I really liked how In a Cottage in the Woods opened. Cass Green sets up the story in just a couple of pages.
She introduces a troubled heroine, Neve Carey and a suicidal woman called Isabelle. Neve meets Isabelle on a bridge and they have a brief conversation just before Isabelle jumps. Although brief, we learn a lot about Neve from this conversation. For one thing, she’s kind enough to stop and help a stranger. She’s also very hard on herself. She questions her own motivations, and thinks that she falls short. She’s someone who does the right thing when it matters, but she’s also troubled and unhappy. Within just a couple of pages, you get a really strong sense of who she is and why she does what she does.
Neve’s a very believable character. There’s a lot going wrong in her life — her relationship has broken up and she’s temporarily staying in sister’s house because she can’t afford to stay anywhere else. Her work is boring and she’s underpaid. Her financial insecurity and emotional unhappiness impact her relationships, stirring up conflict that isolates her from family and friends. This isolation is what makes her the perfect heroine for Cass Green.
Cottage in the Woods
Neve inherits Isabelle’s cottage in the woods when she has hit rock bottom — no home, no relationship, no money, no job. So she has no choice but to move in. The cottage is isolated and creepy, making it an excellent setting for Neve to face her demons. And not all of them are internal. Someone doesn’t want Neve in the cottage. The question is who? And why?
In a Cottage in the Woods is an entertaining page turner and a fast read. I enjoyed it. If you like the sound of it, you might also like The Woman Next Door.
Disclosure: HarperCollins provided a review copy.