In Cottage by the Sea by Robin Jones Gunn, the main character, Erin Bryce, has had one dream: to start a wedding planning business. With her best friend, she creates “The Happiest Day” in honor of their clients’ longing for this unity. However, things take a sharp turn downward when Erin receives a call informing her of her father’s stroke. After her decision to take care of her father in his Oregon cottage, Erin is forced to reevaluate many areas of her life, as well as her definition of “the happiest day.”
Throughout this book, Gunn juxtaposes relationships to accent ideas of forgiveness, love, and the beginnings and ends of family ties. As a character, Erin gets a chance to do what many wish they had a chance to do: say goodbye. The pain that surrounds a dying loved one adds to the emotional strength of the book, and when Erin is forced to make a decision between staying with her dad or pursuing her dreams, Gunn brings a whole new level to Erin’s life verse, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10).
Overall, I would recommend this book. Gunn has created wonderful characters and a relatable plot, and she has painted it all into beautiful scenery in the cottage by the sea. My only criticism is that the book moved a little slowly in some points with excess back story, but for the most part, I was completely drawn into this book. – Ronni Meier, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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.