When Annie Parker discovers her husband’s infidelity, she doesn’t let it destroy her. She packs her bags and heads to Lake Arrowhead, California, the mountainside town where her family used to summer. Immersing herself in the restoration of seven 1920s era cabins, Annie begins to put the pieces of her life back together. But starting over is never easy.
Alyce Murphy needs closure. When she discovers her father did not die from a heart attack, as she’s been led to believe for the last 30 years, but in a murder/suicide, she is determined to uncover the truth of his death. But when she visits the cabin where her father ended his life, Alyce has to accept she may never know the true story.
Annie is looking towards her future while Alyce needs to put the past to rest. In parallel stories, both women are drawn to the rustic mountainside cabins as they search for the missing pieces—but they soon discover that the cabins have their own stories to tell.
While elements of mysteries darken the corners of the women’s lives, The Man in Cabin Number Five plays out more as a general fiction novel than a thriller as it follows, in parallel narratives, Annie and Alyce. The primary focus is Annie, and Braun delivers a moving portrayal of a young woman searching for herself amid personal upheaval. When she discovers that David is cheating, Annie escapes to the mountain community where she spent her childhood summers, eventually realizing she doesn’t want to leave. She begins putting down roots, becoming friends with a local hairdresser and starting a romance while forging ahead on her career and finalizing her divorce. Among touching scenes of starting again and facing the past comes some darker material: As Annie comes to terms with her independence, Alyce learns jolting truths about her family’s history.
The central theme is Annie’s transformation from a girl who doesn’t really know what she wants to a self-sufficient woman learning to prioritize herself instead of solely trying to please her husband. Readers will find fascinating connections and correspondences between the two women’s experiences as Braun blends genres and lives with depth and meaning.
Takeaway: A touching novel charting two women’s parallel lives, tied together by mysteries, transformation, and a cabin.
Great for fans of: Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret, Linda Holmes’s Evvie Drake Starts Over.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A