Throughout the summer of 2013, I harbored a secret hankering for a country house. This was a very private manifestation of a very public theory I’d articulated over almost the entire four decades (give or take) I’d lived in Manhattan. That is, if you don’t feel the urge to leave town at least three times every two weeks, you’re not really living in the City. Thus begins The Bucknoll Cottage Chronicles, the story of the intrepid author's journey from real estate ad to purchase of a little more house (aka cottage) than she really needed. In for the penny, in for the pound, she tells the tales of fixing it up and entertaining house guests, battling bugs, supporting the local economy (rodeo, anyone?) and dealing with the vicissitudes of weather, storage, gardening, yoga and installing an illegal clothesline. And more. Overall, the book is a delightful read that will leave readers with a greater appreciation for the joys and challenges of country living. The Bucknoll Cottage Chronicles is a fun read for anyone who loves a book featuring a good story and a good laugh.
While the book's structure is slightly disjointed, with a collection of anecdotes that resemble individual vignettes more than a cohesive narrative, it doesn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the book. Readers will feel as if they’re right there with her, as Lowengard's writing style is light-hearted and conversational, making it easy to connect. Whether she's discussing waste removal processes, introducing new urbane habits to Bucknoll (she jokingly refers to herself as “the Baroness of Bucknoll Yoga”), considering the challenges of naming a cottage, or exploring the local games and traditions, her sharp eye and winning comic timing always shine through. She wonders if one succeeds at a “Mensa Select” board game like Blokus, “might one bypass the tedious Mensa Admission Test and gain entry into this club to which you might or might not want to be a member?”
It's worth noting that this book may be most appealing to those specifically interested in cottage living or looking to gain insights into the unique challenges and joys of life in a place like Bucknoll, which enjoys just three seasons: Winter, Mud, and Summer. For those in the target audience, The Bucknoll Cottage Chronicles is a big-hearted yet sharp-witted companion to navigate the world of cottage living.
Takeaway: Sharp-witted look at a New York writer’s Pennsylvania cottage life.
Comparable Titles: Chris Stewart’s Driving over Lemons, Christopher Ingraham’s If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A