Book Review: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Title: Sweetbriar Cottage
Author:  Denise Hunter
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction
Release Date:  June 13, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?
". . . it didn't all make sense to her - how God could love someone like her. Or why He allowed some of the things that happened. Maybe she didn't have to understand . . . You just have to decide to believe it." 

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter has the ability to stir many different emotions in readers. If you expected a sweet and simple romance, this is not it. Yet, it's this process of learning about the past of these characters that creates this stir. It's a tough topic - adultery and cheating, and the path to forgiveness or unforgiveness. Sometimes how environment and a person's past influenced not only in a physical, psychological way, but also emotional. A false sense of security in earthly matters that just snowballs into a regret that can't be changed, but only healed.

Personally, I think this is a great story to be told. It is so unlike others in so many ways, and for one, not all can accept. It's a beautiful story of forgiveness, self-worth and faith which leads to the ultimate healing - or at least the road towards it. And with all that said, I have an uncertainty when it comes to Sweetbriar Cottage. I can't seem to pinpoint it. The story, as I said needs to be told. The cover's gorgeous, though I do think it doesn't coincide with the story at all. The writing is well crafted. The characters are limited, flawed, and strong. Did I enjoy the storyline? I think the healing was very well done, the whys and hows and the whats.  So in all, I think it's a great book with a great message. The only thing is, I don't think every reader can grasp it or enjoy it. It's a book I see making an impact on specific readers, and I pray that the readers that are meant to read this book be able to read it.

"He always answers (prayers) - sometimes just the way we want."

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

Please note, quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof. Please refrain from reusing unless first verified with the finished copy. Thank you.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. You can learn more about Denise through her website or by visiting her Facebook page at

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  1. I have enjoyed all of Denise Hunter's books in the past and this book is no exception. Denise Hunter delves into dark pasts and sin in all of her books, but each character's path to redemption overshadows the pain and guilt of his/her past. Her books are always emotionally charged, always well-written with real characters, always good reads.

    1. This is my second Denise book but I can already tel everything you said is true! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Excellent review! Denise Hunter is one of my favorite authors!

  3. This one looks good, love that it is about second chances!

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


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