Cottage by the Sea

A Novel

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About The Book

From bestselling and award-winning author Robin Jones Gunn—a poignant novel about a woman who must care for her ill and elderly father, hoping to mend both his health and their relationship.

A daughter’s gift of time, a father’s silent wish.

Erin Bryce and her best friend, Sharlene, count the day they start their wedding planning business as a very happy day. So much so that they name their company The Happiest Day to reflect the fulfillment of their long-held dream as well as their clients’ longing for a wedding celebration to match the exhilaration of being in love. As a bonus, the two women utilize their business to help Erin’s son Jordan and his fiancée, Sierra, plan a grand wedding.

But the two friends aren’t prepared for the cloud moving in to cover the sunny, successful start of their business. Erin’s father, who lives in a small coastal Oregon community with his brusque, downright odd second wife, Delores, develops a medical problem that puts him in the hospital. Erin responds by rushing from Southern California to her father’s—and oh, yeah, Delores’s—cottage by the sea.

What greets Erin when she arrives sends her tumbling down a bewildering path to a different kind of happiest day. Her journey tosses her through highs and lows of hurt and healing, betrayal and renewal, wrong assumptions righted, and the brightest future one could ever hope for. All just around the corner, at the cottage by the sea.

Excerpt

Cottage by the Sea
2



May God grant you many years to live,

For sure he must be knowing.

The earth has angels all too few,

And heaven is overflowing.

Erin caught her breath. “What happened, Delores? Is he okay?”

“Here. He wants to talk to you. Jack? It’s Erin. She wants to talk to you.”

“Hello?”

The familiar voice filled Erin’s ear, sounding the same as always—a little gruff, a little sad. Erin released the air in her tightened chest. “Hey, Dad. Hi. How are you? Are you okay?”

“Fine. Fine, fine. How are you?” His words came out abrupt but with a slight slur.

“I’m good. But what about you? Delores said you had a stroke. Are you feeling better?”

“Yes!” He yelled into the phone so loud that Erin jumped.

“Okay. Well, that’s good. Can you tell me what happened?”

“It . . . I’m . . . it . . . the . . . aaa . . .”

“Dad?”

No reply.

“Dad?”

“What?” He shouted his response, and that frightened her even more.

“Dad, are you sure you’re okay? You’re not making sense.”

“Fine. Fine.”

“Dad, let me talk to Delores.”

“Why?”

“I want to ask her a few things.”

“You hate her!”

Erin blinked and tried to form a sentence. She knew in her gut that something was really wrong. Her father had always been direct, but in the year and a half since he had married Delores, none of them had spoken the raw truth about how Erin and Delores viewed each other.

Erin tried to control her tone, but her voice wobbled. “No, Dad, I don’t hate Delores. I just need to talk to her for a minute.”

Sharlene stepped closer and placed her hand on Erin’s arm in a gesture of concern. Sharlene was the only friend to whom Erin had confided her feelings about her seventy-year-old father marrying a fifty-three-year-old woman he had known for only two months. To everyone other than Sharlene and Mike, Erin had defended her father’s decision, saying that perhaps Delores was just the person to bring back the sparkle that had faded from his baby blues since Erin’s mother had died.

Erin didn’t have the chance to watch for that returning sparkle because only a few days after her father surprised them all with the announcement that he had gotten married, he made a second stunning announcement. He and Delores were moving to a seaside cottage in a small coastal town in Oregon. Erin hadn’t seen her father since his abrupt move eighteen months ago and had talked to him only a handful of times.

“Erin? You wanted to talk to me?” Delores’s voice sounded as gruff as her father’s had.

“What are the doctors telling you? Is he okay? He doesn’t sound coherent.”

“He hasn’t seen a doctor yet. They’re backed up at the clinic. I told the admitting nurse that I think he’s had a stroke.”

“You’re at a clinic?”

“Jack wanted to come here. It’s a twenty-four-hour emergency clinic.”

Erin rubbed the back of her neck and paced the small space between the door into the kitchen and her car. “Delores, don’t you think he should be looked at by a doctor at a hospital and not just at a clinic?”

