Cover Image: Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage

Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage

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Member Reviews

OH my....what are the secrets of Streamside Cottage?? The jacket cover gives a good description of the book so I won't delve into the book plot here or give a book report. The. characters are fully developed and their descriptions have you just imagining seeing what you're reading.  The description of Lizzie, the tattoo artist, is a fun punk style and leaving you to think she must have  looked like a 'fish out of water' in the quiet picturesque village in which she is visiting. You can almost guess what  secrets the cottage holds but the twists and turns along the way will hold your interest.  Good book, fun read. I have never read  this author before now,  but will definitely look forward to reading her other works. Read and enjoy.
I was provided an Advanced Reader Copy of the book but was under no obligation to write a review.  The opinions expressed are my own.
Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.
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Lizzie's life is turned upside down when she hears of the untimely death of her parents and she finds herself alone, confused and with questions to be answered in a cottage she didn't know about belonging to her parents with a town of people who all have secrets of their own. This was a wonderful story, I thought it was a romance which it is but it's more a family mystery, a coming of age tale of a young woman finding her own way in the world and finding answers to long hidden questions, some she didn't realise she had. I enjoyed the characters, they were all interesting and you got to now each throughout the book. I figured out most (but not all) of the twist fairly early but it didn't detract at all from the enjoyment of the book. The imagery was lovely and you felt a warm familiar sense of the cottage and the village. A lovely easy to read page turner, would recommend and would like to read more from this author. Thank you for the opportunity to was this arc.
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Took a while to get into this book but I know that Samantha is a very well written author and I always enjoy her novels.. I really enjoyed reading this and it has a great storyline that keeps you guessing until  close to the end of the book but it is well worth the wait. I highly recommend this, very well written lovely novel. I am giving this 5 stars and wish could be more.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this ARC
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My thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Well what a read this was.  I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful read that just kept giving as you read each page.  Told from various different timeframes as flashbacks as the story is revealed to us.  You do need to be a fan of stories told in such ways to get the most out of this story and I do realise that this format isn't to everyone's reading taste.

What a delightful cover this book has it draws the reader in to the story contained between the covers, as if we had just stepped inside the cottage through the front door.  Perhaps, if we'd known what was awaiting us inside the cottage we might not have wanted to step inside quite as much.

As Lizzie's parents have both passed away, things about them and their past are being revealed to her, she decides to move to a cottage that she didn't know that they owned in a village called Leafton.  However, on moving there she feels a sense of deja vu in some ways.  Little does Lizzie know that this cottage is about to unleash repressed memories and family secrets from the past.  With the help of Ben a rather good looking neighbour, she goes on a journey of discovery as he helps her try to fit in with village life.

Samantha Tonge has a way of telling her stories to us, she draws us in to the lives of her characters and the reader becomes invested in them, wanting to know what has happened and what will happen to them as each page is read.  

Grab a copy of this story and immerse yourself in Lizzie's world for a few hours, as you are taken on a journey of discovery with her as she finds out about her past and the significance of the village called Leafton, that Streamside cottage is situated in as the cottage almost takes on it's own persona in the story.
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Favorite Quotes:

‘You’re talking to the person who a couple of years ago dabbled with online dating. I lied about my birth date to register. A woman asked me to send her a dirty picture.’ He covered his eyes with his hands. ‘I sent her a photo of me in my muddy cricket kit.’

I’ll buy us a big palace and they won’t have to work. We can eat all the chocolate we want and I’ll only wear clothes covered in glitter.

Have you never made a mistake? One you spent years wishing you could take back? Because if you haven’t already, believe me, it’s just a matter of time.

My Review:

I count sixteen books listed on Amazon for this crafty wordsmith and though I’d love to read them all, I’ve only gotten to four of those so far. While I have enjoyed each of those four, this one is definitely my favorite to date.  There was a perfect balance of wit, family drama, villainy, curiosity arousing mystery, tragedy, and a budding romance for a young woman at a major life crossroads while uncovering long-buried family secrets.  Ms. Tonge’s writing was smooth, lushly detailed, easy to fall into, and continuously engaging while shrewdly paced.  She relentlessly poked at my inquisitive nature and had me fit to burst before finally revealing the well-contained family secrets, and there were several unexpected yet quite cleverly plotted outcomes.  What a wily minx!
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The Blurb :
A new start can come from the most unexpected places...
It's been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren't.
After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it's time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were... starting with Streamside Cottage. A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she's never heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.
Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlour she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbour, Ben, steps in to help.
As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realises she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future. 

