The Cottage, a novel by Michael Phillips, is the second book in his Secrets of the Shetlands series. The story follows Allonnah “Loni” Ford in her discovery of her past, her identity, and her future.Having received a letter that a distant relative passed away, leaving her a cottage, Loni decides she must see it for herself before handing it over to the relation next in line. The cottage, however, is located on a small, Scottish island in the north Atlantic and the inheritance more than just a ramshackle old house.
Loni quickly learns that she would inherit the “lairdship” of the island, which means she would be lord of the lands and the people. However, before Loni arrives, her cousin, backed by a Texan of big oil fame, has been attempting to discredit their other cousin other in hopes of gaining the lairdship for himself. When Loni appears on the island, the stakes grow higher. Her decision whether to accept the inheritance will affect not only her future, but the future of each person on Whale’s Reef.
Phillips has an engaging writing style that fits perfectly with the story’s setting. The words, albeit rambling, flow easily, making the pages turn. The plot itself could have be condensed; it seemed to have several instances of prolonged narration unhelped by the distant, omniscient point of view. But it was the attempt at duplicating the sound of the islanders’ accent that proved quite difficult to decipher. Overall, however, the story, that of a girl receiving a long-lost inheritance on a Scottish Isle, was quite captivating.
If you would enjoy a literary tale with a touch of romance and a strong Christian (Loni was raised in a Quaker household) message, Michael Phillips’ The Cottage is for you. I read Book One, The Inheritance, prior to reading The Cottage, which did provide backstory that perhaps helped me care more about the characters than had I read only Book Two. That said, I do believe a reader could enjoy The Cottage as a standalone story about family, faith, and community.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”