Meet Me at the Lake
Author: Carley Fortune
What I’m Talking About:
Meet Me at the Lake was thankfully more romance than women’s fiction because arghhhh…so much over-thinking. The story explores how depression, clinical as well as situational, can affect life choices. Main character Fern Brookbanks was raised by a single mother who abandoned all her grand plans for the future when she got pregnant and the father, a summer fling in college, refused to acknowledge the baby. Fern and her mother were intensely connected during her childhood at their family’s lake resort. It’s a large property with multiple cabins and a main lodge—think Dirty Dancing, except in Canada instead of Virginia. When Fern’s mother got pregnant, she made managing the lodge her life’s mission. The lodge is a family legacy and Fern doesn’t want the weight of that legacy. She doesn’t want her mother’s life.
But then, Fern’s mother passes away unexpectedly. Fern now has to sell decades of family history or go into the family business after all. Enter Will Baxter. Will Baxter is a consultant who helps businesses that are in trouble. He’s very well paid for what he does and unknown to Fern, her mother has enlisted his help to turn around a business that is no longer trendy. To quote Max Kellerman, “It’s not the changes so much this time. It’s that it all seems to be ending. You think kids want to come with their parents and take fox-trot lessons?”
Fern has a history with Will. It was a brief 24-hours, but it came with an emotional hit so big and so deep that it affected Fern’s choices about her life for the next year. Sometimes those unique individuals drop into our lives when we least expect them and need them most. Will does it again following the death of Fern’s mother. Fern needs his help, but she doesn’t want to need it—to need him.
Fern needs to process her mother’s passing, her decisions for her future and that of the resort. She has a lot of thinking to do and wisely choses to surround herself with good people to help make those decisions. Fern’s relationships with her mother, her ex-boyfriend (now managing the day-to-day operations of the resort,) her best friend, and Will are told in a series of well-placed flash-backs. We relive those key moments in Fern’s life with her as she comes to terms with what she now wants for the future. I’m not usually a fan of flashbacks as a means of holding back key information until the author decides to reveal it, but in this case, they work. There is an intensity to the romance which actually makes it more believable rather than less. I can recommend Meet Me at the Lake for your summer reading list. I liked it.
My Rating: B Liked It — Recommend
About the Book:
Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in the city. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t.
At thirty-two, Fern’s life doesn’t look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern’s back home, running her mother’s lakeside resort—something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend’s the manager, and Fern doesn’t know where to begin.
She needs a plan—a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips. Will may be the only person who understands what Fern’s going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago. Will is hiding something, and Fern’s not sure she wants to know what it is.
But ten years ago, Will Baxter rescued Fern. Can she do the same for him?
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): hardcover (336 pages), paperback (336 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley
Amazon (affiliate link)