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Uncovering Family Secrets in Second Chances at the Cottage by the Sea by Rebecca Alexander

Second Chances at the Cottage by the Sea by Rebecca Alexander is a touching and evocative novel that effortlessly weaves together themes of loss, discovery, and the enduring power of love. The story follows Eleanor Markham, a woman engulfed in grief after the loss of her mother, as she embarks on a journey to St Brannock’s Island to run a festival. This island, far from being just a quaint setting, is deeply intertwined with her own family's mysterious past, particularly her mother's origins.

Alexander's writing is beautifully descriptive, bringing the rugged landscape of the island and its tight-knit community to life. The island itself feels like a character, with its rich history and traditions shaping the course of the story. Eleanor's quest to uncover her family's secrets is heart-wrenching and compelling, making the reader invested in her journey of self-discovery.

The character of Bruno Roskelly is particularly well-crafted. Initially presented as a brooding and unwelcoming figure, his layers are slowly peeled back, revealing a kind-hearted man grappling with his own past. His evolving relationship with Eleanor is skillfully depicted, moving from conflict to understanding, and possibly to something deeper. Their dynamic adds a captivating romantic element to the story without overshadowing Eleanor's personal growth.

The historical thread, focusing on a remarkable woman from the past and her sacrifices during WWII, adds depth and context to Eleanor's present-day story. Alexander handles the dual timelines with ease, drawing parallels between past and present that enrich the narrative.

This novel is a tribute to the strength of women, the importance of community, and the healing power of understanding one's roots. It's a heartfelt and immersive read, perfect for those who love family sagas with a blend of romance and history. The scenic setting, coupled with the well-developed characters, makes Second Chances at the Cottage by the Sea a memorable read.

More About the Book

As she watches the island come into view, Eleanor wonders if this remote place might hold the answers she’s spent her life searching for…

When Eleanor Markham is asked to run a festival on St Brannock’s Island, she instantly accepts. She needs something new to focus on after the death of her beloved mother, and she knows that her mother was adopted from the island. Is it possible Eleanor will find her lost family in this remote place?

When she arrives, Eleanor is welcomed by the islanders. All except rugged farmer Bruno Roskelly, who glares at her with his piercing dark-brown eyes. He doesn’t want the festival to take place on his land but, as Eleanor tries to persuade him, she realises his gruff exterior hides a kind heart that was broken many years ago.

With Bruno’s help, Eleanor discovers that she is staying in the very cottage where her mother was born. And as she gets closer to learning who her grandmother might be, she uncovers the story of a remarkable woman who lived in the cottage too, and who risked everything to protect the islanders during the Second World War, as well as to be with the man she loved…

As the fragments of history fall into place, Eleanor feels closer to her family than ever before. But can she take inspiration from her past and be brave once more? And if she does, might she mend Bruno’s broken heart, and perhaps even her own?

A heartbreaking, stunning and unforgettable read, perfect for fans of compelling family dramas and for readers who enjoy the novels of Debbie Macomber, Fiona Valpy and Nancy Thayer.


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About Rebecca Alexander

Author Rebecca AlexanderRebecca Alexander was born in Malta and grew up on the south coast of England, becoming a psychologist. She escaped parenting six children to study writing in 2011, and the Secrets series of novels was published in 2013. A Baby’s Bones and sequel followed. Rebecca lives in a haunted 300-year-old cottage in Devon where she grows fruit, paints, and bakes. She reads and writes all sorts of genres, from women’s fiction to fantasy to crime. She is married with four chickens, two grandchildren and a cat. 


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