Thursday, June 16, 2011
Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
9th June 2011 (UK), Mira Books
540 pages, Paperback
Olivia Bellamy has traded her trendy Manhatten life for a summer renovating her family's crumbling holiday resort. Tempted by the hazy, nostalgic memories of summers past - childhood innocnece and the romance and rivalries of her teens - it's the perfect place to flee after her broken engagement.
But what began as an escape may just be a new beginning.
As Olivia uncovers secrets buried thick with dust, one by one her family return, their lives as frayed at the edges as the resort. Her father and the mystery woman in the tatty black and white photograph, Uncle John, who's trying to be a father again to his teenage kids. Conna Davis, the first love she never forgot.
Laughter is ringing around Willow Lake once more. This could be Olivia's summer of a lifetime!
Nayuleska's reasons for loving Olivia: although she's been emotionally burned, she focuses on a project and gives it her all. It's not her fault that because of the project ghosts from the past emerge: they are mysterious, painful and pleasurable.
Is there another character who deserves a mention? Daisy - initially she isn't someone I like or relate to, but she cares so much for her brother, and just wants to be loved by her father. I like who she becomes by the end of the story.
How evil/nasty is the enemy? Substance abuse is horrific at any age. Keeping essential secrets about a loved one's past can initially cause an awful lot of hurt, but it doesn't last forever.
Are there plenty of plot twists and surprises? Apart from the obvious ones indicated in the blurb, there were a nice lot of surprises. I especially liked how the story switched povs, and switched from the present day to the past (mostly to life at camp).
One of my favourite parts was...frustratingly I thought I'd put a bookmark at my favourite part, but I haven't so I haven't go the exact details. It was when Daisy became happier with her family situation, and wanted to do something with her life.
I give this romance/family saga 9/10, with the romance rated between mildly sensual to sensual, there's also some strong language and substance use/abuse.
If you like this I recommend Lily's Journey by Tania Crosse, another story full of family secrets and character growth.