeavors and more connected to the community around her.
To be sure, Adie Lou’s efforts aren’t always met with ease and acceptance. In fact, the further she digs into history and the more remodeling she approves the more resistance she meets one a few fronts. For example, the head of the local preservation society seems hell bent on making Adie Lou’s life miserable and if Adie Lou can’t find a way around her or through her, her dream is going to die before it ever gets a chance to really live. On the flip side of the cranky old lady is a most welcome surprise in the form of an old friend with the potential to become so much more to Adie Lou. As with everything in life, Adie Lou is discovering that the bad is always tempered by the good and if you keep to your path and follow your heart, all will work out as it is meant to work out.
The Bottom Line: I found so much to love about this book from the setting to the characters to the message. Every element of this story is tied to the Creaky Cottage and the rules of the cottage which guide Adie Lou in her pursuits. Adie Lou isn’t just about making money and forging a new path for herself but honoring the life she has lived, the struggles she has endured, and sharing her strength and wisdom with others. By sharing the Creaky Cottage and its rules with others, Adie Lou is also honoring the history of the site and the community it is a part of. Ultimately, this is a book about discovery, healing, helping others, and sharing and providing comfort for those not quite certain of their decisions or their path. Love and friendship factor heavily into this read as well. I found Adie Lou to be a wonderful leading lady, a woman who doesn’t have all the answers, is somewhat battered and bruised by life, but not at all willing to give up. Her strength and her determination fuel her dreams without making her an overbearing character. At every level, Adie Lou Kruger is just who she needs to be! Every element of this book reflects what is so good and so very welcome in women’s fiction which makes it an recommendation for lovers of this genre.