From the publisher:
THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
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?
“Fortune (Every Summer After) shines in this beautiful tale of love, loss, and forgiveness. This searing story of hard-won second chances is not to be missed.” —Publishers Weekly
“This contemporary romance is an immersive second-chance love story that will transport readers with its dual evocative settings of stunning rural Ontario and thrilling Toronto.” —Library Journal (starred review)
A Most Anticipated Book by Today ∙ Oprah Daily ∙ Katie Couric Media ∙ BuzzFeed ∙ SheReads ∙ Zibby Mag ∙ PopSugar ∙ BookRiot ∙ Culturess ∙ Her Campus ∙ The Everygirl ∙ and more!https://amzn.to/42ydo1P
Do you believe in love at first sight? That is where the story begins. Fern and Will meet, then spend 24 amazing hours together. They both have things to take care of, so they agree to meet again in one year. Will needs to end his current relationship, and Fern is working towards opening her own cafe. On the appointed date, Fern shows up, but Will does not. This is where you really have to suspend your disbelief; Fern yearns for him for ten years, never meeting anyone else that could erase Will from her heart.
The story moves between present day, the magical day they spent together ten years earlier, and her mother’s diary, which all helps to keep those pages turning. Fern is on the brink of owning her own business when her mother suddenly passes away, leaving the family business, a resort, to Fern. She returns home and finds that the resort is not doing well financially. To her surprise, Will shows up and offers to help. He tells her he had made arrangements with her mother to consult on how to improve the business.
Fern still feels that incredible attraction to Will, despite the fact he is no longer the dreamy artist she remembers but instead is some sort of business tycoon in a suit. The more time they spend together, the more they want to spend together. But Will is being a bit secretive, taking calls away from her, and acting a bit shifty in general. Something is going on, but Fern can’t determine what it is. Meanwhile, she is slowly turning the resort around, and is rethinking her original plan to sell it.
The drama arises in the form of secrets slowly revealed, but not to worry, there is a happy ending. This was a very enjoyable read, sure to be seen in many a beach bag.
6/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
MEET ME AT THE LAKE by Carley Fortune. Berkley (May 2, 2023). ISBN: 978-0593638477. 336p.