Title: Butternut Summer by Mary McNear
The Butternut Lake Trilogy Book Two
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
Return to the golden beauty of Minnesota’s Butternut Lake in this emotional story that vividly captures the joy and pain of first love, as a mother and daughter each come to terms with the desires of her heart.
Summer at Butternut Lake—a season full of surprises . . . and life-changing choices.
Preparing for her final year of college, Daisy is crazy busy now that she’s back at Butternut Lake. She’s helping her mother, Caroline, run their coffee shop and trying to build a relationship with the absentee father who’s suddenly reappeared. She never expected to fall in love with Will, the bad-boy from high school who works at the local garage. With every passing day she and Will grow closer to each other . . . and closer to the day they will have to say goodbye. As summer’s end looms, Will and Daisy face heartbreaking choices that might tear them apart.
Caroline already has her hands full trying to make ends meet at the coffee shop without having her no-good ex suddenly show up. Now that Jack is back, he’s determined to reconnect with the family he walked out on twenty years ago. But with the bank pounding on her door and Jack’s presence reminding her of the passion they once shared, Caroline’s resolve begins to crumble. As Daisy’s departure looms and her financial worries grow, Caroline just may discover the support she needs . . . in the last place she ever imagined.
Butternut Summer is the absolutely charming second installment in Mary McNear’s delightful Butternut Lake Trilogy. With central themes such as forgiveness, trust and the age old question which ponders whether people can truly change, this novel also features a dual storyline with both Caroline Keegan and her daughter Daisy both finding love over the course of a summer.
Caroline’s tumultuous marriage to Jack Keegan ended in divorce after he walked out on both her and their daughter Daisy. Unbeknownst to Caroline, Daisy and Jack have repaired their fractured relationship and in fact, Jack is moving back to the small town of Butternut Lake. Jack would like nothing better than to reunite with Caroline, but she is nowhere near ready to forgive him for his past transgressions nor is she willing to trust his claims that he is a changed man. Adding to Caroline’s stress is the financial crisis she is facing with the family owned business. But it is Daisy’s out of character relationship with Will Hughes, an auto mechanic with a questionable past, that is the biggest source of frustration to this overprotective mom.
Daisy’s romance with Will figures most prominently and it is incredibly sweet watching them fall for one another. The two have the disadvantage of coming from completely different backgrounds, but their budding relationship becomes a catalyst for Will to find a new direction for his life. Daisy is about to embark on her senior year of college and while her future has a few uncertainties, she is a smart, capable young women who remains focused on her career goals. Will’s family life is heartbreaking but seeing himself reflected through Daisy’s eyes gives him the direction he has been lacking up until now.
Caroline’s past with Jack colors her present day viewpoint of both Will and Jack and she stubbornly clings to her opinion that neither of them deserves a second chance. Caroline and Daisy have always been close, but during this summer of change, she is feeling disconnected from her daughter. Her relationship with Jack is adversarial at first, but slowly, Caroline begins to see that Jack is different than before but she is afraid to trust that he won’t revert back to the man he used to be. With a financial deadline fast approaching, Caroline finds help from a very unexpected source when she finally shares the burden she has been carrying on her own.
Jack knows that trying to get back together with Caroline is going to take a lot of time and patience on his part. He respects the boundaries Caroline places on their relationship and he bides his time trying to show her he has truly turned over a new leaf. Jack has overcome a lot of his past demons but he knows he must remain vigilant to avoid falling back into the destructive lifestyle he has worked so hard to escape. Caroline’s realization that Jack is serious about the changes in his life is gradual but that is what makes the resolution of their part of the storyline so realistic.
Butternut Summer is a thought-provoking novel with a warm and inviting setting, a likable and sympathetic cast of characters and a credible storyline that is very heartwarming. An easy to read and engaging romance that is heartfelt and moving, this latest addition to Mary McNear’s delightful Butternut Lake Trilogy can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the entire series.