My Thoughts :
Always a big fan of Samantha Tonge’s work, so was pleased to see another new release.
We meet Lizzie Lockhart. Sadly Lizzie had not spoken to her parents for many years. 
when she learns of their passing in a swimming accident she wishes things were different and finds out not only secrets they kept from her but that they also owned Streamside Cottage in the small village of Leafton, which has been left to her Aunt Fiona. Lizzie knew nothing about the cottage and decides she should go and visit and see if she can learn anything more about her parents.
The neighbours are all very close there and it seems no one is willing to talk or tell her anything about her parents.
When Lizzie meets handsome postman Ben, she starts to feel at home and comfortable with him. She feels he can help her put some pieces together and maybe get some answers.
I loved watching their relationship develop throughout the story.
This was a delight to read, such a feel good, heart warming story. Lizzie was a delight to read about and she felt like a real friend. Lots of mystery, tragedy and new beginnings to be had.
Top writing again from Samantha Tonge and looking forward to her next book.
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Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage by Samantha Tonge is a page turner, filled with secrets, drama and romance.

Lizzie Lockhart, the main protagonist, is a tattoo artist living in London. Being an only child, she has led a sheltered life. Her parents have always been over-protective and caring. They have high expectations from her. But when Lizzie makes her own choices regarding her studies, and career; her parents do not take kindly to it, and it leads to them falling apart.

An estranged Lizzie is working really hard trying to establish herself. A visit from her aunt reveals shocking news; and Lizzie’s life takes a turn. Distraught and overcome with sadness, her work and creativity suffer. On the advice of her boss, she takes a break from work.

She moves in temporarily to her parents’ streamside cottage in Leafton–a cottage she was never aware of! In the countryside, away from the maddening city life, Lizzie discovers more secrets and unknown aspects of her life. And a shocking truth which her parents kept hidden from her all her life.

Leafton is a close-knit community, where people are friendly and forthcoming. But a few people avoid Lizzie when they find out her identity. Her charming and handsome neighbour Ben comes to her rescue. Together they get to work on the mysteries surrounding the cottage and Lizzie. As they fit in the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, Ben and Lizzie end up falling in love (no surprises there!)

The story flips between present and the past, but there’s no lack of connectivity. Tonge has done an exceptionally brilliant job as regards the plot, setting, and character portrayal. The village of Leafton comes to life with her narrative and I could visualize the shops, the stream, and the villagers.

Every chapter begins with little tidbits about tattoos, and these facts are in some manner connected to the chapter.

The secret when revealed is shocking and sad. Tonge builds up the suspense slowly, giving a few hints here and there; but there’s no way of guessing the end. Every time I felt, I knew where the story was heading; I found myself far away from the truth.

Relatable characters, beautiful setting, and a gripping storyline make Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage an enjoyable and satisfying read.
This is my first-time reading Samantha Tonge, and I look forward to reading more from her.

I received a free ARC eBook from NetGalley and the publisher Aria & Aries in exchange for my honest opinions.

(Rated 4.5/5)

Review also posted on my blog -
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Samantha Tonge’s Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage is a charming, heartwarming and absolutely lovely read that is perfect for cozying up with on a springtime afternoon.

Lizzie Lockhart does not exactly see eye to eye with her parents. They do not approve of the direction Lizzie wanted her life to go in and determined to forge her own path and be the one in charge of her choices and decisions, she had made the heart-breaking choice of cutting them out of her life. Lizzie always thought that she knew her parents and knew all of their secrets, so when she receives the devastating news that they have passed, she is stunned when it turns out that she didn’t know them as well as she had previously thought. If Lizzie is to unearth her family’s secrets than she has to start with Streamside Cottage, the cottage she never knew existed in a place she had never heard of: the quintessentially chocolate-box English village of Leafton.

Bucolic Leafton is far removed from the hustle and bustle of London and the tattoo parlour that she had called home for so long. However, moving to the countryside proves to be fraught with its own difficulties and challenges – including a tight-lipped community who do not exactly lay down the welcome mat for her. Poor Lizzie is at a complete loss. She doesn’t know what she is going to do or how she is going to settle in a place where nobody seems to want to know her, but will her charming and very handsome neighbour Ben step in to help her out and show her how to win the locals round and hopefully find the answers which she seeks about her family?

Will Lizzie find everything she is looking for in Leafton? Could this tiny village ever be a place she can call home? Or will moving here prove to be the worst mistake she has ever made?

Samantha Tonge’s Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage is another winner for this very talented writer. Samantha Tonge writes beautifully and sensitively about relationships and in Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage she effortlessly explores the complexities of family ties, the struggles and challenges of starting over and the joy of falling in love when you least expect it with a light touch that will keep readers glued to the book’s pages.

