If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs / @TLCBookTours @susanwiggs

Title: Starlight on Willow Lake
Series: The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 11
Author: Susan Wiggs
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs sweeps readers away to a sun-drenched summer on the shores of Willow Lake in a stunning tale of the delicate ties that bind a family together… and the secrets that tear them apart… 

When caregiver Faith McCallum arrives at the enchanted, lakeside estate of Avalon's renowned Bellamy family, she's intent on rebuilding her shattered life and giving her two daughters a chance at a better future. But she faces a formidable challenge in the form of her stubborn and difficult new employer, Alice Bellamy. While Faith proves a worthy match for her sharp-tongued client, she often finds herself at a loss for words in the presence of Mason Bellamy—Alice's charismatic son, who clearly longs to escape the family mansion and return to his fast-paced, exciting life in Manhattan…and his beautiful, jet-setting fiancée.

The last place Mason wants to be is a remote town in the Catskills, far from his life in the city, and Faith McCallum is supposed to be the key to his escape. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet strong-willed caregiver as a live-in nurse gives his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to return to his no-attachments routine. For Faith, it means stability for her daughters and a much-needed new home. When Faith makes a chilling discovery about Alice's accident, Mason is forced to reconsider his desire to keep everyone, including his mother, at a distance. Now he finds himself wondering if the supercharged life he's created for himself is what he truly wants…and whether exploring his past might lead to a new life—and lasting love—on the tranquil shores of Willow Lake.

Other books in this series

I don't see this story as a romance. Yes, it has that aspect in it because of the attraction between Mason and Faith but this story is about so much more than just their relationship. It's about family, grieving, moving on, and seeing your worth when fate changes your circumstances.

Alice was, by far, my favorite character. Bitter and angry, she lashed out at everyone and anyone because of what's happened to her. An accident stole her husband, confined her to a wheelchair and left her unable to see the lighter side of life. She was seemingly content to wallow in her misery, driving everyone away simply because she could, until Faith and her daughters came along.

I realize that none of that paragraph makes Alice appealing to some but it did to me because it was real. I haven't suffered the losses she did but bitterness, anger, and a constant state of self-induced misery are emotions I understand and have experienced. If her reaction to her new lot in life was anything but what Ms. Wiggs wrote it to be, Alice would not have been the great character I saw her as.

All of that laid the foundation for growth. She just needed someone strong and willful enough to shove her out of that stage and into the moving on stage.

That's where Faith and her beautiful daughters came in. Faith's tenacity was a result of the life she had before. Years of caring for others coupled with her profession, being a licensed practical nurse, prepared her for her time with Alice. She knew how to care for Alice, sure, but she also knew how to encourage the her to start living again despite being wheelchair bound. That right there required not only skill but gumption. Others fled because of Alice's moods and sharp tongue; Faith raised an eyebrow and stayed put, refusing to be cowed because of attitude.

That refusal plus her daughters' presence pulled Alice from the darkness she lived in and into the land of living. The bitterness and anger she harbored disappeared, giving her a chance to see what she had was worth living for.

I wish I could expound on Mason and Faith's relationship as much as I did my favor for Alice. I loved that their relationship was slow to develop. They had different lifestyles to begin with and Mason had to learn that Faith was worth fighting for. But, for me, it was secondary to Alice's growth. She was central to everything in this story yet didn't take away from Mason and Faith's growing affections for one another.

There's either something in the air (or water) or maybe it's just I've never given myself the chance to explore this side of the romance genre before. You know, the chick lit/women's fiction aspect of it. I can honestly say, I've been missing out. This is the second book I've reviewed this week that touches on a topic that is, for me, primary to the romance the story presents.

This is my first Susan Wiggs story and I'm glad I had the chance to read and review it. The characters are truly incredible and relative. They brought their own stories to the table and evoked a plethora of emotions from me that were startling in their intensity. This is the kind of the story I love to get lost in, where I get to know characters like their my friends, and watch new relationships begin while old ones are repaired, renewed and strengthened.

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America.

1 comment:

  1. I love when an author gets me so invested in her characters that I can envision them as friends in my own life. Of course, that makes it harder to put down the book when I get to the end too!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.