Mini-Review: Spring House by Mary Ellen Taylor

42381708Pregnant and still grieving the death of her fiancé, historian Megan Buchanan is forging ahead on a dream project: to restore to its original glory the landmark hunting lodge her own great-great-grandfather built on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. With the help of her fiancé’s caring best friend, it’s sure to draw much-needed tourist revenue to Cape Hudson, a town rich in southern history. 

However, it’s Spring House, the caretaker’s cottage on the grounds, that holds the most intriguing history for Megan. In a cache of old letters, she’s drawn into the captivating life of a young woman who embarked on her own dream adventure a century ago. With each one, Megan is swept away into her enthralling world—and all its secrets. But Megan has secrets too. 

Now, as one woman’s past unfolds in each revealing letter, Megan will discover more about herself and about the emotional tides of family that can be weathered with those you love and trust the most.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Montlake Romance          Rating: 5/5 stars

The Bottom Line: Though it isn’t listed as the second book in a series, Spring House is very much a continuation of the story begun in Winter Cottage.  Megan Buchanan has been contracted to fully and completely restore not only Winter Cottage but the surrounding sites as well; as a historian and an individual with deep family roots in the area, Megan is excited about the project and eager to restore every site to its former glory.  As a means of somewhat avoiding her own very personal and painful issues, Megan throws herself into the Spring House project; in addition to the physical restoration of the site, Megan also digs into the history of the place and people.   As Megan digs into the past, the book alternates between the past and the present and does so in a wonderfully seamless way.  As Megan discovers, the past absolutely informs the present and with every bit of information she uncovers, the more connected she feels to her past, present, future, and the place. 

Though you can absolutely read Spring House as a standalone, I would highly recommend reading it only after completing Winter Cottage.  The history of the families and area are vast, complicated, and shrouded in mystery.  The blending of past and present is excellent, the characters in both eras are compelling, and the plot is wonderfully heartfelt and engaging.  At the root of this book is a sense of family, of belonging, and finding one’s place in the world. Though I want Megan to be successful in her work, I sure hope it takes her a very long time to complete the project as I would gladly welcome more books in this series.

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