“That’s not what your father wants.” Delores’s words were firm. “He told me to bring him here.”

“But, Delores, he doesn’t seem to be communicating clearly. It sounds like he needs to be seen by a doctor at an emergency room.”

“I wasn’t calling to get your advice, Erin. I called because your father wanted to talk to you.”

Erin reeled at Delores’s snappy response. It took Erin only a moment to reply with equal verve. “He needs to get to a hospital. You need to take him to the hospital now.”

“He doesn’t want to go to a hospital, do you, Jack?”

Erin couldn’t hear any reply from her father in the background. Her heart was pounding wildly. “Delores?” Erin paused. What she was about to say made her feel sick to her stomach. “I’m coming up there.”

“Why would you do that? There’s no need for you to come.”

“I think there is a need. I’ll come as soon as I can. Please tell my dad that I’m coming to see him.”

Delores didn’t reply.

“Delores?”

“You don’t need to come, Erin. Are you trying to pressure me to take him to the hospital? Is that it? Is that why you think you need to come? Because I’m telling you right now the doctor at the hospital will say the same thing the doctor here is going to say. Your father has had a stroke, and he needs to go home and rest.”

Erin wanted to scream. She switched the phone to her other ear and with firm, authoritative words she said, “Delores, please take my father to the hospital. Now.”

Delores paused. “All right. Fine. I’m telling you now, it’s not going to make any difference. There’s nothing they can do for him.”

“Please call me as soon as you have any news from the hospital. You have my cell phone number, don’t you?”

“I have no idea.”

Erin gave Delores her cell number as well as Mike’s cell and asked her again to please call as soon as they had any further information.

When Erin hung up, her hands were shaking. Sharlene stood close by and asked, “You okay?”

“How can that woman be so uncaring? I don’t understand. My father sounded completely off balance, Shar. He is not okay.” Erin felt tears pool in her eyes. “I told her I was going up there. I don’t know what to do.”

Sharlene stretched her arm around Erin’s middle and gave her a comforting hug. “Why don’t you call Mike and let him know what’s going on? I’ll go to meet with our client. If you need to be with your dad, then that’s what you should do. I can take care of everything here. Don’t worry about any of the business details. Your dad is your priority right now.”

A surge of anger replaced the stunned concern Erin had felt during the call. She narrowed her eyes and felt her jaw clench. “I just don’t understand why she didn’t take him to the hospital right away. He never should have left Irvine. This is his home. If this had happened while he was here, he would be in much better shape right now.”

“Your father is a strong man,” Sharlene said. “If anyone can pull through this, he can.”

“You’re right, he is a strong man. Strong and determined. My father left Ireland when he was seventeen years old and put himself through college. He was the first teacher in the Irvine school district. Did I ever tell you that? This whole area was nothing but bean fields and strawberry fields when he and my mom moved here. The Irvine Ranch had one tiny school for all the farmworkers’ children, and my father was their teacher.”

“I never knew that.” Sharlene held open the kitchen door.

Erin walked back inside, her thoughts racing furiously. “My father taught for the Irvine school district for forty-seven years. Do you know anyone anywhere who has done that? Been a teacher for forty-seven years? And when he retired, there was nothing. No thank-you. No letter of appreciation. And look at Irvine now. Half a century after the bean fields, it’s nothing but rows of houses as far as you can see.”

Erin stopped by the kitchen counter. She felt her face burning as a molten topic overflowed from her erupting heart. “When my father left Irvine, he told me that after my mom died, there was nothing here for him anymore.” A tumble of tears choked her words. “Nothing here for him. Nothing at all. That’s what he said.”

Erin lowered her voice and added the final, painful truth. “But the thing is, I’m still here. And I’m not nothing.”

She let the tears fall. There it was: the soul wound that hadn’t healed in the eighteen months since his departure. Her father chose to marry a woman who was nothing like Erin’s mom, and then he moved a thousand miles away, preferring Delores’s company over the familiarity and proximity of Mike and Erin.

