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Lilac Cottage by Carrie Fancett Pagels Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Lilac Cottage

Author: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Genre: Historical Romance, Christian Fiction

Release date: April 12, 2023

Inspirational Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Award-winning Bestselling Author Carrie Fancett Pagels

Lilac Cottage – set on Mackinac Island, Book 2 Mackinac Cottages Series

Out of options, after losing her job and apartment, Rachel Dunmara “camps out” at her deceased Grandmother’s cottage on Mackinac Island. Next door, her childhood nemesis, Jack Welling, is overseeing his family’s remodeling of their home on the West Bluff. When Rachel’s new boss, at a local coffee shop, pushes her to work as Jack’s assistant, for her second job, can they mend their rift?

Kareen Parker, widowed in the past year, returns to the island to share long-held information with her son and to transition ownership of her resort to her son. Her grandson befriends Rachel, who was banned by her family from associating with the Parkers.

After a summer full of secrets that are finally revealed, can three families be healed?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Carrie Fancett Pagels is the award-winning author and bestselling author of over twenty Christian fiction books. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! Raised in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, you’ll find her most summers at the Straits of Mackinac—where many of her stories are set.

More from Carrie

Why I Wrote Lilac Cottage

I had felt the Lord nudging me to write a sequel to my first-ever Women’s Fiction, Butterfly Cottage (after writing 20+ Historical Romances in Christian Fiction). I travel up to the Straits of Mackinac each summer to do book signings, library visits, and to see family and friends. At several of my book signings at the Island Bookstore, on Mackinac Island, I had readers ask if I had a sequel planned for Butterfly Cottage. I met a lovely young reader at one of the signings, who worked at Lucky Bean, my fave coffee shop in the world and it is on the island. Rachel asked me about plans for the next book and I thought – what if I had a young heroine who worked at Lucky Bean for the summer? Ya know, most authors stories start with the what if. So, I also tossed around the notion of what if Rachel was actually camping out in one of the mansions, called “cottages”, up on West Bluff? That spawned my plot thoughts.

When I work, I percolate an idea. I also will not pursue writing a story unless God’s hand is on it. So, I first submitted my will to His. I got the go ahead. I also got a lot of other stuff: Norovirus, Covid, a root canal and crown, a bleed on an optic nerve, and also what I thought might be a heart attack but thankfully it was only my Rheumatoid Arthritis, oh and did I mention recurrent shingles? Yup—all that. So, I figure there must be a reason this book needs to be written for me to have confronted such opposition from the enemy.

This is my very first novel where the main characters are all saved and are all newbies as far as being refreshed in their faith. At my church, one of the pastors preached about how new Christians are so on fire for the Lord and how they are often different from those of us who have been saved for a long time. I wanted to have that reflected in this novel.

I know people have strong feelings about the pandemic. I wanted to make sure I had written something that included some reality of what the winding down was like in 2022, which is when the story is set. My father was born in 1918 during the Spanish Flu pandemic and I always felt that authors from that time didn’t include enough references to how this affected people. I didn’t dwell on Covid in this novel, but I did touch on it in I hope realistic ways, such as shortages of workers.

Whew! One other reason I wrote some of the characters in this book was to give one of my continuing characters, Mrs. Hampy Parker, some redemption. She’s been a Co-dependent in two of my books (Butterfly Cottage and Behind Love’s Wall) and it was time, since she’s now in her early 80’s, for her to get free from that. I enjoyed the new start her character got and it was inspired by one of my friend’s real life stories.

Thank you for being part of the tour!!! And may God bless and keep you!

My Impressions

“I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let God.”

( from Co-Dependents Anonymous’s Twelve Steps.)

Location, location, location! While those may be the three most important words in real estate, they certainly can be important to a reader!

I love this newest book, Lilac Cottage, by Carrie Fancett Pagels for many reasons, but foremost is its setting on Mackinac Island, a tourist place we are somewhat familiar with. I loved remembering the feel of the mist on our faces as we sat on top of the ferry, seeing the Grand Hotel come into view as Rachel Dunmarra and Kareen Parker do. I loved envisioning the crowded streets with people, horses and carriages, and bicycles swerving between the first two. Pagels describes the island so well. And mentioning the iconic Pink Pony? What a treat that place is! And the island bookstore is really there, with its manager, and even Pagels’s books on the shelf!

Wow, when our novel starts, there are so many people and so many threads involved. It was like having a giant skein of yarn that was tangled impossibly. As we meet Rachel, we begin to see her search for significance and family. We see Jack’s need to grieve a sister who died years before. Then we see the Parkers, with their matriarch’s issues and the family’s odd exclusion. And the the characters and their situations seem to multiply. Kudos to Pagels for eventually unraveling that very tangled yarn and producing a masterpiece in the end!

When we visit the island, it is a peaceful time. Yet, Mackinac Island is home to real people, past and present, with real problems. I am amazed at how many skeletons are itching to escape their closets in Lilac Cottage! The mystery, broken relationships, and danger mixed with romance continue until the very end.

Pagels tackles topics like parental rejection, grief denied, narcissism, dependency, COVID, ancestry, fresh faith, and not to be ignored, coffee!😊

If none of this excites you about the book, look at its beautiful cover. That alone would entice me in! So pull up a chair and travel to Mackinac Island. And don’t forget the fudge!

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

The truth could destroy her family. But it had to be shared.

“it’s far worse to have a breaking heart and no one to share that with.”

My Rating


Magnificent! I loved revisiting Mackinac Island with Rachel, Jack, their families, and the Parkers!

Blog Stops

An Author’s Take, May 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 3

Blossoms and Blessings, May 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4

Betti Mace, May 5

She Lives to Read, May 5

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , May 6

Texas Book-aholic, May 7

Mornings at Character Café, May 7

For Him and My Family, May 8

Mary Hake, May 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 10

Connie’s History Classroom, May 11

Holly’s Book Corner, May 11

Sylvan Musings, May 12

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, May 13 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 13

Books You Can Feel Good About, May 14

Christina’s Corner, May 14

debs book review, May 15

Books I’ve Read, May 15


To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away the grand prize package of $70 Amazon Gift Card, a copy of Lilac Cottage, and a copy of Butterfly Cottage!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

12 thoughts on “Lilac Cottage by Carrie Fancett Pagels Review and Giveaway”

  1. Thank you for sharing your impressions of Lilac Cottage, I love lilacs and I would love to read this wonderful book and series

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The cover almost made me decide that lilac should be my favorite color. Carrie Fancett Pagels is a wonderful writer; I always enjoy her books and look forward to reading this one with all its threads and themes.

    Liked by 1 person

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