Tag: Susan Wiggs

Guest Review (+ Giveaway): Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs

Posted December 13, 2013 by Tina R in Giveaways, Reviews | 10 Comments

candlelight christmasTina‘s review of Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR SUSAN WIGGS INVITES YOU TO AN UNFORGETTABLE CHRISTMAS IN THE CATSKILLS

A single father who yearns to be a family man, Logan O’Donnell is determined to create the perfect Christmas for his son, Charlie. The entire O’Donnell clan arrives to spend the holidays in Avalon, a postcard-pretty town on the shores of Willow Lake, a place for the family to reconnect and rediscover the special gifts of the season.

One of the guests is a newcomer to Willow Lake—Darcy Fitzgerald. Sharp-witted, independent and intent on guarding her heart, she’s the last person Logan can see himself falling for. And Darcy is convinced that a relationship is the last thing she needs this Christmas.

Yet between the snowy silence of the winter woods, and toasty moments by a crackling fire, their two lonely hearts collide. The magic of the season brings them each a gift neither ever expected—a love to last a lifetime.

Like I have said in many of my other reviews, I adore Christmasromance stories! Every year I am searching for a new batch to read. I am so glad that I read Candlelight Christmas by Susan Wiggs – it is a quick, uncomplicated story that is as comforting as a warm, fuzzy blanket on a snowy afternoon.

The book revolves around Logan O’Donnell, who is familiar to fans of The Lakeshore Chronicles Series. He is divorced from Daisy and is co-parenting his 9 yr old son Charlie. He is very much a family type of guy, and he is trying to make the holiday special for his son. We also meet Darcy Fitzgerald, who is a newcomer to Avalon, and has recently gone through a rather tumultuous divorce. Both Logan and Daisy have had their hearts bruised, and are reluctant to surrender themselves to the possibility of finding love again.

Since I am already a huge fan of Susan Wiggs AND The Lakeshore Chronicles series, Candlelight Christmas was like the star on the top of the Christmas tree – the perfect addition to an already wonderful thing! I have thoroughly enjoyed all the books in the series, and I hope it never ends. Susan describes Avalon so beautifully that each return is always a greatly anticipated journey. I can’t wait to see what is going on with the characters that I have become so fond of.

So, if you are already a fan of Susan’s, you probably have already read this book, but if you haven’t discovered her yet, now is the time to start. I would highly recommend The Lakeshore Chronicles Series.Candlelight Christmas is the 10th book in the series, but I feel that it could also be read as a stand-alone story as well.

If you are looking for a little something to add some sparkle to your holiday reading list, this just may be what you are looking for.

4 out 5

**Giveaway** We have two print copies of Candlelight Christmas to give away (US or Canada Only). Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! **Giveaway**

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This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

 

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Posted May 7, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Holly‘s review of Summer at Willow Lake (The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 1) by Susan Wiggs.

Exploring the many facets of love and friendship, New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs evokes a summer in the Catskills, where family ties clash with family secrets during lazy days and hot, languid nights . . .

Real estate expert Olivia Bellamy reluctantly trades a trendy Manhattan summer for her family’s old resort camp in the Catskills, where her primary task will be renovating the bungalow colony for her grandparents, who want one last summer together filled with fun, friends and family. A posh resort in its heyday, the camp is now in disarray and Olivia is forced to hire contractor Connor Davis — a still-smoldering flame from her own summers at camp. But as the days grow warm, not even the inviting blue waters of Willow Lake can cool the passions flaring or keep shocking secrets at bay. The nostalgic joy of summers past breathes new promise into a special place and people . . . a promise meant to last long after the season ends.

I go back and forth about longer stories. I feel that, if written well, we become more firmly entrenched in the story and characters, and come out feeling much more satisfied than we do when reading a short story. But the key is it has to be written well. Unfortunately, the problem with longer books is that if they aren’t written well, they tend to just drag on and on. This book started out well, but by half-way through, I wasn’t sure Wiggs could pull off such a long novel.

Olivia Bellamy’s days at camp hold no precious memories for her. When her grandmother informs her that she and Olivia’s grandfather wish to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary at the family camp, where she spent all of her childhood summers, and want Olivia herself to oversee the clean up of it, she’s not pleased. But since her third engagement has just failed, she agrees. She suckers her best friend, Freddy, into going with her and they set out to re-create the camp as it was 50 years before, when her grandparents were wed there.

Once she arrives she’s forced to hire Connor Davis, her old camp flame and the only general contractor in a 50 mile radius, to help her with the renovations. Soon after, her cousin Dare and her Uncle Greg arrive, along with Greg’s two children, Daisy and Max. What happens after is a journey for each of them. Olivia tries to put the past behind her and to get over the hurt Connor caused her as a child. Connor himself has to fight his own demons, those of growing up with the town drunk for a father. Daisy and Max have to come to terms with their parents divorce, and as if that wasn’t enough, Connor’s estranged teenage half-brother shows up with his own demons to fight.

This book starts out in 2005, and then goes back to 1991 to Connor’s first summer at Camp Kioga. Then it flashes forward again, and then back to 1977, the last year Olivia’s father spent there. Then we see 2005 again, and 1991 and 1997 and..well, about 1/4 through the book, I was starting to get dizzy from all the jumping around.

I enjoyed the story of Julian, Connor’s half brother, and Daisy and Max. Plus, I liked Olivia and Connor. I enjoyed the setting of the camp as well, since it brought me back to my childhood and the one and only summer I spent at camp. The storyline itself was good, too. I’ve always been a sucker for “The One That Got Away”.

The development of the love story between Olivia and Connor was lacking. Wiggs spent so much time focussing on the past she rarely included scenes from the present. Just as we were starting to get a good feel for their relationships, whether with each other or with their family members, she’d jump back in time and ruin the moment. And she never seemed to pick up where she left off. For example: Lolly (Olivia) and Connor would be just about to share a kiss when Lolly would be transported back in time, remembering something that happened when she was younger, and then when we were brought back to the present, it would be a week later and the kiss was all but forgotten.

The constant jumping around was frustrating. From 2005, to 1991, to 2005, to 1977, to 2005, to 1991, to 2005, to 1997, to 2005, to 1991, to 1997 and so on and so on. Had the current story flow as well as the backstories, this might have worked wonderfully, but it seemed to me that Wiggs got so wrapped up in writing the character’s pasts she completely forgot to write their present.

We learned about Olivia’s past with her family and Connor’s shame at having a drunk for a father, but we never saw him fall in love with Lolly, or her with him. This should have been a powerful tale of What Might Have Been. Instead, we saw two lost souls come together but had with no connection to them, or emotion from them. Some of the scenes that should have moved me to tears left me feeling very unsatisfied, like the emotional connection I should have had with them was just out of my reach.

Overall, the story was ok. It could have been amazing, but jumping around kept me from truly connecting to the characters. This is the first in her new series, and I am curious enough to read the next book. Maybe.I’m not sure I want to invest in an 8 book series.

3 out of 5

The series:

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.