Discussion Guide: Cottage by the Sea

1. After losing her family, Annie is guilt ridden, often recalling her final conversation with her mother. Have you ever experienced regret or a sense of loss? What helped you to overcome it?

2. Seeing Annie for the first time in thirteen years gives Keaton quite a shock, as he never thought he would encounter her again. Have you ever reconnected with someone from your past, intentionally or by chance? Did anything about him or her surprise you?

3. Annie comes to see Keaton as something of a gentle giant. Though Annie is more extroverted, she grapples with secrets of her own. Discuss how and why, though their personalities differ, Annie and Keaton both struggle to open up to each other. Do you agree that opposites attract?

4. Oceanside becomes Annie’s safe haven, a peaceful place where she slowly begins to rebuild her life. Is there a place—a vacation spot, perhaps—that holds similar meaning in your life?

5. Gardening is a way for Annie to feel close to her mother, while also allowing her to share her bounty with the community. Do you have a particular hobby or interest that you find therapeutic? How does it make you feel?

6. Annie has a gut feeling that Britt’s home life is volatile. Though she knows it may be dangerous, she visits anyway, but falls into hostile territory when Carl arrives. How could she have approached the situation differently, to minimize the damage? Have you ever had a hunch about something that you were not sure how to deal with?

7. Was Annie right to tell Gabby, Steph, and Trevor about her conversation with Dr. Bainbridge before telling Keaton? Do you think Keaton responded appropriately when he learned the truth?

8. Mellie’s agoraphobia (fear of the outdoors) and hoarding are ways for her to hold onto the past in order to protect herself from future heartbreak.  Do you identify with Mellie in any way?

9. Why do you think Mellie and Preston are so compatible, regardless of their shared stubbornness?

10. Britt and Jimmy eventually choose Becca and Lucas, who have struggled to have a child, as Grace’s adoptive parents. The four agree that the adoption may remain “open”, so that Britt and Jimmy can be a part of their daughter’s life. Discuss the decisions made by both couples.

11. Annie is ultimately able to make Oceanside her home, despite the fact that she has lost her family. How do you define “home”? What makes your home special?

12. How do you envision Annie and Keaton’s future together?