Title: Starlight on Willow Lake
Author: Susan Wiggs
Series: Lakeshore Chronicles, book 11
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: MIRA (September 1st)
Source: Review copy from publisher
When caregiver Faith McCallum arrives at the enchanted, lakeside estate of Avalon's renowned Bellamy family, she's intent on rebuilding her shattered life and giving her two daughters a chance at a better future. But she faces a formidable challenge in the form of her stubborn and difficult new employer, Alice Bellamy. While Faith proves a worthy match for her sharp-tongued client, she often finds herself at a loss for words in the presence of Mason Bellamy—Alice's charismatic son, who clearly longs to escape the family mansion and return to his fast-paced, exciting life in Manhattan…and his beautiful, jet-setting fiancée.
The last place Mason wants to be is a remote town in the Catskills, far from his life in the city, and Faith McCallum is supposed to be the key to his escape. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet strong-willed caregiver as a live-in nurse gives his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to return to his no-attachments routine. For Faith, it means stability for her daughters and a much-needed new home. When Faith makes a chilling discovery about Alice's accident, Mason is forced to reconsider his desire to keep everyone, including his mother, at a distance. Now he finds himself wondering if the supercharged life he's created for himself is what he truly wants…and whether exploring his past might lead to a new life—and lasting love—on the tranquil shores of Willow Lake.
One year after the avalanche that killed his father and left his mother (Alice) quadriplegic, Mason Bellany, his brother, Adam and his sister, Ivy are in New Zealand spreading his father’s ashes, as it was his last wish. But their trip has to come to an end sooner than they expected when they learned that Alice had an accident in the house, she felt down the stairs.
Returning to Avalon, they find their mother recovering from surgery. They also learn her caregiver has quit.
Alice lives in the house that Mason bought for her, with a full staff to attend her needs. Mason’s brother, Adam, also lives in the property and takes care of Alice. But this time around Adam can’t be in charge of Alice recovery because he needs to leave for training, he’s a firefighter. Ivy is also leaving for an internship in Paris. Mason doesn’t have any other option than to stay until they find a new caregiver.
Faith McCallum and her two daughters, Cara and Ruby are one day away from eviction. Getting hired by the Bellamy’s is Faith last option to put a roof over her girls’ heads.
Mason hires Faith after a very unconventional interview that showed Faith’s capabilities. Now Faith needs to earn Alice respect to keep her job.
The last thing Alice wants is to be depended of another person. She used to be a formidable athlete and despite the year that has passed, she hasn’t been able to come to terms with her new circumstances. But Faith is different than her previous caregivers; in her she finds a kindred spirit. It also helps that Cara and Ruby look up to her with admiration and don’t see her as the disabled woman she is.
Although Starlight on Willow Lake was different than what I was expecting, I can honestly say I liked everything about it. I liked its characters, I liked the story, I liked the pace, I liked the setting, I liked the writing, I liked everything.
One of the things I liked the most about Starlight on Willow Lake was that the romance was not front and center, but an organic part of the story.
It was clear since their first encounter that there was chemistry between Faith and Mason, but they didn’t act upon it for awhile for very understandable reasons. Faith didn’t want to put in jeopardy her job and Mason thought what he wanted in life was something completely different than what Faith could offer him. It took them time to leave their pasts behind to get to the perfect place they needed to be to be together. I liked that because it made their relationship believable.
One character I really liked was Alice. I can’t imagine what it must be for a person, especially an athlete, to suddenly become quadriplegic. Her bitterness was completely understandable and I couldn’t admire her more when she decided to live the best way possible despite her limitations.
Other characters I liked were Faith’s daughters, Cara and Ruby. I loved their interactions with Alice and I loved how they all helped each other to be better.
Starlight on Willow Lake is a lovely inspiring tale about grieving, healing, and the self-discovery needed to be able to move forward.
I recommend Starlight on Willow Lake to contemporary romance and women’s fiction fans.
Despite being part of a series Starlight on Willow Lake works perfectly as a stand-alone.
Starlight on Willow Lake was my first book by Susan Wiggs, but I can guarantee you it won’t be my last.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
Summer at Willow Lake
The Winter Lodge
Snowfall at Willow Lake
Susan Wiggs CD Collection
The Summer Hideaway
Marrying Daisy Bellamy
Return to Willow Lake
Starlight on Willow Lake (September 1st)
Other reviews Goodreads