Book Review: The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy 18

The Cottage at Firefly Lake

by  Jen Gilroy

Series: Firefly Lake (Book 1)


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 Barnes & Noble

Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages

~ “In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Susan Wiggs and RaeAnne Thayne comes an emotional second chance love story about redemption and finding your way home, the first in a new series by debut author Jen Gilroy” ~
Some mistakes can never be fixed and some secrets never forgiven . . . but some loves can never be forgotten.
Charlotte Gibbs wants nothing more than to put the past behind her, once and for all. But now that she’s back at Firefly Lake to sell her mother’s cottage, the overwhelming flood of memories reminds her of what she’s been missing. Sun-drenched days. Late-night kisses that still shake her to the core. The gentle breeze off the lake, the scent of pine in the air, and the promise of Sean’s touch on her skin . . . True, she got her dream job traveling the world. But at what cost?
Sean Carmichael still doesn’t know why Charlie disappeared that summer, but after eighteen years, a divorce, and a teenage son he loves more than anything in the world, he’s still not over her. All this time and her body still fits against his like a glove. She walked away once when he needed her the most. How can he convince her to stay now?
“Memories, regrets and second chances are front and center in Gilroy’s fantastic debut.”–RT Book Reviews
“Gilroy’s debut contemporary is packed with potent emotions…[the] protagonists tug at the heartstrings from the beginning of the story and don’t let go. Long on charm, this story invites readers to come in and stay a while.” –Publishers Weekly


My Rating:




Favorite Quotes:


Words were her business. Why was it sometimes so hard to find the right ones?


Uncle Trevor said you were all over her like a bad case of poison ivy.


You ever think you’re telling other people’s stories because you can’t face your own?



My Review:


The Cottage at Firefly Lake was a fairly realistic and thoughtful story with real-life issues and small-town family concerns familiar to many. The characters were relatable and not always likable and sometimes frustrating, just like most people I know. The story line see-saws between hopefulness and angst and was packed to the brim with old and new secrets, lies, missed opportunities, distrust, greed, cowardice, regrets, small-town thinking, betrayals, clouded family histories, a second-chance romance, young love, and meddlesome family members. I was quickly enveloped in Ms. Gilroy’s narrative and was soon emotionally invested in the characters. I remained curious and eager for each tidbit I learned about their backstory as it was slowly revealed layer by layer to the very end. I kept flip-flopping in my opinion about the motives and intentions of several characters; Ms. Gilroy is a cagey one and I would bet she would be an ace poker player. I was even more impressed when I realized this was her debut novel. I was hopeful for a positive result while holding my breath throughout for Sean as, by their history, Charlotte and her family had proven themselves to be untrustworthy. I am looking forward to a return visit with book two, Summer On Firefly Lake.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


About Jen Gilroy

Jen Gilroy lives in a small town in Ontario, Canada. She’s worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write contemporary romance and women’s fiction to bring readers’ hearts home. Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband is her real-life romance hero, and her teen daughter teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday. The Cottage at Firefly Lake, the first book in her Firefly Lake series, was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2017.

Connect with Jen

Website | Facebook | Twitter

18 thoughts on “Book Review: The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy

  1. Reply Cassie's Library Jul 5,2017 10:43 am

    Sounds like a well-written debut! This actually came up on my Amazon recommendations for some reason, so it is interesting to see what is actually about. I won’t be adding it to my list because it seems far too focused on romance, but it is only because I read your review that I am able to do that. I appreciate that, since I have limited reading time.

    • Reply Empress DJ Jul 5,2017 11:19 am

      Thanx Cassie! The romance was more of a secondary feature, I would consider it more women’s fiction with the family drama issues being primary.

    • Reply Jen Gilroy Jul 6,2017 2:31 am

      Thank you for your comment, Cassie. It’s lovely to know that Amazon recommended my book to you. Although it doesn’t fit with your reading at the moment (and I well understand about limited reading time!), I appreciate your kind words. Happy reading as you tackle your TBR list!

    • Reply Jen Gilroy Jul 6,2017 2:34 am

      Thank you, Empress DJ. I appreciate your thoughtful assessment and review of my book, as well as your support of this blog tour.

  2. Reply J. Hooligan @Platypire Reviews Jul 5,2017 10:43 am

    “You ever think you’re telling other people’s stories because you can’t face your own?”

    Oh man. That’s some heavy stuff right there.

    • Reply Jen Gilroy Jul 6,2017 2:38 am

      Thank you, you’re right! From my perspective as the author, there is a wealth of meaning in that sentence, and I’m so pleased this reviewer picked up on it so you could too.

  3. Reply Caroline Jul 5,2017 2:00 pm

    This sounds like a good one. Dare I say I might be crossing the line into becoming a contemporary (or at least small town) romance fan???

  4. Reply Jazzi Kelley Jul 5,2017 5:40 pm

    I’m not super interested in women’s fiction as a genre, so I’ll probably skip this one, but the fact that a first-time author managed to keep you guessing about the characters is intriguing! I’ll watch her career and see if she writes something more my style later.

  5. Reply Susanna Bavin Jul 5,2017 8:51 pm

    I have read The Cottage at Firefly Lake and, like you, found it to be multi-layered. Jen Gilroy packs so much into the story. What I specially enjoyed was the way she explored several relationships, not just the main hero/heroine relationship. Every character has their part to play, not just in what is happening in the present day, but also through what they did in the past, as Jen Gilroy gradually releases the truth about what took place years ago – I loved your comment about poker-playing! I found The Cottage at Firefly Lake to be an impressive debut novel and am looking forward to reading the sequel later this month.

    • Reply Empress DJ Jul 5,2017 9:14 pm

      Thank you, Susanna. I recently finished the second book in the series and enjoyed it even more.

    • Reply Jen Gilroy Jul 6,2017 2:50 am

      I’m so pleased that you’ve also read ‘Summer on Firefly Lake’ and enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me know, Empress DJ.

    • Reply Jen Gilroy Jul 6,2017 2:47 am

      Thank you, Susanna. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and am touched that my first book resonated with you so strongly. I loved the comment in the review about poker playing too! I have to tell both you and the reviewer, though, that I’ve never played poker. Maybe I should give it a go?!

  6. Reply Heather J. @ TLC Jul 9,2017 3:02 pm

    Firefly Lake sounds like a place I’d like to visit … I wish we could bring many of these fictional locations to life!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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