Lizzie and Ben are two absolutely wonderful characters and theirs is a poignant, witty and enchanting romantic read you will find an absolute chore to put down.

Samantha Tonge juggles warmth, wit and humour in a feel-good tale you are simply going to love: Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage.
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The central character of Lizzie Lockhart is a quirky, individual who certainly takes you with her through the story, as she unravels the mystery at the heart of Streamside Cottage. The outcome is a surprise but I enjoyed testing out a few theories along the way. Lizzie's childhood set her apart from many her own age and her parents' protective instincts seem to have gone into over-drive. Lizzie comes to understand some of their feelings. In fact. family is at the heart of the novel.

The cottage itself seems to be a character in its own right but Lizzie feels a link to it from the start. As she begins to rescue it from its neglect, she realises that there is a profound mystery hidden within its walls. Lizzie is such a warm character, who has forged for herself her own path, apart from others' expectations. I certainly found out quite a lot about the art of tattooing from the novel, which is an intrinsic part of Lizzie's life. There are some entertaining characters who you meet along the way, especially the rather furtive villagers who brave the cottage in search of her talent. With a gentle romance and a hopeful, starting over plot, this is an entertaining read, as expected from this talented writer.

In short: Secrets from the past have surprising results.
Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book
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A bit slow, and the secret finally revealed was fairly predictable and unlikely. I had a feeling the ending had been changed to make it more acceptable or less sad. An enjoyable enough read but lacking something for me.
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I am a huge fan of Samantha Tonge and so of course I jumped at the chance to read and review this book and I was definitely not disappointed.
I loved the main character, Lizzie, a tattoo artist and all her antics involving the wonderful Streamside Cottage.
This story was full of mystery and intrigue and of course romance!! I loved how the back story gradually emerges throughout the book.
This was unputdownable and I loved everything about it.
Well done Samantha, another brilliant read!!
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Thanks to netgalley for the chance to read this book.

When Lizzie receives news of her parents death she decides it’s time to find out exactly who her family were and the what’s secrets they kept from her. She moves to a cottage she never knew existed called Streamside that her parents owned and have left to her auntie.  When she moves to Streamside she starts having vivid dreams and discovers a past that she never knew existed.  

A brilliant easy summer read by Samantha that I couldn’t put down.
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Not quite a romance, and not quite a mystery, Samantha Tonge's latest novel is nevertheless a satisfying read.  Lizzie is estranged from her parents when news of their accidental deaths turns her life upside down.  With news that they owned a cottage in Leafton that had never been mentioned, Lizzie takes the opportunity to step back from her life as a tattoo artist in London, and heads to Streamside Cottage.  Skillfully moving between the past and the present, the author gradually reveals secrets of the past held in the walls of the cottage.
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I haven’t read many of Samantha’s but what I have read, this one has to be my favourite. 

Lizzie is a tattoo artist living in London, she finds herself staying in Leafton after finding out her family own a cottage there which she didn’t know anything about. Cue Lizzie’s quest to find out the past to the cottage which of course gives her more answers than she expected! I won’t go into detail as this would spoil the mystery to the story. 

Samantha’s character creations are something else. They are all unique and all sound super friendly. Lizzie isn’t your typical main female character and I loved that! I adored the fact the story contained love, family, friendship and bits of mystery which just had to get you to the end. Though I actually didn’t want it to end in fact! 

I am very much looking forward to discovering more of Samantha’s books and her future ones too! I give ‘Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage’ 5*/5* 😊

Thank you to Aria Fiction for an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley.
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this book was different but enjoyable with a good story line to keep you picking it up and reading it and its great to involve a tattoo artist to make it more enjoyable a lovely easy read
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I absolutely loved this book.  It is an attention keeper from the first to the last page.  I really enjoyed the storyline.  It’s the first book I’ve read where the profession of the main character was a tattoo artist.  But it worked because Samantha Tonge is such a fantastic author.
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Never thought I would read a book about a tattoo artist, but just goes to show, don't judge a book by its cover. It was a well written and excellent book by Samantha
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Lots of books start off with a character being jolted out of their current life and into a new situation but few people have such a shocking and dramatic change as Lizzie does at the beginning of Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage. What could possibly persuade a London-based tattoo artist to move to a tiny cottage in a rural setting, and how on earth will she fit it when she does? Was there ever a more fish-out-of-water scenario to open a book?

