Summer at Willow Lake Mass Market Paperback – Apr 24 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
The latest contemporary from Wiggs (Table for Five) is a quiet, character-based romance set at the Catskills camp that Olivia Bellamy is renovating for her grandparents' 50th anniversary. Helping out is contractor Connor Davis, who initially doesn't recognize Olivia as the girl whose heart he broke a decade before at the very same camp. Now, both hold grudges against the other that hide their insecurities; although he's become successful and sophisticated, Connor believes Olivia's social status puts her out of his league, while Olivia remains buried in her awkward-little-fat-girl memories. The narrative switches off between present-day action and the summers Olivia and Connor spent at Camp Kioga, filling in the spaces of their relationship with each other and with their dysfunctional families. Wiggs's storytelling is heartwarming, but avoids schmaltz, and her chick-lit–ready leads seem older than their 20-some years, adding weight to their stories. Happily clutter free—no subplots to take attention away from the intelligent, appealing couple—this book, first in a series, should appeal to romance and women's fiction readers of any age. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
Camp Kioga means many things to many people. For Olivia Bellamy, whose family operated the camp in the Catskills, it's all about bad memories. Although she was just as rich as the other attendees, she was never as pretty or thin or self-assured. The only thing that kept her from being completely miserable was the arrival each summer of Connor Davis. For Connor, the camp took him away from a life far different than Olivia's and showed him how life could be. Connor and Olivia finally have a relationship, which seems to scar her heart. Years later, a slimmed-down, professional Olivia is asked by her grandmother to prepare the camp for her fiftieth wedding anniversary. Connor is still in the area, and as soon as she hires him to help with the project, feelings arise on both sides. How good is perennially popular Wiggs in her new romance? Superb. Wonderfully evoked characters, a spellbinding story line, and insights into the human condition will appeal to every reader. Maria Hatton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This was the third book I have read by Susan Wiggs. I love her writing style. It's the perfect type of book to curl up and read on a lazy day or a rainy one.
She does a seamless job of telling the historical stories of some lead characters in the book, but doesn't lose the plot or reader in how she goes back and fourth in time. I enjoyed knowing the back story to some of the characters. It gave me a better understanding of what their relationships really were like throiughout their lives and situations.
This book is based in upstate New York with a main upper class family running a summer camp for their family members' children and other upper class families. The story revolves around old love and new love and all the adventure and summer steaminess a good fictional romance drama can deliver.
The only unfortunate thing I find all too common in Ms. Wiggs' writing is, that her endings are rushed. the pace of the book changes at the end after a steady climax, the story drops off and wraps up. I would really like to see her expand the endings in her books into another chapter or two. It would give the reader a bigger picture of how happy the ending and how the characters future life holds up to expectations built as you read the novels. Other than that, flawless story writing.
I rate this book with a 4/5, with my likes and dislikes in mind.
The multiple steps back into the characters’ pasts, showing how they came to be who they are today, was both informative and completely entertaining. Wiggs gives a complete picture of who each of the characters are, and how their lives intersect one another. Knowing Olivia & Connor’s pasts helps understand how they interact with one another today. Their individuality yet need to prove themselves to overcome their pasts comes about in very different ways, yet holds them together as well. Wiggs not only creates the type of characters that you love getting to know throughout a novel, but the type of characters that you are dying to follow through an entire series. I can’t wait to see Daisy & Max grow up, and I love knowing that we’ll get to see more of Greg and Freddy and Dare.
Wigg’s first novel in her Lakeshore Chronicles launches a series I definitely can’t wait to continue following. This novel captured me heart and soul, introducing me to a world I will be revisiting time & time again.
Book 1 in The Lakeside Chronicles Summer At Willow Lake is filled with laughter, tears and love, all qualities which fans of Susan Wiggs come to expect and enjoy. This author is an expert in those areas and presents them without ever resorting to schmaltz (thank goodness!) The setting is the Catskills and a once posh retreat which Olivia Bellamy is renovating for the 50th anniversary of her grandparents. For her it’s a labor of love in more ways than one.
Helping her with the redo is contractor Connor Davis, now successful and more sophisticated than when he broke Olivia’s heart about a decade ago. At that time she was awkward, overweight and a bit tongue-tied. Connor doesn’t recognize the glamorous, self-confident Olivia as that young girl. Need I say more?
Combine the attraction that she still feels for him, his feeling of insecurity when he’s around her now with some clashing family ties and you have a story that will surely find favor with romance readers of any age and have them looking for the second in this new series.
- Gail Cooke
Wiggs manages to switch from the past to present, seamlessly. Never losing sight of the current storyline, with trivial tidbits of information. Instead you find yourself reading along, and some of the most pivotal moments of the characters lives.
Wiggs, is also quite knowledgeable on her subjects, and you'll come away from this series not only feeling better about yourself, but with knowledge on a number of different subjects.
The complex, but realistic relationships Wiggs creates, never cease to place a smile on my face, and lighten my heart. I would recommend this book, and series, to anyone who enjoys the depth and insight into a large, loving, but flawed family.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This story goes back and forth between "present day" camp renovation, and Olivia's childhood memories of camp, (and a few memories from her parents' generation), but it does not distract from the story at all. It's a really good story, and the book was a joy to read from beginning to end. This is one of Susan Wiggs' best written books, and I find it very similar in style to many of family sagas written by Nora Roberts.
When I first started this story about a woman who is trying to get her life on track after her third serious relationship falls apart through no reason she can understand, I was interested. I liked the flashbacks to the camp, I liked her best friend, I liked her. I was willing to believe that this book deserved its RITA nomination. It was solidly entertaining, which is all I ever look for in my romance novels.
Somewhere along the way, I lost interest. Was it when I realized that her best friend was too awesome for her? That was a little early in the book. Was it when I began to think that her first boyfriend and new love interest was not so much a bad boy as a kind of lame man? Again, that was a little early. Was it when I realized I was following multiple love stories, solving a mystery about the main character's father, and watching a set up for future books? YEP. That's exactly where I lost interest in this whole thing.
This was my introduction to Susan Wiggs, and I found it both lackluster and slightly overwhelming. Was I supposed to care about all of the Bellamys? I know why romance novelists set up their series nowadays, and feel the need to revisit old characters from previous novels, but some days, I just want to read a standalone. I don't care about the future books or the past books. It's as hard to find a standalone romance as it is to find a single book in a fantasy series. WHY, authors, WHY? I know the answer is money, but, consider your readers.
If you like series, and you're ready to dive into them, and you love the idea of fake 'bad boys', perhaps you'll like this book. I just kept wondering why the main character didn't get together with her best friend who seemed like a way more awesome choice.
At the end of page 16 you have the first encounter between Lolly and Conner. The book seemed to have a good start, but I started to get bored around page 80 so I thought I would skip ahead to find out when the next meeting of Lolly and Conner would occur. It does not happen until page 156. Sorry, when I read a romance I need the couple to interact (good or bad) more than every 150 pages. I am certainly okay with an author introducing other characters, but they should not take precedence over the developing romance. Susan Wigg's just does not have her main love interest characters interact often enough for me. I don't plan on reading any more of Susan Wigg's books, they just frustrate me.