The Forgotten Cottage [Book Review]

The Forgotten Cottage by Courtney Ellis

(Purchase Information Here)
August 9, 2022

The Forgotten Cottage by Courtney Ellis (cover) Image: a young woman carries a small suitcase and walks down a country lane bordered by stone towards a cottage

The Forgotten Cottage: Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Family Saga, Women’s Fiction, WW1, England and France

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My Summary of The Forgotten Cottage:

Thank you #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e ARC of #TheForgottenCottage upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In The Forgotten Cottage, dual timelines (1914 and 2019) follow two young women (a great-granddaughter and great-grandmother) who work as nurses and find their way in life and love. Emilie (1914) leaves home to find independence from her life of privilege and expectations (such as whom she will marry) and joins the VAD (Voluntary Aide Detachment) on the Western Front. Audrey (2019) leaves home (in America) to reevaluate her life after she loses her nursing privileges due to her alcohol use. Upon her grandmother’s death, she Inherits a home in England. This offers Audrey the perfect excuse for a time away and space to grieve. Expecting something grander in North Yorkshire, she discovers she’s inherited a run-down cottage. As she works to uncover her grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s secrets, the locals help her fix up the cottage.

My Thoughts About The Forgotten Cottage:

A Common Histfic Trope: It seems that a grandmother’s secret that a granddaughter must discover is quite popular in recent historical fiction. Even though a tried and true trope, it works well in this story. From page one, I was invested in the mystery and the connections that would be made.

Dual Timelines: Truly, I enjoyed both storylines in The Forgotten Cottage, was curious about how they would converge, and felt invested in both main characters. If I had to choose a favorite timeline, I think the present-day timeline was most engaging for me. Although the past timeline provides interesting details about nursing during WW1.

Well-Drawn Characters: Emilie and Audrey are both independent and ambitious in their search for a meaningful life. In different ways, both are looking for an escape. Emilie rebels against societal expectations in England during 1914, rejects her marriage to her childhood friend, wants more meaning in her life, and escapes to London to begin nurses training to aid in the war effort.  In 2019, Audrey lives in America and is a nurse, but she is on probation because of problems with alcohol abuse. She is grieving the loss of her 100-year-old grandmother, and upon hearing the news that her grandmother has left her a cottage in North Yorkshire, Audrey seizes this opportunity to escape/reevaluate her work situation and find out more about her grandmother. Both Emilie and Audrey face challenges and complications, but the author infuses the story with hope.

Vivid Details: Throughout my reading experience, I appreciated the author’s vivid descriptive details of WW1 and life at the time, the abandoned and rundown stone cottage, and the small remote village and its colorful characters.

Themes: Poignant and compelling themes in this engaging story include friendship, loyalty, family dynamics, sacrifice, taking a risk, starting over, second chances, grief, and romance.

Recommended: I wholeheartedly recommend The Forgotten Cottage for fans of engaging, dual timeline histfic with gentle sides of mystery and romance, for readers who love the WW1 subgenre, for those who appreciate reading stories featuring strong and independent women, and for book clubs.

A Story Related to The Forgotten Cottage: Another story you might enjoy about WW1 is The Last Christmas in Paris.

My Rating:  4.5 Stars

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The Forgotten Cottage by Courtney Ellis (cover) image: a young woman holding a small suitcase walks on a stone-lined path toward a small country cottage

More Information Here

Meet the Author of The Forgotten Cottage, Courtney Ellis

Author Courtney Ellis

Courtney Ellis began writing at a young age, and developed an interest in history from her grandfather’s stories of World War II. After obtaining her BA in English and Creative Writing, she went on to pursue a career in publishing. She lives in Western New York with her rescue dog.

Connect with Courtney online at @CellisWriter on Twitter, and courtneyellisauthor on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest​.


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  1. I like a good historical book every once in a while. And you’re right there are a lot of grandmother/granddaughter books out these days.

  2. Excellent review, Carol. I had not heard of this book before, but it is full of things I enjoy. I do like dual timelines, secrets and discovery. The cottage element and villagers helping also calls to me. Thanks, I will see if I can find this one.

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