Sharlene reached for a paper towel next to the kitchen sink and offered it to Erin for her tumble of tears.

“I can’t believe I’m saying all this.”

“It’s okay. It’s better to get it all out now.”

“Shar, we promised we would take care of him. Mike and I promised that to my mother. So how are we supposed to do that when he’s so far away and his wife won’t even take him to the hospital?” Erin dabbed away her tears with a rounded edge of the rough paper towel and answered her own question. “I guess this is how we do it. I get on an airplane and go to him in Oregon.”

“You’re right. That’s what you should do.”

Erin blew her nose and drew in a wobbly breath. Gathering her thoughts, she said, “I need to call Mike.”

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Sharlene asked.

“I will be. Are you okay with meeting our client at Café Kate?”

“Yes, of course.” Sharlene gave Erin a side hug. “Call me if you need anything. I’ll be back in a little while.”

Over the next few hours Erin managed to book a four o’clock flight, pack a bag, and leave her supportive husband a love note on his bedroom pillow. Mike had immediately agreed with her assessment when she had called him. Even if her father was okay, which Mike said he doubted, he thought Erin should be there to help to decide if further steps needed to be taken.

Sharlene returned with a great report of her meeting with their first client and offered to drive Erin to the airport so Mike wouldn’t have to leave work to take her. By two thirty Sharlene and Erin were headed for John Wayne Airport. A light rain splattered against the windshield.

“Did you pack warm clothes?”

“Yes. I’m sure I overpacked. I don’t know how long I’ll be there. I hope only a few days. Call me if you need anything, anything at all.”

“I will. But don’t worry. I’m sure everything will be fine here.”

“This is the worst possible time for this to happen.”

“I know.”

Even though Erin understood that her reasoning was out of whack, she felt angry that the long-awaited day of the opening of their business had been hijacked by this emergency. She hated that she was thinking such a thing. It wasn’t her dad’s fault. Yet as much as she tried to adjust her feelings, her attempts to summon up gracious thoughts weren’t working. The anger she felt lingered through the check-in process and through security. She headed to her boarding gate with jaw-set determination.

Just as Erin’s flight boarded, her cell phone rang. It was Delores. She sounded much more amiable than she had that morning.

“We’re still at the hospital. You wanted me to call you as soon as I had an update. They ran some tests. Your father had an ischemic stroke.”

Erin wasn’t sure what that meant.

“The doctor said this could be an isolated incident or a prelude to more of the same. They weren’t able to see any more blood clots, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t hiding. The doctor did tell me that the best time to run the test is within three hours after the first symptom appears. He said it was good that we came in when we did. You were right about that, Erin.”

Delores’s small accolade acted like a tiny pin that poked a hole in the inflated anger Erin had been carrying with her. She could feel the fury dissipate with a hiss. “How is he feeling?”

“Better. He said he’s better and not to worry about him.”

“Delores, did you get my message? I called earlier and . . .”

“Yes, I listened to your message.”

“So you know that I’m coming up there.”

“Yes.”

“I’ll rent a car, and I made reservations at a hotel near the hospital.”

“You can cancel the hotel. Just stay at our place.”

“Are you sure?” Erin tried to evaluate Delores’s spurt of hospitality.

“Of course you can stay with us. Unless you would rather not.”

“No, that’s fine. Thanks for the invitation. Did they give you an idea of how long my dad would stay at the hospital?”

“The doctor is sending Jack home now. He put him on blood thinner and told him to go home and get some rest. I have a list of symptoms to watch for. Bad headaches, shortness of breath—”

“Delores, sorry to interrupt you, but my flight is boarding.”

“Do you know how to get to our place?”

“Yes, I’ve got it.”

“I’ll leave the floodlight on above the garage, so that should help you find us. Just remember it’s a gravel road from the highway to our place, so slow down as soon as you make the turn.”

“Okay. I’ll see you later tonight.” Erin found her seat, stowed her carry-on, and closed her eyes, hoping her seat companion wasn’t in a chatty mood.

