Review of Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune
Summertime is the backdrop to Fortune's Meet Me at the Lake, light fiction with an anchor in deeper issues, some steamy scenes, conflicting feelings surrounding coming home again, shifting dreams, and a satisfyingly layered resolution.
Thirty-two-year-old Fern Brookbanks has pinned most of her romantic dreams on Will Baxter--despite the fact that they spent only 24 hours together in their twenties.
A chance encounter blossomed into a glorious connection and a pact to meet up one year later at her family resort...but while Fern showed up to their romantic meet-up, Will did not.
By all appearances, Fern has moved on. She's had her share of dalliances, she's been working toward her dream of owning an urban coffee shop, and she's aggressively avoided moving home.
Then everything is upended by tragedy. Now Fern is trying to figure out how she ended up at home, working with the people she grew up being babysat by, or dated as a youngster, or saw every day for months in the dining room of the lakeside resort restaurant.
Her longtime family friends are supportive and a welcome, essential part of her life, but is living at the lake and taking on the revamping of the resort what Fern really wants?
To complicate matters, guess who shows up to meet Fern, nine years late--and who has also contracted with her mom to shore things up at the resort?
Early in my reading I messaged my friend Hannah, who had just read this book, how I appreciated that the two main characters addressed the Longtime, Big Misunderstanding almost immediately. I'm almost unfailingly frustrated when protagonists are slipped up by various unlikely obstacles and can't manage to discuss the issue that has kept them apart. Here, Fortune doesn't allow for a quick or simple resolution, but the initial acknowledgment of the issue at hand satisfied me--as did the complexity of and exploration of the situation between Fern and Will, past and present.
Within this summertime setting Fortune explores heavy issues related to mental illness, sudden death, unplanned pregnancy, substance abuse--and also the complicated joy of having friends like family, facing responsibility and challenge, and acknowledging when long-held dreams have changed.
The banter is fun, there are some steamy scenes, and I believed in the relationship and its ups and downs.
Meet Me At the Lake is narrated by A.J. Bridel & Carley Fortune. I received a complimentary audiobook version of this title courtesy of Libro.fm and Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?
Carley Fortune is also the author of Every Summer After, a book I really liked.