The House on the Shore
By Victoria Howard
Vanilla Heart Publishing, February 2009
Author Website: http://www.victoriahoward.co.uk
Passed over for a promotion she deserved, and betrayed by the lover she trusted, thirty-two year old Anna MacDonald resigns from her position as a writing instructor at an Edinburgh University, terminates the lease on her fashionable apartment, and flees to the security and comfort of Tigh na Cladach, the cottage willed to her by her late grandmother. Anna plans to hide out and pursue her dream of writing a novel while she licks her wounds and recovers from life’s recent disappointments. But when a strange yacht bearing an American flag anchors in the loch at Tigh na Cladach, Anna’s life begins to change in ways she never expected…
This wonderful story was full of twists and turns that kept me continually guessing at its outcome. The author has a lovely talent for description, and the imagery of lochs, fields of heather, and the untamed Scottish wilderness left me feeling well acquainted with this magical place though I have never seen it firsthand. While reading, I found myself torn between wanting to linger over a well-turned phrase while at the same time compelled to forge ahead and see where the story would take me next. The tale is fast-paced and full of adventure and comes complete with likeable characters, breathtaking romance, and a dark cloud of ever-present danger. There was a particularly gripping scene near the end in which one of Anna’s dear friends went missing that had me literally chewing my fingernails in suspense!
Though the bulk of the story was intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable, I had some minor issues with its beginning and its end. I found the opening scenes to be a bit stilted and didn’t really connect with Anna until around page twenty, when she began her new life at Tigh na Cladach. Though a rich and well-layered story, the ending seemed a bit rushed, leaving me with some unanswered questions about the hero’s heritage and his connection with the Scottish Highland. Even so, I found The House on the Shore to be a beautifully written and highly entertaining read, and I look forward to more of Victoria Howard’s works.