The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy | Review

Posted November 22, 2017 by Asheley in review / 0 Comments

The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy
The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy | ReviewThe Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy
Series: Firefly Lake #1
Published by Forever, Hachette Audio on January 31, 2017
Pages: 368
Source: Purchased, Audible
Narrator: Karissa Vacker
Length: 10 hours, 36 minutes
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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?


The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy is a second chance romance set in the small town of Firefly Lake, Vermont featuring Charlotte Gibbs and Sean Carmichael. As the book opens, Charlotte is back at Firefly Lake with her sister Mia in order to sale their parents’ lake cottage. It has been a long time since she has been in Firefly Lake; when she was young, she and Mia used to spend long summers there with their family, and Charlotte was in love with one of the locals, Sean Carmichael. The last time she left was the last time she and Sean had any contact, so now that she has suddenly returned, it has brought back all sorts of feelings for both Charlotte and Sean.

The Gibbs sisters’ return has caused a small stir in Firefly Lake because they are considering sales of the lakeside cottage to a resort or hotel owner. Residents of Firefly Lake love their community because of its small town feel; bringing transient traffic and tourism would undoubtedly change the feel of the community. Sean stands to lose the most, as his family’s land and business borders the land beside of the Gibbs’ lake cottage. As he tries to convince Charlotte not to sale to these big businesses, the two remember the feelings they had for one another so long ago. Charlotte is put in the position to have to choose between her loyalty to her sister and selling the cottage for a large sum of money (hello, backstory!) and her loyalty to and feelings for Sean and what she feels is the right thing to do. 

I love second chance relationship stories. This relationship in particular has a few elements that made me excited for the “second chance” part: one of the involved parties kept a whopper of a secret from the other for the entire time they were apart, one set of parents forced the couple’s breakup, and both Charlotte and Sean have thought about each other steadily throughout the years. Because of the secrets and hurt, Charlotte has some thick, self-imposed walls that she’s put in place to keep herself from getting hurt again. Once Sean is able to break thru and Charlotte lets herself feel things, and once these two begin to open up and talk about what exactly happened eighteen years ago: the progression of this romance is great.

The events from their past broke my heart, but their restoration made me really happy.

This book initially caught my eye because it has a small town, lakeside setting — I love both of these things. I love the cover and the description. Even though the story actually only takes place in a fairly small part of Firefly Lake, I felt the setting and I appreciate that. I also love that there is a secondary cast introduced that will feature in the upcoming series installments. When I started the book, I didn’t realize the sister-relationship between Charlotte and Mia would weigh so heavily, but this was one of my favorite parts of the story. I can’t wait to get more of Mia’s story in the next book and see what is in store for her future. 

There is a small secondary romance with Ty (Sean’s son) and Naomi (Mia’s daughter) which I loved. I’d love to be able to check in with these two and see what they’re up to. 

If I could change anything about the story, I think I’d make Charlotte a little less rough around the edges, more willing to show her vulnerabilities and weaknesses. I like Charlotte, but she was not as easy to relate to as Sean or even her sister Mia. I feel like this is because she had been hurt and had those walls up, but it made getting to know her just a little bit difficult.

Audiobook Notes:

I’ve actually listened to The Cottage at Firefly Lake audiobook twice now. I bought the audiobook with an Audible credit originally to listen to while I followed along with my Kindle copy of the book. This is a single-narration audio, read by a new-to-me narrator, Karissa Vacker. I enjoyed listening while I was working around my house and driving my car, and then I enjoyed my relisten because I liked the story so much the first time.

Title: The Cottage at Firefly Lake by Jen Gilroy
Published by: Hachette Audio
Publish Date: 1-31-17
Length: 10 hours, 36 minutes, Unabridged
Narrator: Karissa Vacker

About Jen Gilroy

Jen Gilroy Author Photo

Growing up under the big sky of western Canada and spending summers in a little Ontario town, books were my passport to other worlds. Pioneering Laura Ingalls, Jo March and her sisters, the English girls in Noel Streatfeild’s books and L.M. Montgomery’s independent, nature-loving heroines all became friends.

I started writing poems and stories in elementary school and, as a teenager, reached the semi-finals in a local short story contest. Even after all these years, I still remember the thrill of the judge encouraging me to keep writing.

Then life and work intervened, and I set aside the craft of fiction to study, teach and, most recently, work in marketing communications and international business development.

Along the way, though, I read romances and women’s fiction, escaping into a world where characters grew and changed their lives for the better and found happy endings. And one day, I realized that by losing my creative writing, I’d also lost part of what makes me who I am.

Now I write the kind of stories I like to read–heartwarming romances about finding home, family and community–where ordinary women overcome sometimes extraordinary challenges to earn their happy ever after.

I’m an RWA® Golden Heart® finalist 2015 in Contemporary Romance, and that manuscript sold to Hachette Book Group USA, Grand Central Publishing, Forever. It was published on January 31, 2017 as THE COTTAGE AT FIREFLY LAKE. Two more books follow in the Firefly Lake series—SUMMER ON FIREFLY LAKE (July 25, 2017) and BACK HOME AT FIREFLY LAKE (December 2017).

After many years in England with my husband, a tech guy who’s still a small-town boy at heart, and our teen daughter, an English rose, who teaches me to cherish the blessings in the everyday, I’ve come home to my roots and live and write in a small town in Ontario’s Rideau Valley.


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


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