Summer at Willow Lake – book review

Summer at Willow Lake
by Susan Wiggs
Release Date:  January 1, 2006
Publisher:  MIRA
Book #1 in the Lakeshore Chronicles
Number of pages:  543
Source: MCL
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: PG-13
Read 4/16/17 to 4/17/17

Susan Wiggs is a new-to-me author, but obviously she’s been around since this book was originally published in 2006.  Wow!  She really knows how to weave a tale.  Let’s see if I can adequately explain my feelings on this book without spoilers.

The main focus of this story are Olivia (Lolly) and Connor.  Their story is really sweet and tender.  As kids they started out as frenemies at summer camp but ended up true friends through the years.  Eventually, their relationship progressed to more than friends one summer.  This story is about them finding each other again after 9 years.  Why they lost each other in the first place is an emotional journey they must both go on in their own ways.  Lolly’s insecurities keep her more closed off than Connor even realizes…then or now.  This contributes to some mixed signals between the two.

Mixed in with the romance of Lolly and Connor is a coming to terms, so to speak, that Lolly has about her parents’ divorce.  There’s also a little romance between Olivia’s cousin and best friend, an uncle going through his own marital problems and trying to be supportive of his two kids, Lolly trying to help ease the sting of divorce for her two young cousins, a secret in her dad’s past he may not even know about, Connor’s teen brother going through his own growing pains…all while this loving cast of characters attempt to get the old family camp ready for a big 50th anniversary celebration for her Olivia’s grandparents.  All of these stories are expertly woven together without it feeling like anything is being left behind.  We get to see things from multiple perspectives as well as multiple times as the story jumps back in time a few times.  There was a fear this would get to cumbersome, but the author did a wonderful job of knowing when to use this device properly.

Unfortunately, I did have a few problems with this book.  There were some continuity issues in a way I don’t often see.  This will be my attempt at explaining what I mean: A character makes mention of an event in a way that it seems the reader should know what he’s talking about yet I wouldn’t know what he was talking about.  In the next chapter the event is mentioned as if for the first time and explained.  This was not intentional.  I cannot say why without spoilers but I can guarantee you it was not meant to be foreshadowing or anything like that.  The first time it happened I assumed I had misread something.  But it happened a few more times.  Which is extremely disappointing since I really enjoyed this book.  I can only assume it was the order things were written and then later edited to read in a different order.

Also, as much as I could feel that Connor and Lolly should be together, I didn’t actually feel their chemistry until at least half way through the book.  I think it was because I need to know Connor and understand some of his motivations better before I could really feel he was right for Olivia.

I’m excited to find a new-to-me author I can sink my teeth into.  I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

4 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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3 Responses to Summer at Willow Lake – book review

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