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Summer at Willow Lake [Mass Market Paperback]

Susan Wiggs
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 24 2012 The Lakeshore Chronicles (Book 1)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs explores the many facets of love and friendship in Summer at Willow Lake, where family ties clash with family secrets during long, hazy days and hot, languid nights... 

Renovating her family's once-posh resort is a labor of love for Olivia Bellamy. When duty calls, she forgoes a fast-paced Manhattan summer for the Catskills retreat, where her grandparents want everyone together for one last gathering of family and friends. 

But the camp is in disarray, and reclaiming its lost greatness seems beyond Olivia. Forced to hire contractor Connor Davis, she is caught between her irritation at his laid-back attitude and a still-smoldering flame for the man arising from her own summers at camp. As the days grow warm, not even the inviting blue waters of Willow Lake can cool the passions flaring between them-or keep her family's shocking secrets at bay.


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Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great read! Oct. 6 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Summer at Willow Lake - By: Susan Wiggs

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.

P
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5.0 out of 5 stars LAUGHTER, TEARS AND LOVE June 9 2014
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
One of the most in demand voice performers working today Joyce Bean delivers a riveting performance of this story of love, friendship and family. A long time narrator she has been acclaimed for her work with such topnotch authors as Sandra Brown and Barbara Delinsky, and taken home top Audie and Earphones prizes. More recently she’s taken on a new role as director. Her voice performance as is evident in Summer At Willow Lake only gets better and better.

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
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfull example of Wiggs' writing. Nov. 4 2007
By Megan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Susan Wiggs is absolutely charming in the first of her series, The Lakeshore Chronicles. Each book revolves around the lives of a Kennedyesque family and the locals, of this beautiful, upstate New York town. All these books center around a few members of this family, and we fallow their current, and past adventures at Willow Lake.

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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  286 reviews
271 of 278 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read... Aug. 1 2006
By S. Prince - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Olivia Bellamy decides to spend her summer renovating Camp Kioga, the resort camp that has been in the family for over 3 generations. Her grandparents plan to celebrate their 50th anniversary by "renewing their vows" at the camp where they had first met, but since the camp has been closed for the last nine years it needs an "extreme makeover" before it can host such a huge family event. Olivia is reluctant to accept the job at first, because she spent all of her summers growing up there, and they were not happy memories. But after being dumped by her third fiance, she is overwhelmed with the need to get out of Manhattan, and away from her disappointed parents. Returning to Camp Kioga brings back many uncomfortable memories of her childhood growing up an overweight "smart mouthed" kid, with thick glasses and no friends ... no friends except for her older cousins, and one very handsome boy who was as unhappy and lonely as she was. His name was Connor Davis, and on Olivia's very first day back at the old camp, she finds out that he is the only building contractor available in town. Even though she loved Connor growing up, Olivia is not anxious to see him again, because he broke her heart when she was eighteen, the summer before she started college. When Connor arrives at camp to give a renovation estimate, he sees a beautiful, slender blonde, hanging from a flag pole. He doesn't realize that she is his childhood friend "Lolly", because Olivia Bellamy has changed quite a lot in the last several years...

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.
106 of 120 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's a Good Book Hidden Inside Sept. 5 2007
By Sunhi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
First, this is more like a 2.5 than a 3 star book for me.

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.
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Usually a Fan May 3 2007
By Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoy Ms. Wiggs' books, but this was a disappointment. It was fairly long and I did finish it, but kept waiting for something to happen. Nothing ever did. It was hinted that Connor "did time," but that led to nothing and there was absolutely nothing noteworthy happening. It seemed like merely a prelude to another book (which it was). There was no mystery, no danger...nothing worth writing a book about. As another reviewer stated, the end was obvious from page one.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars She harbored a palpable trust March 2 2011
By upfront_reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked the idea of this book--that the heroine would return to the family's summer camp to renovate it, and at the same time face and overcome her painful memories as a camper and counselor there. But somewhere along the way, the story bogged down for me. I think the author tried to incorporate too many story lines and too many characters, which made it difficult to keep them all straight or even care about them. (The book's afterword invites the reader to look for more books in the "Lakeshore Chronicles" series, which explains why the author included so many extra characters but doesn't make it any more acceptable.) I thought the author's characterizations were all over the map and--maybe because she was juggling so many story lines--I never felt like I saw the characters' relationships changing and growing. Instead, the author told us that weeks had passed, that work had been done, and that relationships had changed and deepened. And even when the author did try to show us meaningful moments in the characters' lives, their reactions did not ring true to me--maybe because they all seemed to be walking-talking incarnations of Sociology 101 case studies: kids of divorce, biracial children, children of alcoholics, etc. It didn't help that the dialog was often stilted and somtimes descended into Oprah-speak: "You and Max are just beginning this journey. I wish I could spare you the pain and confusion you're bound to feel, but that isn't how divorce works." People don't talk that way. Ultimately, the book had some moving moments and I did finish it, but I sure won't be looking for the next book in this series.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL!!!!!!! Aug. 1 2006
By ems - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Read this while traveling to Virginia. What a great start for this new series Lakeshore Chronicles. The main characters are beliveable and have SUCH chemistry. The present and past narratives add much to the story. Thank you Susan for another terrific read. Anxious for the next installment.
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