Yet amid the natural splendor lies heartache for 24-year-old Amy Lawrence. Due to a downturn in tourism caused by rising gas prices, her family is forced to put their fishing lodge up for sale. The financial crisis has caused Amy's mother to suffer a mental collapse severe enough to require hospitalization. But with her father and cook Thelma, Amy - back home after a broken engagement - is determined to keep the lodge functioning.
She certainly doesn't anticipate falling in love with a vacationing guest. A disabled veteran of the Iraq war, Matt Monroe is left with a pronounced limp, yet it's his antagonizing banter that engages Amy in verbal combat. Just as they begin to break down each other's defenses, a flirty blonde named Sonja arrives with her parents for a stay at the lodge. Sonja sets her sights on Matt, and Amy must decide if she is willing to compete for his attention.
For foodies, there are an abundance of mouth-watering passages thanks to the marvelous dishes coming out of Thelma's kitchen - "steaming fresh vegetables and tender meat, oozing with succulent juices" to "[fish] fillets turned a crispy brown" to "a huge golden-brown turkey roasting in the oven." The home-like atmosphere extends throughout the book from "the swishing sound of hot, sudsy water oozing out of Amy's mop" to "transform[ing] the bed into a resting place of blue linen and soft, navy blankets." The day-to-day chores of the lodge add a layer of detail that provides readers with a sense of comforting familiarity.
The only minor flaw is the overly catty dialogue uttered by Sonja. Her jibes at Amy come off as scripted and unnatural. For example when Matt rejects her advances she exclaims, "Men find me irresistible. Why don't you?" It's hard to imagine any woman making a similar declaration no matter her degree of projected overconfidence.
Overall, two wounded souls find each other in the middle of a dark lake, but it is the "lights from the lodge [that] beckon them home."
Summer Guest by Sylvia Melvin is available for $10.00 at Amazon.com.
A complimentary review copy was provided by Sylvia Melvin.
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