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Review of 'Starlight Cottage' - K T Dady

Welcome to Pepper Bay. A small close-knit community where you’ll find chocolate box cottages, quaint shops, drama, friendship, and love.

Snuggle down with this cosy, feel-good, comfort read that whisks you away to a beautiful bay on the Isle of Wight – Perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Phillipa Ashley, and Holly Martin.

The Pepper Bay books are standalone stories that intertwine with recurring characters.

Starlight Cottage – Anna Cooper and Jake Reynolds both live at the luxury London building, River Heights. The only difference is that Jake lives in the penthouse, and Anna lives in a tent on the roof.

When Jake finds out, he offers Anna a chance of a new life in his grandmother’s childhood home in Pepper Bay, and she decides to take the opportunity to see if she really can make a fresh start somewhere else.

The beauty of Pepper Bay, with its quaint shops, chocolate box cottages, and all of Jake’s closest friends, immediately fills Anna’s heart with nothing but love, and it isn’t just Starlight Cottage that she finds herself falling in love with.

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Anna and Jake are likeable characters and they are ably supported by a cast of equally pleasant characters. Those who are unpleasant are kept very much on the periphery of the story and very rarely get any 'screen time'. The insights the author gives into the minds of the two main characters are interesting because they give the reader a look into the confused and random nature of their thoughts - something most people will recognise from the beginnings of their own relationships, where they are constantly second guessing themselves about whether they're misreading the signs. Sometimes it can be a little frustrating for the reader because they doubt themselves and each other so much, it's hard to see how a relationship could ever work between them. Fortunately for them, the supporting characters rally round to make them see sense. Both characters are emotionally immature - albeit for good reasons - and this doesn't help their situation.

Jake is the more interesting of the two, I think. This is partly because we get a much wider perspective on his character. We hear, through him, what his grandparents thought of him. Through his own thoughts we read how he sees himself and through the conversations his friends have with Anna, we discover how they see him. It's an fascinating study into the different faces we all present to the world and it's not often we get such an obvious insight like this in romantic comedies.

Anna is more obviously fragile and it's easy to dismiss her concerns when you haven't been in the kind of relationship she has just come out of. However, although I've never been in that position myself, I have friends who have and I recognise them in Anna's reactions to people trying to help her and do nice things for her. I don't know if it was the coincidence of the name or the 'girl with no self confidence meets rich and outwardly confident, but inwardly broken man' plot, but her relationship with Jake reminded me very much of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, just without the sex!

The scene is definitely set for the rest of the series and I look forward to reading the rest of the books.

Author, reader, mum, chocolate lover, and a huge fan of a HEA. I was born and raised in the East End of London, and I’ve been happily writing stories since I was a little girl. When I’m not writing, I’m baking cakes or pottering around in my little garden in Essex, trying not to kill the flowers. I’m the author of contemporary romance, middle-grade, and the thought-provoking thriller about mental illness, The Focus Program.

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