Title: Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
Lakeshore Chronicles Series Book Eleven
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Join #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs on a journey to a charming Catskills town that feels like home and where a cast of brilliantly drawn characters awaits in a poignant story of reconciliation and the healing power of love.
Mason Bellamy’s world is fast, loud and decorated with the most extreme risks. Nothing can tempt him to give up his high-rolling Manhattan life and high-maintenance girlfriend—not even family. When he’s called home to upstate Avalon to help his quadriplegic mother in her deepest time of need, he sets his mind on temporary, determined to craft a way to care for her from a distance.
Alice Hayes is supposed to be his best solution. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet struggling caregiver as a live-in nurse gives Alice and her two daughters shelter, his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to escape to his adrenaline-pumped, no-attachments routine. But Alice’s beautiful presence promises to repair Mason’s frayed family ties. And his unstoppable attraction to Alice could lead to the most exhilarating thrill of his life.
Fan favorite Susan Wiggs returns with her beloved Lakeshore Chronicles series with her newest release, Starlight on Willow Lake. This heartwarming novel has a light romantic element but the deeper issues and personal growth of the main characters provide an extra layer of depth to the overall story.
Just as Mason Bellamy and his siblings are spreading their father’s ashes in New Zealand, they get news that their mother, a quadriplegic, has been injured in an accident at her home in Avalon. Even worse, they quickly discover their mom, Alice, has driven yet another caregiver to quit without notice. With neither his brother Adam nor his sister Ivy able to stay with her until a new home health aid is hired, Mason has no choice but to move in temporarily and help interview prospective employees. Although the two were once extremely close, Mason has kept both an emotional and physical distance from her for the past twenty years and he is not looking forward to extended visit with her.
In the years since her husband’s death, Faith McCallum has struggled financially and things have reached a crisis level for her and her two daughters Ruby and Cara when she is hired to work for Alice. Although they are unused to such elegant surroundings, the three settle in at the Bellamy estate and quickly breathe new life into the household. Faith is taken off guard by her reaction to Mason, but she has absolutely no plans or desire to act on her unwanted attraction for her employer’s son.
Faith is no pushover and she easily holds her own when Alice’s bitterness about her situation spills over into her treatment. She quickly recognizes there is more to Alice’s accident that a simple fall and she immediately takes her suspicions to Mason. Despite his reluctance to return to Avalon, his concern for his mother means a complete reorganization of his life until his brother returns from firefighter training. Mason is astonished by how much he begins to enjoy the slower pace of life in the small town and he begins to re-evaluate his future.
Alice shows a surprising interest in Faith’s daughters and although she is a bit gruff, the three share an uncomplicated friendship. Eight year old Ruby’s observations are insightful and she easily cuts through the nonsense to the heart of whatever subject they are discussing. Seventeen year old Cara has been forced to grow up too soon and she is rather cynical and jaded about her future. Alice challenges both girls to face their fears and in doing so, she becomes less prickly and more accepting of her new circumstances in life.
Faith and Mason bond over their shared concern for Alice. For the first time, Mason is able to discuss the precipitating event that caused him to pull away from his parents twenty years earlier. Their day to day lives overlap and an easygoing friendship slowly grows between them. When their feelings for one another run a little deeper than expected, Mason rethinks what he wants for his future while Faith must decide whether or not to risk her heart again.
Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs is a beautiful journey of self-discovery and healing for Mason, Faith and Alice. The entire cast of characters are multi-faceted and immensely appealing. The storyline is realistic and blissfully free of unnecessary drama or conflict. The romance between Faith and Mason is low-key and simmers in background as they each come to terms with their respective issues. A fast-paced and emotionally compelling novel that old and new fans of the Lakeshore Chronicles are going to absolutely LOVE.