With the release of Carley Fortune’s sophomore title Meet Me at the Lake being released on May 2nd and having missed the train on her debut novel Every Summer After, there was no time like the present to jump on this romance train! As the bookstore owner of The Starless Bookstore (an independent online store) and partnering with the wildly popular Libro.fm allowed me to listen to this audiobook for free (If you sign up now you can get your first book for free with a membership)!
What is Meet Me at the Lake All About?
Meet Me at the Lake is the story of Fern Brookbanks. Fern grew up with her mother Maggie as her only parent, raised on a family-owned resort. What Fern wants more than anything is to own her own coffee shop (and not inherit the family business). After meeting Will when he is commissioned to paint a mural on the bare walls of the coffee shop Fern works at, Will invites Fern to tour the city of Toronto. They have a kindred connection as neither wants to leave the other’s presence. At the end of the day, they make a promise to meet up a year later on the dock of the resort.
Fast forward 10 years and Maggie dies in a tragic accident. Leaving Fern to take over the business. Fate has its way with Fern and Will reuniting them under the guise of Will helping build the business back up under Maggie’s request.
My Thoughts on the Story
As I sit here and think of my thoughts for this book, I don’t know what to feel. Being a book blogger and formally giving my thoughts on countless books has heightened my awareness of what makes a compelling story.
Listening to this on audio while being told the story by the author herself makes for a story that you can get behind. But there were a few things that I didn’t like about the story itself. Let’s start with what has worked.
I loved both the characters in the story. Especially Will. He is smart and guarded but very swoon-worthy if he opened himself up a little and relaxes. Listening to his description and to the spicy scenes seduce my ears, all I can think is LORDT HAVE MERCY! He is sexy! Without telling too much about the plot. Will wanted to be an artist, was a fabulous one. But had to give up the things that he loved for something else that he loved more. His niece and sister. Not only that, it is harrowing to see him battle his mental illness and be honest (to a certain extent) about what he can and can’t do.
“He tastes like coffee and maple syrup and coming home after a long day.”
Fern clearly has a soft spot for the resort and the people in it. After the light that is her mother dies, she too is battling with herself. She takes it in stride and ultimately does what not only is best for her but making her mother proud of the actions she chooses to complete. Her relationship with her mother is like any normal mother/daughter relationship. By the end of the storyline, Fern understands her mother more than she ever thought she would.
In addition, I loved the tension and how angsty Meet Me at the Lake is. It is an emotional read, and at times finding myself tearing up. But also being full of drama and jealousy. The love story is reminiscent of your favorite movies. Pulling on your heartstrings, making you sigh, and leaving you craving the sexy scenes.
Additionally, I loved that Meet Me at the Lake was dual timelines. Jumping from 10 years ago to the current time, allowed for a better understanding of not only the plot but the characters themselves.
“Let me tell you something about me: I am extremely picky about people. Most of them, I don’t particularly like. I have very high standards for the ones I let into my life these days. And you, Will Baxter, are my favorite of all of them.”
Here’s what I needed more of. For me even listening to audio left something to be desired pacing-wise. There were sections that felt rushed while others needed a speed bump by .5x. There was also the instant love of Will and Fern. After spending a few hours together they are basically in love. Never really get to know each other in that timespan other than the certain favorites and that they each have a partner. Now, can that happen in real life? Absolutely, I myself can count that when I met my partner I fell in love with him the moment I saw him. But, in all instances, I didn’t love him just felt a deep desire towards him that increased as we spent time together.
The time needed to grow their bond never initially happened. Will makes a choice to have neither contact the other and they are just supposed to meet at the lake a year in the future. But these are necessarily a quality issue for the story, (well pacing is) but a personal preference that I didn’t necessarily vibe with.
“You’re not an escape. You’re everything.”
Overall, at this point, your question is would you recommend Meet Me at the Lake? And, the answer to that is ABSOLUTELY! Meet Me at the Lake is a cute and fun romance, hitting all of the tick marks of an enjoyable read. I would give Meet Me at the Lake 4.5 stars. And I look forward to reading more from Carley Fortune. Maybe even go back and read her debut novel Every Summer After.