The Cottage on Winter Moss by Allie Cresswell #NewRelease

Burned-out author Dee needs fresh inspiration. Impetuously, she abandons London and her good-for-nothing boyfriend to go wherever her literary quest takes her. Journey’s end is a remote village on the shores of a wild estuary, overshadowed by a ruined pele tower. She rents Winter Cottage and waits for a story to emerge.

The bleak beauty of the whispering dunes, the jacquard of colour and texture of the marsh and a romantic tree in a secluded glade—The Trysting Tree—all seduce Dee. Nevertheless, the secretive behaviour of a handsome neighbour, lights across the marsh, a spurious squire and a bizarre, moonlit encounter all suggest there is something odd afoot.

Local gossip and crumbling graveyard inscriptions give Dee the opening she needs. She begins to weave hints about the tragic history of a local family, feuding brothers and a fatal fire into a sweeping historical saga. Her characters clamour for a voice as the tale spools effortlessly onto the page—demanding to be told. Dee feels more like its instrument than its instigator.

As she becomes enmeshed in the local community, Dee is startled to find her fiction unnervingly confirmed by fact, her history still resonating in the present-day.

Is she being guided by echoes of the past?

My Review

Dee is a successful author, but her personal life is in tatters. In the first three chapters, she tells us of her success with her fourth novel which became a screenplay and the relationship she began with Ivor Kash, one of the film’s actors. But since then, his career has gone downhill and Dee is paying the rent and supporting him. She suspects he is being unfaithful as he travels to a new opportunity leaving her with Bob, a dog he seems to have acquired from a stranger.

It is time for a new start. She gives in notice on her London flat, puts Bob and her possessions into her car and sets off. With no plan, she continues driving further north then westward towards the coast. The roads become ever narrower and in the early hours she reaches Journey’s End on a quiet estuary. Next morning exploring the graveyard she encounters local vicar, Marjorie and her daughter, Olivia. They give her food and a bed to sleep on and then suggest a cottage she can rent for the off-season winter period. But having taken Winter Cottage unseen, it is a shock to find its remote setting on marshland with only one helpful but decidedly prickly neighbour, Jamie.

As Dee tells us, she begins a new novel, “my version of a story of others, taking bones gathered,” from the conversations of the villagers. In the words of Dee’s book, we are taken back to the 20th century to the Forrester brothers who followed in their father’s footsteps acquiring more and more farms and land with hatred and unkindness, replacing the Winter family, squires of old. She identifies with the long-suffering wives and mothers of the Forrester family and feels compelled to give them a voice.

With much loved, spaniel, Bob by her side, Dee explores the sand dunes and the treacherous tides, and she is entranced by the Trysting Tree hidden in a glade which features both in her own tale and in the novel she is writing. Neighbour, Jamie, at first so unapproachable, reveals his love of books and they begin a friendship, but mysterious noises from his house confuse her. Meanwhile another man comes into her life. Hugh is a handsome mystery who brings romance into her life, then disappears.

This intriguing book gives the reader two stories, one of mid-20th century struggle for power and ownership, love and betrayal and the other a contemporary story of family estrangement, forgiveness and acceptance. And the beautiful, wild setting of the Cumbrian coastline enhance it perfectly.

The Cottage on Winter Moss on Amazon UK

My review of The Lady in The Veil by Allie Cresswell


Published by lizannelloyd

Love history, reading, researching and writing. Articles published in My Family History and other genealogy magazines.

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