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Friday, August 8, 2014

Butternut Summer: A Novel

Summer is a time for more than simply a change of seasons. It's a time for reflection, a time of rest and of course a time for romance. In the latest novel from the Butternut Lake Trilogy by Mary McNear, we once again found ourselves in the small town of Butternut Lake, Minnesota. A small town where everyone knows everyone and most have grown up here and decided to keep their roots.

Daisy Keegan is home from college and working as a waitress in the diner her mother owns and manages, Pearls. Famous for blueberry pancakes, great conversation and the feel of warmth among the locals who visit here, Daisy is hoping to reunite her broken family of 18 years. Without her mother's knowledge during the last year, Daisy has reestablished the relationship with her father Jack who left them both. While the process has been slow, it has been mending each time they visit and Daisy is hoping that an unscheduled lunch date with her parents is just the thing to get them talking at least. But she isn't thinking of her mother when she is making these plans and how she might feel having her ex-husband not only meeting her for lunch but moving back to Butternut Lake. She only remembers the Jack that walked out on them after drinking, gambling and cheating on her, 18 years ago. She has finally moved on with her life, without Jack.

But Jack has more on his mind than simply trying to restore his family. It's time to convince Caroline why he really left in the first place. That despite what she thinks of him, he has changed. He still is the man who fell in love with her 18 years ago and wants nothing more than a second chance, but knows he truly has his work cut out for him. Daisy and Caroline are both struggling in their own ways, with Daisy coming to terms with what she hopes life is going to offer now that she is done with college in a small town like Butternut Lake. Caroline has her own secrets in struggling to figure out how she can continue to make the loan payments on the Diner when the economy is so bad. If she doesn't think of something soon, the bank will foreclose on the business leaving her without a job or a home.

I received Butternut Summer: A Novel from Mary McNear compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I couldn't wait to pick this series up again after reading the first novel, Up At Butternut Lake. For me, one of my favorite summer memories of a child was spending time at our family's lakeside cabin and enjoying a time of love and relaxation. In this novel we see the flaws of all the characters in this novel. Jack is trying to chance after a life of destruction with alcohol and women and is trying to start over again with Caroline. He realizes he has a way to go to show her that he has changed even though he has managed to convince their daughter to give him a second chance. Daisy is struggling with her own identity now that she has graduated college and is trying to find a life to begin without knowing what comes next. Caroline is trying to find a way to get out from under the financial crisis she is hiding from everyone and simply hopes something will come up soon that will answer her problems.

This book does contain some sexual content and thus may not be suitable for young adults so caution is advised. I guess for me the best part of this novel is that things are not easily solved for any of the main characters. The novel doesn't race to the end to give you the resolution you're hoping for and I love that Daisy is willing to think things through in regards to her relationship with former bad boy Will Hughes instead of merely jumping at the opportunity of romance even though she places herself at times in dangerous places with Will, knowing his reputation. For me, Jack is my favorite character, because he isn't about the quick fix but about showing both Caroline and Daisy that he has change from his former life and that he isn't the same man who left them 18 years ago. That takes guts to come back and deal with the implications of the wrong choices you made in the past. Perhaps it gives us hope for second chances and for forgiveness with those we call family. I rate this novel a 4 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Butternut Summer: A Novel, Mary McNear or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can also find Mary McNear on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Butternut Summer, please visit William Morrow's website. 

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