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The Stationmaster’s Cottage: River’s End Love Story (Book One)

The Stationmaster’s Cottage: River’s End Love Story (Book One)
A rich and powerful romance set in two eras. A gripping story of fiercely protected secrets, courage, betrayal, redemption, and true love.

Christie’s carefully constructed life turns upside-down with the inheritance of an abandoned cottage in an Australian coastal town. The discovery of old love letters draws her into the heart wrenching world of Thomas and Martha in a fifty-year-old mystery.

She seeks help from Martin, a reclusive artist with a lifelong contempt for her family, and his own reasons to protect the past. As the secrets unravel, so does Christie’s safe world. Will her obsession to right the wrongs of the past lead her to heartbreak or happiness?

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About the Book

Best Book Bit:


“When what? When am I going home?”

Martin nodded.

“Derek flies back on Monday.” Christie didn’t want to think about it.

“From Lizard Island?”

“Yes. I’ll get home just before him.”

“He went without you?” A chill shot through Christie, evaporating the warmth of the night. Real life was just around the corner. Her eyes filled with tears.

“You came to your grandmother’s funeral and he went on holiday. You’ve had to deal with it all on your own?”

Martin spoke with such gentleness that it was all Christie could do not to shed those tears in front of him.

She raised her chin and forced her emotions down, just as she always did. “I’m okay with it.”

Martin took her left hand, as he had done at the lookout. Holding her fingers, he studied the engagement ring. “You shouldn’t be okay with it.”

His touch was electric. Christie knew she had to leave. She started to pull her hand away but Martin tightened his hold a bit. Her back was against the railing. He moved closer and Christie caught her breath. She had nowhere to go and nowhere else she wanted to be. Her hand was on fire and it was radiating through her. She had to stop this.

“He never knew Gran. He wanted this holiday so much. What would you have done?”

“It’s irrelevant he didn’t know your grandmother. He knows you.” Martin let the words sit between them, released her fingers and turned back to the ocean. “It doesn’t matter what I’d have done.”

Christie rested her now empty wine glass on the railing.

Martin glanced at it. “I’m happy to refill that, but you’re not driving home tonight.”


Ribbon Reviews for this book:
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)


When Christie inherits her grandmother’s cottage, little does she know she will become involved in a family secret that spans three generations of her family. The Stationmaster’s Cottage is a heart-warming story, with vivid descriptions that will leave you with fond memories of River’s End and its inhabitants, even though you’ve never been there!

Local artist Martin has a bit of a chip on his shoulder at the beginning, but you start to warm to him as you get deeper into the story. The secondary characters are also well-constructed and believable, whether they are friendly villagers or odious boyfriends.

The story keeps you engaged all the way through, as you find out what happened between Christie and Martin’s families. If you’re looking for a beautiful, romantic story that will keep you captivated until the end, this is the perfect book.

Submitted by Helen Pryke

Just as Christie Ryan and her boyfriend Derek are heading out the door to go on a well deserved, much needed vacation, Christie finds out that her grandmother Dorothy Ryan, has passed. Christie goes to her grandmother's funeral, intending to leave promptly afterward. However with the tensions between her and Derek being what they are, the draw of family mysteries, and her confusing encounters with life-long resident Martin, Christie stays in River's End. Christie must figure out how to navigate between townsfolk that clearly don't want her there, and those that do, solve her family's mysteries, all while deciding what her future will be and where.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Christie finds herself stuck between her present life and it's predictable stability, and a life that could be more personally rewarding, if not as sure. She is caught between two men, Derek, representing the known, her past and present, and Martin, the unknown but potentially happier, future. This book did a wonderful job contrasting the two, while balancing that with Christie's desire to solve the mystery. The dialog, the interactions of the two main characters, is very well done. The emotions come through very clearly. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. The book is unpredictable, and easy to read. The reader gets pulled into the mystery and the emotion, and it makes you want to keep reading, because you need the answers, almost for yourself as much as for the characters in the book. This is a promising new author, and I cannot wait to read more of her books. I highly recommend this book, and it has become one of my favorites.
We often hear “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and often this demand goes unheeded. Upon seeing the cover of The Stationmaster’s Cottage, I was immediately transfixed and curious about what Phillipa Nefri Clark had written on the pages within. Featuring an open scroll and a crimson ribbon snaking around an ancient key on its cover, this book promises to tell a tale of love through the lens of memory. And so it was that I ignored popular advice and began reading.

Secrets are the core of this story, both in how Christie Ryan discovers the dimensions of her family through her inheritance of a cottage and how each of Clark’s characters are confronted with revelations about themselves. Clark’s story follows two women in two different time periods who are both faced with the challenge of uncovering who they are and what they really want in life. And in the end, love is ultimately the answer. The question each woman must answer is what kind of love will grant them happiness and is it worth embracing even if accepting it means potentially breaking from family. These challenges bring both joy and immense pain to the characters, making the double romance doubly realistic and emotional for the reader.

My most prominent criticism is that Clark doesn’t delve into Christie’s relationship with Derek and her grandmother as much as I’d like. When I first began reading the chapter beginning with Christie, I couldn’t understand for the life of me why she was with Derek. Through her perspective, readers are aware that she’s highly critical of him, often observing how controlling and cold he is. Likewise, I wonder why Christie felt an affinity with her grandmother despite the emotional distance between them. Was it just gratitude that she took her in at such a young age?

However, ultimately this book was worth the read, and I could easily see how a love story imbued with history could translate well as a film—a film I’d definitely watch!
Very well-written book with a little bit of history and some romance about a young couple, Martha and Thomas, separated for decades through a series of heartbreaking events. Until Christie Ryan steps in to fill in the unanswered questions of what kept them apart. While searching for clues, she finds some letters and a painting and while getting it framed, she inadvertently meets Thomas' grandson, Martin. But why does he seem to dislike her so much?

The best parts of the book are when it goes back to the past as Christie is reading the letters from Thomas that she found in the attic of her grandmother's cottage. But why did her grandmother have the letters?

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a short romantic story with a little bit of history.

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