Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Real estate expert Olivia Bellamy reluctantly trades a trendy Manhattan summer for her family's old resort camp in the Catskills, where her primary task will be renovating the bungalow colony for her grandparents, who want one last summer together filled with fun, friends and family. A posh resort in its heyday, the camp is now in disarray and Olivia is forced to hire contractor Connor Davis—a still-smoldering flame from her own summers at camp. But as the days grow warm, not even the inviting blue waters of Willow Lake can cool the passions flaring or keep shocking secrets at bay. The nostalgic joy of summers past breathes new promise into a special place and people…a promise meant to last long after the season ends.
I downloaded this freebie awhile ago and am just now getting around to reading it. I thoroughly enjoyed it! The main character, Olivia, travels back to her family's old camp resort to renovate it for her grandparent's wedding anniversary. Olivia spent many summers there as a child and teen, and while there, she met and fell in love with Conner Davis, her first love who ends up breaking her heart.
Olivia heads back to Camp Kioga with 3 failed engagements under her belt, and she's not looking for any type of romance. But who ends up being the only contractor in town who can help work on the camp renovations? Conner Davis. As they get reacquainted with each other, the chapters flashback to when they were teens at the camp, and what drew them to each other, caused them to fall in love, and what forced them apart. I generally don't like stories that use a whole lot of flashbacks (like in Sweet Valley Confidential...yuck) but I didn't mind it at all in this instance, because we got a lot more insight into Olivia and Conner.
Also, there are two sub-plots, one involving Olivia finding out a shocking revelation about her father, and the second involving Olivia's younger cousin Daisy whose parents are going through a divorce that reminds Olivia of her own parents' divorce years ago, and Julian, Conner's rebellious half-brother who is sent to spend the summer at the camp with him. Again, I generally dislike sub-plots in romance novels, because they usually involve people I don't care about, and they take away focus from the main characters. But I really enjoyed reading the back story on Olivia's father, and the budding friendship between Daisy and Julian. Apparently Susan Wiggs has a whole series of these books, focusing on the people from Camp Kioga, and I look forward to reading them all.
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Source: Freebie from B&N
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, 2011 Summer Romance Challenge, Show Me the Free E-book Challenge, 2011 E-Book Challenge