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The Summer Cottage
by Viola Shipman

Published: 2019-04-23
Hardcover : 400 pages
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Advance Praise for THE SUMMER COTTAGE

“Every now and then a new voice in fiction arrives to completely charm, entertain and remind us what matters. Viola Shipman is that voice and The Summer Cottage is that absolutely irresistible and necessary novel.” — New York Times Bestselling ...
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Advance Praise for THE SUMMER COTTAGE

“Every now and then a new voice in fiction arrives to completely charm, entertain and remind us what matters. Viola Shipman is that voice and The Summer Cottage is that absolutely irresistible and necessary novel.” — New York Times Bestselling Author Dorothea Benton Frank

From the bestselling author of The Charm Bracelet and The Recipe Box comes the perfect summer escape about the restorative power of family tradition, small-town community and the feel of sand between your toes

Adie Lou Kruger’s ex never understood her affection for what her parents called their Cozy 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.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


July 2006

“There it is!” I said, rolling down the car window, and sticking my head out.
Even though I was a grown woman – a married mom now in her thirties – there was nothing like seeing my family’s summer cottage again. I smiled as Cozy Cottage came into view. It looked as though it had been lifted from a storybook: an old, shingled cottage sitting on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, an American flag flapping in the breeze. The cool wind coming off the lake whistled, the grass on the dunes swayed, the leaves rustled in the aspen trees and the needles of the tall pines surrounding the cottage quivered. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1) The Summer Cottage is inspired by the author’s family’s beloved family cabin, where he spent childhood summers with his grandparents. Do you have a summer cottage? What memories does it hold, and what does it mean to you? How long has it been in your family? Do you intend to pass it along? And what are your favorite quirks or items in your cottage?

2) The Summer Cottage is also inspired by and set in the author’s beloved, real hometown of Saugatuck-Douglas, Michigan. Do you live in a resort town, or vacation in a favorite place every summer? What memories do you have there? What emotions does it evoke when you arrive?

3) In The Summer Cottage, each chapter is centered around a “Cottage Rule.” Do you have rules – funny or real – for your home? What are the importance of rules in our life? How do they help us? How do they hinder us? And do you think we have too many rules in society, or too few?

4) Do you still spend time with your family? What’s that mean to you/them? Are we losing that connection?

5) Adie Lou, the main character in the novel, wants to recapture not only the dreams she had growing up but also the person she was. Do you have dreams that never materialized? What were they? And what stood in the way of those coming true (children, mortgages, illness, caring for your parents, money, divorce, or just plain old back luck)?

6) A main theme in the novel centers on the importance of home and history. As Adie Lou renovates her summer cottage, she uncovers a fascinating history about Sadie, a young woman who lived in the cottage in the late 1800s. Does your summer cottage or home have a fascinating history? Share.

7) Furthermore, Sadie’s history is fraught with sadness and tragedy as her young life has already been predetermined for her by men. Adie Lou’s life and career has also been influenced by men. Has your life or decisions ever been influenced by men in a negative way? How so (Divorce? Equal pay at work?)? How have women and women’s rights changed over the last century? How have they not?

8) Another theme in the novel centers on friendships and how hard women can often be on one another. Adie Lou has a best friend in Trish and a rival in Iris. Who is your best friend? Share some stories. Who is or has been your rival? Why was he/she your rival? Did you ever make amends or come to an understanding?

9) Paralleling the author’s own life, Adie Lou quits her secure, fulltime job to become an entrepreneur. The author quit a secure job with benefits to become an author. Are you an entrepreneur? What do you do? How did you do it? Or, have you ever considered becoming an entrepreneur? What would you do? What is driving you toward that goal, or what is hindering you from making it happen?

10) The Summer Cottage is about believing in yourself and giving yourself second chances in life, be it love, work, home. Do you believe in yourself? Why or why not? Have you given yourself a second chance at something in life? Discuss. Are you thinking of “restarting” your life or your dreams? How and why?

11) Running themes in the author’s novels are respecting and sharing our family histories, honoring our elders, holding onto our heirlooms and cherishing our past, pain and all. Are we losing those connections today? Why or why not? What are ways you share your family history, honor your elders, utilize heirlooms or cherish your past? Discuss.

12) What are your favorite beach reads? Which authors seem to capture summer for you?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Sweet summer read"by Rose M. (see profile) 08/28/19

I enjoyed this sweet summer read of Adie Lou and her reinvention of herself. When her marriage crumbles into divorce, and Adie Lou is faced with selling her summer cottage with all its memor... (read more)

  "The Summer Cottage"by Elizabeth P. (see profile) 06/27/19

Her family's cottage about to be sold?

Adie Lou couldn’t do it...The Summer Cottage had too many memories.

Instead of selling the cottage, Adie Lou decided to turn it into a bed an

... (read more)

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