Date published: August 28, 2012
Genre: Women’s fiction
Book format: Hardback
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Sonnet Romano has always been organized, methodical and totally on top of whatever goal she has set for herself. Even on her first day of kindergarten she had a self-possessed character with poise beyond her years. Now, as an adult, she’s with a man who is the perfect match for her, on her way to a fellowship that will secure her future and standing by her father as he makes a run for the senate. What more could she ask for?
Zack Alger is the classic frog to a prince story—from a skinny kid whose dad embezzled from the town to a total hunk all the girls are clamouring after. As a videographer he has the unique ability to capture life’s moments in stunning videos. Zack could pretty much care less about the women who fawn all over him. Long ago one particular woman caught his eye and heart. Now he just needs her to realize they are destined to be more than friends.
Sonnet always saw Zack as her best friend. The person she could tell all her secrets to. They shared happy times, sad times and one very romantic night making love. Unable to believe what she’d done Sonnet tries to shut Zack out of her life. But something goes wrong at home, terribly wrong and Sonnet decides to move back to Avalon and her home at Willow Lake to help those she loves the most heal.
I’ve loved Susan Wiggs’ Lakeside Chronicles series from start to finish. The earlier books (Summer at Willow Lake and The Winter Lodge) are my favourites—they parallel so strongly events in my own life it felt at times that Ms. Wiggs sat down and asked me about what meant the most to me. She creates amazing characters that could well be people in your own community. Willow Lake and the town of Avalon are the kind of place you’d like to live in, if only for a short time. As the series progressed the author took on more of life’s trying moments: a terror attack, a child struggling in school, a veteran and in her latest, RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE, a series of divergent emotions and events that would make any family feel their lives are running out of control. From the thrill of a new baby to the devastation of cancer emotions pull the reader up and down through an emotional rollercoaster.
I struggled through reading most of the book. I have tried to assess if it was the combination of emotional issues or the subject matter in general that left me feeling flat about the book. At times I felt the author was trying to meet expectations of a story for Sonnet and did not feel inspired to write it. The first eight books were 400 or so pages each; RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE is 311. I applaud an author who tells the story that needs to be told and doesn’t load up a book with needless prose to hit a word count.
The couples in the earlier books had such great connections to each other and the love story parts of them left long lasting impressions. I missed seeing, catching up as it were, with the characters from the earlier books.
It was a pleasure to “see” Zack and Sonnet grow up through the series and become their own, very unique people. I loved it when Sonnet tells Orlando, aka the perfect guy, exactly what he can do with his massive ego.
I highly recommend this series and while each book stands alone and can be read out of order, reading the books in order is truly worthwhile.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.