Thursday, June 22, 2023

REVIEW: Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune


After reading Every Summer After, I stalked all the places I knew to stalk to find out when Carley Fortune would be releasing her next book and as soon as it was available on the Libby app, I downloaded it. Honestly, I didn't really even know what Meet Me at the Lake would be about, I just knew that if it was anything like her debut, I'd enjoy it. I think I naturally assumed it would be connected to the first book and might have been a smidge disappointed when it wasn't, but that disappointment quickly faded into nothing as I was quickly taken with the story of Fern and Will. And by the end, I enjoyed it even more than Every Summer After

Just like Every Summer After, the narrative of Fern and Will swings between the past and present. We get to see their first meeting and then their second; we get to know them as they were and as they are. We learn how they ended up so far from where they originally thought they would be and mixed in with that we get to know their losses and complications and everything in between. And finally, we get to see the hows and whys of them falling in love, how they almost break it, and how they end up making it work. One added addition? Journal entries of Fern's mom (which will all make sense once you read it). 

When I take a minute to think about why I prefer Meet Me at the Lake to Every Summer After, some of that has to do with the how less anxious I was as I was reading. Fortune's first novel had me twisted up in anxiety knots way more than this novel and while I appreciated the tension it created in the first novel, it made me so antsy. In this novel, the anxiety level was way lower and I felt like I could really enjoy the story of these characters. I also enjoyed how honest and flawed they were and how willing they were to learn and improve. Other things were: Fern and her tough, filterless demeanor, Will and his gentle-family first moral code, the Roses, the whole premise of where Fern grows up and ends up, and just the whole vibe, now that I'm thinking about it. 

Meet Me at the Lake was the right book at the right time. I needed a romance that had a little bit of everything and wasn't too deep or too shallow, a romance that was easy to read and follow, and a romance that has me excited for the next one that she writes. A great summer read. 



A random connection sends two strangers on a daylong adventure where they make a promise one keeps and the other breaks, with life-changing effects, in this breathtaking new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Every Summer After.

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?


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