She couldn’t quite figure out what to make of Delores’s responses. Was it fear that had made Delores so abrupt and aggressive in her earlier phone call? The news about Erin’s dad wasn’t good. He had experienced a stroke. But maybe all he needed was the medications the doctor had started him on. Maybe that would be enough to resolve the problems he had encountered.

Erin wondered if she had been too hasty in deciding to go to Oregon. No one had asked her to come. There wasn’t anything she could do. She really needed to be home, working with Sharlene.

The slow-burning, teeth-clenching anger she had felt earlier returned and seemed to be sitting on her lap in the narrow airplane seat. Earlier all the anger was focused on Delores and her father for marrying Delores and moving so far away. This time she didn’t know who to be mad at. Delores was as much at the mercy of her father’s condition as Erin was. She knew her father had the right to choose to live his life the way he wanted, and if he chose to marry Delores and move to Oregon, that was his decision. Erin shouldn’t disapprove of his behavior when what he wanted was to live his life this way. When it came to her anger over his having a stroke, Erin knew he obviously had no control over the rogue blood clots that had made their way to his brain stem.

Why am I so angry?

For a moment, Erin wanted to blame Mike for her angst. He could have talked her out of going. He could have told her to wait for the medical update. But he didn’t. He urged her to go right away.

In the end, Erin chose to blame herself. She was the one who had given way to her emotions. She had taken on the role of mother. Now that her own mother was gone, more than once Erin had fallen into trying to fix everything for everybody. She couldn’t fix this, not a stroke.

As the plane lifted off the runway, Erin remembered something her mother had written in her journal.

 

It’s not always about what I think it’s about. The older I get, the more convinced I am that God has a hidden objective tucked into every disagreeable situation I encounter. If only I would collect those sparkling gems of truth while I’m in the midst of each difficult relationship or experience, I’d leave this earth a wise and spiritually wealthy woman.

Erin reclined her seat. She felt lighter. That was often the way she felt when she drew a cool sip from the fount of her mother’s journals. The words her mother left behind were words from her heart, and they still touched Erin deeply.

Faith O’Riley had indeed left this earth a wise and spiritually wealthy woman. Erin could only hope the same would be said of her. Oh, how she wished her mother were here now.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Cottage by the Sea includes discussion questions and a Q&A with author Robin Jones Gunn. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Discussion Questions

1. A theme throughout the book was the idea of hidden things. What were some things you noticed that were hidden in the beginning of the story and then later revealed? How did those revelations change Erin and the other characters in the story?

2. Looking at each of the key women in this story, what three or four words would you use to describe her life: Erin? Sharlene? Delores? Sierra? Which woman can you most relate to at this point in your journey?

3. How did Erin’s heart toward her father change throughout the book? What do you think led to that growth? Do you think her father’s heart changed? How?

4. Both Erin and Tony received words of healing from their dad. What did he say that impacted them so much? What is the one thing you wish you could hear from your father? Your mother? What is the one thing you would like to say to them? What is the one thing you would like to say to your children? If it is still possible, would you be willing to tell them?

5. Throughout the book Erin’s stress was evidenced by the way she was torn in two directions: caring for her father and investing in her new business venture with Sharlene. Have you ever had a season of life where you felt torn in two directions? What was pulling you, and what was the end result? What and who helped you to make it through that time in life?

6. Looking at the key men in the story, can you describe how each of them changed/grew as the story unfolded: Mike? Jack? Tony? Jordan?

7. How did the “cottage by the sea” tie into the story’s development? How did Jack and Delores describe the cottage before they renovated? In what ways did the cottage’s transformation parallel Erin’s?

8. What role did Erin’s mother play in this story? What older woman has shaped your life? How?

9. “There are no shortcuts in committed love. This is your path. No matter how long or lonely it may be right now, to experience the fullness of love, you must go the distance. Only the strongest and bravest stay on the path. And you, my darling girl, have been given everything you need to be among the strongest and bravest.”

Erin’s mother gave her this advice at a crucial time in life. What thoughts come to mind as you read it? What do you think she means when she says that Erin has been given everything she needs?

