‘The Guestbook’ by Holly Martin: Book Review

Wow… where do I even begin?!

Welcome to Willow Cottage…

Young widow and landlady, Annie Butterworth, lives next door to Willow Cottage and is always on hand to help out and provide guests with anything they need, whether it is tea or just a friendly chat. Guests of Willow Cottage are encouraged to write about their stay in The Guestbook which Annie has left in the cottage. The Guestbook is not only used by the guests staying, but also as a way of communication with Annie. This book provides entries from a huge range of different guests throughout, including Annie herself and the famous writer, Oliver Black, – Although to Annie, he is just plain old Olly… Her first kiss.Holly

What a beautiful book. The moment I entered Willow Cottage, I fell in love with it!

The story is told entirely through the cottage Guestbook which was such a fantastic and unique way of writing a novel. Before I began reading the book, I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy it that much as I thought I may get confused with all of the separate stories by each of the different guests. But boy, was I wrong! I loved it. I was hooked from the very first entry and didn’t want to put it down at all.

I absolutely adored the main character, Annie. Everybody assumed she was this little old lady because of her name, but she was in fact a young, beautiful woman who had a passion for looking after her guests and the cottage. Annie was so likable, and no matter what was happening in her personal life, she always tried to look at the bright side of things and put her guests before herself. Being widowed, Annie had gone through a lot of trauma in her life, however she appeared to be loved by all of the locals around her which was really nice.

And then there is Oliver Black – Annie’s brother in law. He was pretty likeable as it was obvious that Annie meant a lot to him. He was a frequent visitor of the cottage and on many accounts, himself and Annie had rather personal conversations with each other through the Guestbook.

I loved how Annie connected with all of her guests through that book. Most days she would drop a message in it to see how her guests were doing, and when they were going through times of trouble she would write positive passages and words of advice to help get them through it. It is such a wonderful way to see how much Annie impacts the lives of her guests, whilst also finding out all about Annie herself through her entries.

Willow Cottage sounded so beautiful and I would love to visit it myself. The way in which the cottage and the location is described is all written by each of the guests – there is no narrator or dialogue in between entries. This approach to describing it made it seem even more of a beautiful place because it was the visitors who were telling us how lovely it is there.

I loved that Holly Martin used different fonts etc for each of the different characters who were writing in the book. I thought this was such a fantastic idea to avoid confusion of which character was writing the entry. It made the book flow so smoothly, and when I saw certain fonts, I instantly knew which character it was writing.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. If you haven’t read it already – then read it now – trust me, you are in for a treat. It was beautifully written, had a beautiful cover and the setting was just.. Well, beautiful. I’m not sure how I can express my love for it any more than that.

Holly has done such an amazing job in writing this book and coming up with such a fantastically unique idea, and I am now so so eager to read more of her books. Thank you for such a fantastic book, Holly!


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