cover image Meet Me at the Lake

Meet Me at the Lake

Carley Fortune. Berkley, $18 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-43855-8

Fortune (Every Summer After) shines in this beautiful tale of love, loss, and forgiveness. Fern Brookbanks, 32, reluctantly returns to Muskoka, Canada, from Toronto, to run the family business—Brookbanks Resort, a “Dirty Dancing-style” lakeside retreat—following her mother’s death. The business is in disarray, but unbeknownst to Fern, her mother hired a business consultant before her death: Will Baxter, the mystery man with whom Fern spent one magical day 10 years before the start of the book—and who broke her heart when he stood her up on their planned reunion one year later. Fern is thrown for a loop by Will’s reappearance and much changed behavior, but their chemistry is as strong as ever. They tentatively rekindle their relationship, until an emergency has Will questioning his priorities—including his relationship with Fern. Fortune toggles between Fern and Will’s whirlwind, 24-hour romance and their present day rekindling to showcase her characters’ changing hearts. The emotions are big, messy, and realistic as the protagonists’ path to forgiveness has some unexpected twists. A solid supporting cast—especially Fern’s ex-boyfriend, Jamie; her best friend, Whitney; and her mother’s longtime companion, Peter—underpin the narrative. This searing story of hard-won second chances is not to be missed. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (May)