10. “It’s not always about what I think it’s about. The older I get, the more convinced I am that God has a hidden objective tucked into every disagreeable situation I encounter. If only I would collect those sparkling gems of truth while I’m in the midst of each difficult relationship or experience, I’d leave this earth a wise and spiritually wealthy woman.”

What were the hidden objectives the Lord had in store for Erin through this story? Looking at this season of your life, what do you think is the hidden objective that God has tucked away for you to glean?


A Conversation with Robin Jones Gunn

1. On several occasions in the story Erin had a perfect scripture or blessing to apply to what is going on in her life, such as when she reads Psalm 90:17 to mark the first day of business for The Happiest Day. How does your own personal faith influence your everyday life? Do you have a favorite passage of scripture?

I am continually seeing God’s hand at work in everyday situations and I’m always amazed at how his care for us is so deliberate. My faith grows every time I trust God in a new situation and see how he works out all the details. My grandmother kept several journals where she wrote favorite verses and sayings. I inherited those wee books and have learned a lot from what she jotted down. I keep a journal as well and frequently add a new passage of scripture or a memorable moment.

Psalm 139 is my favorite chapter in the Bible and has been since I was in high school. Over the past few years Acts 20:24 has meant a lot to me. “But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the LORD Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.”

This is exactly what I long to do with every book I write—to tell others about God’s wonderful kindness and love because there is so much to tell!

2. Cottage by the Sea is a novel built on the intricacies of family relationships and friendships. How have your experiences influenced the way that you create these fictional relationships?

This story draws from what I went through emotionally when my father had a stroke more than fifteen years ago and how he was partially paralyzed and unable to speak. He found ways to express that he loved us and those memories are still vivid and powerful. The stroke brought his emotional responses to the surface and that caused him to be more expressive than he’d ever been. A lot of healing took place during those last five and a half years of his life. My mom cared for him at home in California the entire time and she did an excellent job. This story needed more conflict than what my real-life experience had been. So when I overheard a woman on a long flight talking about her difficult stepmother situation I knew I had the imaginary tangle I was looking for and created the character of Delores.

3. On your website, you say that teenagers at your church first challenged you to try writing fiction. How has your role as a mentor to other young women influenced the way you live your life? How has it influenced your career?

The girls in our youth group were reading books that were way too evocative for their thirteen-year-old hearts. I tried to find other books that would be more nurturing and they suggested I write a story for them. They’d even tell me what to write. That first Christy Miller novel took two years to write and received ten rejections. Each week the girls in the youth group critiqued my chapters and often told me they wanted better role models than the characters in the stories they were reading. They wanted to be shown how to make good choices. They wanted the main character to be a girl they would want to be friends with in real life. It all worked because I learned how to write through the mentoring of those teen girls and now, twenty-five years later, those books are still in print and are mentoring young readers around the world.

I’ve had a very God-blessed life. So many young women have not. I love having the opportunity to speak truth to young hearts and affirm who they are and how God has dreams for their lives that are beyond any sort of dream they could imagine.

Along with our own daughter, who is now twenty-five and recently married, there has been a stream of young women who have lived with us or spent a lot of time in our home throughout our thirty-five years of marriage. The influence of these women has profoundly impacted what I write about, how the characters develop in the story, and even the outcome of the books. I know from all the reader mail I receive that the stories I write influence women of all ages. What the readers don’t know is how much the women in my small circles have inspired and motivated me as I’ve been busy crafting a new tale. I do believe that the mentoring influence women have with other women is life-giving and essential. This overall theme of friendships between women is what I wrote about in the eight Sisterchicks novels.

4. You have often said that you love traveling. How have your worldwide travels inspired your writing? Where would you like to go next?

God made such an amazing world with such fascinating people. I’d love to see it all!

In Under a Maui Moon I drew from many of the experiences we’ve had on Maui and the deep love I have for Hawaii. Canary Island Song is set in the Canary Islands, an exotic locale I’ve visited three times and would love to visit again. The flamenco lessons, camel rides, and fabulous foods I was introduced to there all became part of the novel.

