Title: Grief Cottage
Author: Gail Godwin
Publish Date: June 6, 2017 (Tomorrow!)
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "After his mother's
death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina
island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past.
Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined
cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she'd moved
there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life.
Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its
The islanders call it -Grief Cottage, -
because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane
fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has
stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours while Aunt Charlotte is
in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the
cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after
the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of
curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent
upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the
ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda."
My Two Cents:
"Grief Cottage" is the story of Marcus, a boy who loses his mother and has to go live with the only family he has left, his mother's Aunt Charlotte. Aunt Charlotte lives on a small island in South Carolina and makes a tidy living as an artist. Marcus is sure that she doesn't want him there, not really but just as Marcus finds comfort in his great aunt, his great aunt finds comfort in him being there.
The characters are what really make the book. Marcus and Charlotte are two very different characters. Marcus is a very typical child having to deal with very difficult (and luckily atypical things). He desperately misses his mother and her love. He can't imagine rebuilding a life without her but is forced to in South Carolina. Charlotte is a quiet renegade of sorts. Anything she needs to do for her small beach shack, she learns how to do herself. When her independence is taking away from her after an accident, she has to figure out how to let herself let others do things for her. We see her true colors then. She is a complicated character with a lot of hidden pain and secrets that unfold slowly throughout the book. I loved the way that the author was able to slowly peel back the layers of both Charlotte and Marcus. What is on the surface is not always the truth. Our two main characters are great but the supporting characters also really make the story!
The island itself almost becomes a character as does the house named "Grief Cottage." Marcus explores his new island home thoroughly. He becomes obsessed with the almost-ruins of an old house on the shore where the story goes that a vacationing family was lost during a hurricane. Even though many adults warn him that the house could collapse at any moment, Marcus is drawn to it. He starts imagining things about the house and thinks he might see someone there. The house plays a major role at the height of the story line and as to not give anything away, I won't say much about what happens.
This is a great book for those who like family sagas, hidden secrets, and light ghost stories! This is perfect summer reading to get lost in!