Summer at Lake Haven
by RaeAnne Thayne
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Publisher: HQN Books
Book #11 in the Haven Point series
Number of pages: 384
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 7/30/20 to 7/31/20
Samantha Fremont has been struggling with the weight of her mother’s expectations for years. But now that her mother has passed away, it’s time for Sam to be bold and finally establish the fashion design business she’s always dreamed of. And the perfect opportunity has fallen into her lap. Her friend’s getting married and has asked Sam to create her wedding dress. It’s an honor—and something that could launch Sam’s career…if only she could avoid the bride’s infuriating brother, who’s temporarily the boy next door.
Ian Somerhill knows a sabbatical in Haven Point is exactly what he and his children need to recover from their mother’s death. His romantic relationship with his ex-wife may have ended years ago, but caring for her throughout her illness broke his heart. All he wants is to watch his little sister walk down the aisle and to see his kids smile again. And somehow his lovely new neighbor is instrumental in both. But as their uneasy truce blossoms into a genuine friendship and eventually into something more, Ian has obligations in England he can’t ignore—and a secret that threatens the fragile trust he and Sam have built.
I didn’t realize how much I need/wanted to read Samantha’s story until I actually read it. Sam has flitted in and out of the other stories in this series, as has her mother. While Sam was often the flighty, good-time gal, her mom was a real you-know-what. Always criticizing. Not just Sam, but everyone in town. Even though Sam seemed the opposite of her mom, she still wasn’t my favorite. She had a lot of growing up to do. When this story begins, we find a much different version of Sam. She fully threw herself into her business when her mom passed away to the detriment of any sort of social life. She always wanted her mom to listen to her ideas about their shop, but now that the responsibility is on her shoulders alone, she’s finding it hard to move forward.
Cue the handsome widowed father renting the neighboring cottage. Ian is a bumbling professor type. Perpetually messy hair, gets caught up in his research, doesn’t always pick up on social cues. You get the idea. To top it all off, he comes with a sexy British accent and two adorable kids. How can Sam resist?
Turns out Ian is in town for his sister’s wedding as well as to do some research. And Sam is not only friends with said sister, she’s also making the wedding dress. Meaning these two get thrown together over and over. Their chemistry from the very start is off the charts, even though she’s annoyed and he comes across as pompous. So, of course, they decide they can just be friends. Neither has the time or the fortitude to start a relationship that won’t last beyond a few weeks. And the fun push/pull of their amazing chemistry begins. Will they/won’t they. Should they/shouldn’t they. I loved it! The anticipation was spot on.
As much fun as I got from the interactions between Ian and Sam and the kids, I was fully invested in Sam’s day to day life. I wanted (needed) her to return to the land of the living. Not to go back to her old life, necessarily. But to stop living as an old maid because of a ghost. She knew her mother no longer had any power over her, but couldn’t seem to shake hearing her voice in her head. Every step she took, she imagined what her mother would think or say. Sam may have been a happy-go-lucky devil-may-care person on the outside for most of her life, but she had some major demons to slay. The death of her father and the aftermath of that being first and foremost.
There is a definite HEA at the end of this story. But be warned, there is quite a bit of angst along the way. It’s a beautiful journey for both of the main characters. They help each other find their way to the other side, and it’s lovely.
I will admit to being a bit confused at the beginning of this story. I have read all of the books in the Haven Point series and did not remember Ian’s sister’s story. I even went back to see where I may have missed it, but could find nothing. I remembered Josh, but not Gemma. Included in the copy of the book I received from my elibrary was a short story about Gemma and Joshua, A Haven Point Beginning. The author explained that she realized after the fact that she hadn’t ever actually told their story and knew her regular readers would be clamoring for the tale, which is true. I know I was! It’s a super quick read and I highly recommend reading it before Summer at Lake Haven if possible. Not that you’re going to be lost if you don’t. But it’s worth reading, only about 4 chapters, and gives a bit more background on Ian’s family.