While I was writing the Sisterchicks novels the publisher asked for them to be set in places like Paris, Venice, and Australia. I was given a travel budget so I could visit each locale before writing about it. Talk about a writer’s dream come true!

I’m on the board of directors for Media Associates International, an international organization that provides training for writers and publishers in difficult places around the world. As a result of that position I’ve taught workshops in Brazil, Kenya, England, and Bulgaria. Every place I’ve visited has ended up in a book somehow. Interacting with so many people in various cultures has given me valuable insights into human nature and given me deeper understanding of political and social complexities. 
 
5. Erin makes a lot of sacrifices to be with her father during his last months. How have you made sacrifices for your loved ones? Looking back, would you make the same decisions knowing what you know today?

Nothing heroic. Over the years I have made sacrifices for my loved ones and my loved ones have made sacrifices for me. But nothing to the extent of what Erin gave up in the story. I would make all the same decisions again knowing what I know today. However, I would hope that I would be less fearful of what the outcome was going to be and less fretful about trying to recoup time, energy, or resources that were given up or given away. God always seems to faithfully return a double portion of all that we give if we do it with pure motives and out of genuine love for the other person.

6. Although the primary audience for Cottage by the Sea is adult readers, it could be an appropriate story for younger readers as well. As you are writing, do you picture your audience?

I agree that readers of all ages will be able to relate to this story. Readers who have followed me for a while will undoubtedly be eager to have a peek at Jordan and Sierra’s wedding since this is the same Sierra as in all the Sierra Jensen books. The story of how Jordan and Sierra met is in Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii.

It has gotten easier to picture my audience with all the photos viewable when readers contact me on my Robin Jones Gunn Facebook page or via Twitter at Robin Gunn. When I first started writing I had a bulletin board in my office and whenever I received a photo from a reader I added it to the board. I soon had a gorgeous collage of expectant faces looking down on me as

I typed my little heart out. Images and comments from readers are ever in the forefront of my thoughts as I write.

7. Between your work with your church, keeping up with your family, your tour schedule, and your writing, how do you find time for yourself?

My agent and I have worked together for twenty-five years. She was here visiting me last year and the two of us took some time away from our meetings to go to the beach, nestle our feet in the sand, and just sit together in great contentment and listen to the ocean as the sun set. “How often do you do this?” she asked. My answer was, “Counting this time? Twice.” She gave me one of her best agent looks and said, “That’s going to change.” And it has.

She and I also made ourselves promise that just like the women in Canary Island Song we would show ourselves a kindness once a month. I’ve done things I’d never allowed my busy little self to do before, such as getting a facial and going to the movies in the middle of a perfectly good workday. My friend Jill calls this “mental health improvement” moments.

It makes me think of how Jesus told his disciples to “come apart and rest a while.” My husband is a counselor and he reminds me every now and then that if we don’t “come apart” we may soon find our lives are about to “come apart.” The interesting thing to me is that I love what I do. All of it. Writing, speaking, traveling, and entertaining in our home. That makes it even more essential to learn how to set an internal timer that goes off and says, “Stop what you’re doing and go put your feet in the sand and just listen.”

8. On your website (robingunn.com), you write that you never “set out to be a writer,” but at this point in your life, with more than seventy-five books published, is there anything else that you could see yourself doing with your life if you weren’t a writer?

No.

Well, maybe. I love to speak to women’s groups and to groups of teen girls. I’ve been doing more of that lately so maybe that’s part of what’s next. I send out a Robin’s Nest Newsletter and give updates of new book releases and speaking event locations. The sign-up link is on my website and my Facebook page.

9. What is your favorite part about living in Hawaii?

I love the mornings. I love watching the sunrise and listening to the doves when they give their canticle of praise through the open bedroom windows at first light. My favorite time to go swimming is before 7:00 a.m. I walk down to the water, about a mile away, and stride directly into the ocean without pausing. It makes me feel so alive. I bob and splash around for about half an hour, watching the fishermen and paddle boarders and joggers on the beach. Then I grab my towel and walk home, glistening as the salt drops dry on my arms.

