"Gripping tale of the healing power of love"
Elizabeth Riley is a widowed school nurse on vacation for
the summer, and traveling cross-country from her daughter's
home in California to her home in New York, ostensibly as a
change of pace and to see the country. Her daughter, a new
mother herself and the reason Liz has traveled to
California to help out, isn't so sure about her mother's
reasoning and is worried about her traveling so far all
alone. She has every reason for concern. Liz doesn't want
to see the countryside as much as she wants to escape the
feelings of loneliness that approaching fifty has brought.
Never in her wildest dreams, however, did she ever think
she'd find her heart's desires on the road, in the form of
a man young enough to be her son!
Robert is the still-grieving widower who lets Liz in out of
the rain when she loses control of her car on a mountain
road and crashes into a ditch. He is a man used to his
solitude and having things in his quaint home just so.
Liz's sudden arrival disrupts the status quo and,
initially, Robert is reluctant to allow her entry into his
cottage, but quickly relents.
The pair settles into each other's company easily enough as
Liz warms up with hot coffee and good conversation from her
host. The torrential rain outside, a power outage and a
nasty bump on her head from the accident, all contribute to
Robert's insisting that she stay in his home overnight or
at least until the power comes back on. Robert's own
vehicle is in the repair shop in town. The walk to town is
a treacherous several-mile hike that Liz would be crazy to
risk in the weather. Feeling strangely safe in the cottage
and, despite her host's relative unfamiliarity, safe in
Robert's company, Liz agrees to stay. Her host's kindness
far outweighs all his idiosyncrasies, the least of which is
his not having a working clock anywhere in the cottage.
Robert sets Liz up for the night in his dead wife's room.
Like every other room in the cottage, it is cozy, inviting
and quaint, and with Elise's presence and feminine stamp
clearly imprinted on every item. Rather than feeling like
an invader in the room, Liz has a weird sense of having
The next morning brings realization that puts a new spin on
life as Liz knows it and makes ever leaving the cottage a
difficult proposition. Not only is she falling for the
cottage's young owner, Liz has fallen under the magical
spell of the cottage and has returned to her youth, now as
young as her twenty-something host. At first skeptical and
upon investigation, Liz discovers that her new youthful
state is not just a figment of her imagination, but a
direct effect of being in the cottage and on Robert's
property. Should she leave the cottage or its property,
however, the youthful spell is automatically broken.
An older woman with grown children, Liz has difficult
choices to make: remain at the cottage, living a lie and
lying to the man she loves; or allowing him to see her
outside the boundary of the cottage's magic and risk his
not being able to handle the discovery of their enormous
differences in age.
Most of the book, as seen through the eyes of Liz, is a May-
December romance. However Liz and Robert are so evenly
matched in every way that counts -- emotionally,
psychologically and spiritually -- that the reader is
quickly drawn into the illusion of a youthful couple
falling in love and who have a long future ahead of them.
The reality, though miles from the illusion, is no less
romantic and hopeful.
Complete with a small-town where everybody knows everyone
else and is as fiercely protective as they are friendly and
helpful, this is a story that lives up to its title in
every way. Not only is the cottage and setting enchanted,
but so are the lead characters, the whimsical plot and
subplot characters, and the three adorable semi-wild,
chocolate-foraging raccoon siblings who add great comic
relief and to whom the hero and heroine belong.
Liz and Robert are an evocative sensual couple and share
great chemistry. Engaging characters separately and
together, they each bring their own grief and loss to the
table, but come away with an enduring respect for each
other, in general, and for the magic of destiny and love,
"Enchanted Cottage" was a very enjoyable story and a page-
turner all the way to the end. I highly recommend it for
anyone whose ever lost their way or forgotten the healing
power of love and needs to be reminded that age is truly
only a number and state of mind.
For PNR Reviews
Reviewed by Gracie McKeever
Posted April 12, 2003