Monday 26 June 2023

Book ~ "Meet Me at the Lake" (2023) Carley Fortune

From Goodreads ~ 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 Toronto. 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 Muskoka 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?

Fern was graduating from university in Toronto when she met Will ... he was painting a mural one day in the coffee shop where she worked part time. She was expected to return to her mother's resort in Muskoka where she grew up. But she loved Toronto and wanted to stay but knew her mother wouldn't like that. Will was heading back to Vancouver the next day so offered to show Fern some of his favourite places in Toronto. They spend the day and night wandering around the city. 

Because they both had a lot going on in their lives, when they part in the morning, they make a pact to not contact each other and meet in a year's time at her mother's resort. Alas, when the date arrives, Fern is there but Will doesn't show up.

Fern had been fulfilling her dream of working and living in Toronto so rushes back to take over the resort nine years later when mother was killed in an accident. Unbeknownst to her, the resort had been having financial difficulties and her mother had hired a consultant to help her. Imagine Fern's surprise to discover all this and that it's Will. He's very different from the carefree fun artist she met ten years ago.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I thought it was just okay. I had a hard time believing that Fern had been carrying a torch for a guy she spent one day with ten years earlier and who didn't show up as promised a year later. Not a big surprise that there is a happy ending but I wasn't buying it considering the way he treated her after they reconnected. It is written in third person perspective in Fern's voice, plus there are excerpts from her mother's diary from before Fern was born. As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I liked that the story was partially set in Toronto. I've been to many of the places where Fern and Will spent their day ... Graffiti Alley, the AGO (art gallery), Kensington Market, eating nachos at Sneaky Dees, etc. Will has a buddy who lives in Liberty Village which isn't far from me.

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