I also love the people we hang out with. We have lots of kindred spirits in our church community.

10. What are you working on now?

I just finished the fourth book in the Katie Weldon series. It’s titled Finally and Forever and is set in Kenya. The whole time I was writing that story I felt as if I were vividly reliving all the experiences I had in Nairobi three years ago. My desk was covered with photos and excerpts from my journal. When I turned the book in I literally felt as if I had been to Africa and back.

What’s next? Good stuff! I’ll be revealing details when I can in the upcoming Robin’s Nest Newsletters, so please sign up, dear readers! Flit on over to www.robingunn.com or go to my Facebook page, Robin Jones Gunn, public figure.

And one more thought. For any of you who are in a situation like Erin in this story and are giving and giving at a great sacrifice to yourself, your family, or perhaps your career, keep doing what you’re doing with an uncluttered heart. Give generously and with much love. God will give back to you even more. And make sure you take time to “come apart” and show yourself a kindness so that you can rest a while and be renewed.

Aloha, Robin

About The Author

Photograph by David Hessemer

Robin Jones Gunn is the much-loved author of seventy titles that have sold more than four million copies worldwide. Her popular Christy Miller series and Sisterchicks® novels have won a number of awards, including three Christy Awards for excellence in fiction, and a Gold Medallion Award finalist award. Robin's unique destination novels transport readers around the globe. To ensure that her tales of these extraordinary locations ring true, Robin has enjoyed the privilege of traveling to each location in order to experience the local culture. Her three visits to the Canary Islands provided bountiful research as she took flamenco dance lessons, rode a camel, and visited the chapel where Columbus prayed before departing on his famous journey. Robin and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawaii.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Howard Books (July 3, 2012)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416583455

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Raves and Reviews

"One of Gunn’s amazing talents is to describe the setting of her novel in such a way that it almost becomes a character in the tale. Readers will definitely want to visit the Oregon coast! The plot is incredibly relevant and truly shows how honoring one’s parents, even when they don’t seem to deserve it, is an excellent tenet to hold." —Romantic Times

– Romantic Times

“One of the lionesses of Christian fiction, at the peak of her prowess, pens her most ambitious—and personal—tale to date.” —Jerry B. Jenkins, bestselling author of The Left Behind Series, owner of Christian Writers Guild

– Jerry B. Jenkins, bestselling author of The Left Behind Series, owner of Christian Writers Guild

“Every once in a while, a novelist writes a book that transcends all her others—because this one isn't merely a good story, it's a story wrung from the novelist's heart, every line squeezed from personal tears, pain, and struggle. Cottage by the Sea is that kind of book for my friend Robin Jones Gunn. I know her heart, and I know you will grow and be blessed by reading this book, her novel-from-the-heart.” —Angela Hunt, author of Five Miles South of Peculiar

– Angela Hunt, author of Five Miles South of Peculiar

“Robin writes with an honesty, heart, and skill that draws you deep into the center of her character's lives. Cottage by the Sea is some of the best work by one of our best writers.” —Bill Myers, author of The God Hater

– Bill Myers, author of The God Hater

“Cottage by the Sea is a lyrical work of great joy, heartache, and triumph. Robin Gunn's writing has never been stronger. The characters are vividly drawn, the challenges they face achingly real. Highly recommended.” —Davis Bunn, bestselling author

– Davis Bunn, bestselling author

"In this tender story of letting go, Robin's words will minister to those with a hurting heart as emotional entrapments of guilt and unresolved issues are delicately detangled. You will smile through the tears and long to experience more of God's gentle grace in this Cottage by the Sea." —Margaret McSweeney, author of Aftermath: Finding Grace Through Grief

– Margaret McSweeney, author of Aftermath: Finding Grace Through Grief

“Cottage by the Sea made me feel right at home. As usual Robin Jones Gunn has shared a meaningful story that both encourages and enlightens—definitely a journey you won’t want to miss. I can still smell the salty air.” —Melody Carlson, award-winning author of River's Song and The Four Lindas

– Melody Carlson, award-winning author of River's Song and The Four Lindas

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