Well, finding out how this can all possibly work out is the joy of this book, and Samantha does a fantastic job of unfurling a convincing story out of this implausible scenario and making it all make sense. There are family secrets lurking in the walls of Streamside Cottage and Lizzie is determined to weed them out and try and make sense of why she became estranged from her over-protective parents, and why some villagers in Leafdon are so reluctant to talk about the past of Streamside Cottage.

Wrapping up an intriguing mystery with an exploration of family dynamics and what it really means to love and lose another person, this book has so much to offer to a range of different readers. It also seemed early on that the story might have a touch of the paranormal about it, until it took a very different direction. The story jumps backwards and forwards to different points in Lizzie’s life, so you have to pay quite keen attention to the headings at the beginning of each chapter to check what point you are at at any given time or the story won’t make sense, and the time jumps are not linear, but if you do that, the story will flow quite easily. I did have an inkling fairly early on as to what part of the secret might be, but this did not detract from my enjoyment of the book as I was eager to find out if I was right – and the answer was – not 100%!

I loved the fact that Lizzie was a tattoo artist – not something you come across often as a profession in a novel – and Samantha has included a little fact at the beginning of each chapter about tattoos, which tied in with events in that chapter. I found myself googling some of the things she referred to, I was so interested. She had obviously done a lot of research, and it was something Lizzie is very passionate about in the book. After living for 10 years with someone who has a bit of a tattoo addiction and having watched him add to them, I understand how meaningful they can be, and how much thought goes in to them, and this really came across in the writing here.

The storyline of the book is quite complex and dark, and the writing doesn’t shy away from this. I actually found myself in tears close to the end, so this may not be the light and fluffy read people come to expect from this type of fiction. However, this is something that appeals to me, I like the fact that romance novels can address some very personal and intense topics in an accessible way and I think people often underestimate this about the genre. This novel offers the reader a lot to think about during the read, and proved very satisfying.

This is a meaty read from Samantha Tonge, and will be enjoyed by anyone who loves a romance novel that they can get their teeth into.
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This was a quick beach read that I thoroughly enjoyed. When Lizzie’s estranged parents pass away there are many untold secrets, including a property she didn’t know about, Streamside Cottage. 

I enjoyed the writing in this book and Lizzie’s quest to find out the answers to who her parents really were.
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Having read some of those early romances, I’ll admit I was perhaps expecting this book to be a little lighter – but that’s in no way a complaint, because I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author blended dark secrets and thriller elements into this excellent story.

After an over-protected – loving, but a little stifling – upbringing, Lizzie has struck out on her own, training as a tattoo artist, a job she really loves. She’s become estranged from her parents, but their loss in a tragic accident hits her hard – and when she discovers that they owned a property in the village of Leafton that she didn’t know about, left to her aunt in their will, she decides to visit for a while with no particular plan other than to try to understand a little more about the parents she thought she knew so well. The cottage is a little neglected, but she takes solace in its beautiful natural setting – the woodlands, the river, all beautifully and vividly described – and is welcomed by the community, finding a particular friend in postman Ben, along with a nice frisson of attraction. But she’s no closer to understanding why her parents kept the place a secret, although she does uncover all kinds of other details about the cottage’s past.

At first, I was expecting a touch of the supernatural – some of the stories she uncovered seemed to be leading that way. But then – and it’s beautifully led up to – the secrets she really wanted to uncover begin tumbling from the woodwork, and the whole book moved in a direction I never expected. And it’s so well handled – that steady drip as the truth becomes clearer, the glimpses of her past life fed into the narrative, the real surprises as the full story slowly emerges.

At the book’s centre, Lizzie is superbly drawn, and very likeable – independent, a little quirky, passionate about her art and the future she’s chosen – and I really liked the way her character fleshed out as the story unwound, with those early glimpses of her former life and her increasing understanding of the difference between wrapping in love and over-protection. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where tattooing played such a prominent part either – small facts beginning each chapter, relevant to what follows, that I found simply fascinating – and there’s some really well developed detail about an art that’s often misunderstood and the reasons why people might choose that particular adornment.

The story that emerges is dark and unexpected, but the whole book is particularly well balanced – there’s lightness and humour too, a slow-burning and believable romance, and a lot of warmth in the character interactions. It’s certainly a page turner – and I rather enjoyed the fact that it almost encouraged me to draw my own conclusions about the way the story was going, only to find that I was far wide of the mark. That’s really clever writing – and it certainly kept me on my toes, and rather on the edge of my seat. The final revelations might have been a surprise, but were wholly consistent and believable with the way the story unfolded.

Very different and original, I thoroughly enjoyed this one – and I’ll definitely look forward to reading more from Samantha Tonge.

(Review copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)
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