Author: Carley Fortune
Published by: Viking on May 2, 2023
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Penguin Random House
Book Rating: 8.5/10
Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in Toronto. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t.
At thirty-two, Fern’s life doesn’t look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern’s back home, running her mother’s Muskoka lakeside resort–something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend’s the manager, and Fern doesn’t know where to begin.
She needs a plan–a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips. Will may be the only person who understands what Fern’s going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago. Will is hiding something, and Fern’s not sure she wants to know what it is.
But ten years ago, Will Baxter rescued Fern. Can she do the same for him?
Absorbing, optimistic, and tender!
Meet Me at the Lake is an immersive, heartwarming tale that takes you into the life of the sweet, hardworking Fern Brookbanks as she navigates the highs and lows of the unexpected death of her mother, the loss of her big city dreams, her new responsibilities that include running her family’s cash strapped cottage country resort, and the sudden reappearance of the one man, Will Baxter, who shattered her heart nine years ago.
The writing is sentimental and engaging. The characters are layered, troubled, and supportive. And the plot is a charming, nostalgic tale full of family, friendship, self-discovery, happiness, heartbreak, taking chances, growth, healing, revelations, light drama, selflessness, romance, and new beginnings.
Overall, Meet Me at the Lake is a romantic, feel-good, perfect summer read by Fortune with its idyllic setting, small-town charm, heartfelt storyline, endearing characters, and delightfully touching moments.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.