Spring House – Book Review

Title:- Spring House

Author:- Mary Ellen Taylor

No. of pages:- 363 pages

Date published:- July 19th 2019

Genre:- Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

Rating:- 4/5 stars

The lives of two women, generations apart, converge in this enthralling novel of love, mystery, memories, and secrets.

Pregnant and still grieving the death of her fiancé historian Megan Buchanan is forging ahead on a dream project: to restore to its original glory the landmark hunting lodge her own great-great-grandfather built on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. With the help of her fiancé’s caring best friend, it’s sure to draw much-needed tourist revenue to Cape Hudson, a town rich in southern history.

However, it’s Spring House, the caretaker’s cottage on the grounds, that holds the most intriguing history for Megan. In a cache of old letters, she’s drawn into the captivating life of a young woman who embarked on her own dream adventure a century ago. With each one, Megan is swept away into her enthralling world—and all its secrets. But Megan has secrets too.

Now, as one woman’s past unfolds in each revealing letter, Megan will discover more about herself and about the emotional tides of family that can be weathered with those you love and trust the most.

This is a story of two women–Megan who is pregnant with her fiance’s child in the present day and a descendent of Buchanans and Diane back in the 1900’s who move to France after their mother died. The story switches back and forth to past and present with the bundles of letters written by a man named Samuel Jessup, who supposed to be her fiance’s grandfather. Secrets about the family was unrevealed including Megan’s secrets.

Initially, maybe it was just me, I was slightly bored with the book that I kind of stopped reading this book for a while. But soon, at the middle of the book, it got interesting and I really like reading Diane’s part in the story. I started enjoying the story and I had to agree with the raving reviews given to this book–it was emotional and the author has done a tremendous job of drawing the reader to the story. But the family tree, the connections and the bit of history was confusing to me, which might be the main reason why I got bored with the story. Probably because this is actually a sequel to the Winter Cottage so maybe that’s why I was confused slightly about this whole family tree. Overall, the ending was really good and I am actually looking forward to read more of her books.

Overall, if you like to read a family saga that changes back and forth in the timelines and with family drama, then this book is one for you–worth four stars!

A southerner by birth, Mary Ellen Taylor’s love of her home state, Virginia, and its past is evident in her contemporary women’s fiction, from her first The Union Street Bakery, set in Alexandria, to her latest, Spring House, which takes place on the state’s Eastern Shore. In Spring Cottage and prior novels, Mary Ellen’s protagonists search for their place in the world. They explore issues of family, home and belonging, and their stories entwine with those of the locales in which they unfold, encompassing mysteries past and present.

Richmond born, Mary Ellen has lived there most of her life. She grew up in a family that appreciates stories of all kinds, from a well-told anecdote to a good yarn or a tall tale. Perhaps it was inevitable that she would embrace her storytelling heritage, walk away from her marketing job and challenge herself to become a published author.

“I realized early on the tremendous power stories have to inspire laughter, love, sorrow and even fear. It didn’t matter if they were found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a campfire, or shared at an old-fashioned family reunion. Stories create connections, and I knew that was what I wanted to do,” says Mary Ellen.

Alongside writing, cooking and baking are important creative outlets for Mary Ellen, who’s been known to name recipes in honor of her characters. Just a few years ago, she earned her Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate at the University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts Program. “In some ways, I liken baking to my efforts as a writer. You need to learn the basic tools of the trade before you can push the limits and create a distinctive sweet dessert or savory novel.”

Her two passions —writing and baking—merged for the first time in The Union Street Bakery. Since then, she’s shared favorite recipes, connected to her books Sweet Expectations, At the Corner of King Street, The View from Prince Street, Winter Cottage and Spring House.

Mary Ellen is also known nationally as New York Times and USA Today bestselling suspense novelist Mary Burton. Together, they have published thirty-eight novels, with Mary Burton’s latest, I See You, debuting October 2019.

When not traveling or holed up writing, Mary Ellen spends time with her husband enjoying their empty nest and spoiling their miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella and Tiki.

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