Thursday, 16 February 2017

Clare Reviews: Sweet Lake by Christine Nolfi

Sweet Lake: A Novel (Sweet Lake, #1)Title: Sweet Lake
Author: Christine Nolfi
Series: Sweet Lake #1
Format: Paperback
Source: Received in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 292
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: Linnie Wayfair knows just how many people are counting on her. But knowing doesn’t make doing any easier.
Everyone in Sweet Lake, Ohio, wants her to muster all her business sense and return the Wayfair Inn to its former glory. Her parents hope she’ll forgive her scoundrel of a brother and reconcile the family. The eccentric Sweet Lake Sirens want her to open the inn—and her heart—to new possibilities. And her hilarious lifelong friends Jada and Cat are dropping none-too-subtle hints for her to ignite a romance with Daniel Kettering, the sexy attorney who’s been pining for her for years…
Now a shocking turn of events will open old wounds and upend the world Linnie has carefully built. She has to make changes quickly—and the results, though not entirely what she expected, might be what she’s been yearning for all along.


This was so much more than I was expecting. I thought I was getting a sweet romance. And there was a really great romance. But there were also strong friendships, diverse and eccentric side characters and a family dynamic that at times broke my heart. I was engaged with every single page and every single character.

Linnie, our main character, was a delight. She was such a lovely person and I really felt for her with her insecurities and worries and cheered for her as she grew stronger and more confident throughout the novel. She was written so well that I felt everything she felt - her worries, the betrayal she felt, the love and gratitude for her friends. Her relationship, or lack thereof, with her brother Freddie hurt to read about. There's a line in the story;
"A sibling carries your history."
And that's something I agree with - I have such a wonderful relationship with my siblings and it was such a shame to watch Linnie have to do without that. She was by no means alone, however. She had the whole of Sweet Lake behind her - including the glorious Sirens, who were some of my favourite characters. And she also had her best friends Jada and Cat and Daniel - her best friend/something more.

Plot wise there is quite a lot going on which made for a very page-turning read. We have all the secrets of Freddie's business in Ohio as well as his intentions for the Inn. The latter caused me a lot of anxiety as I desperately wanted Linnie to have a complete happy ending - getting everything she could possibly want. Greedy of me, sure, but I love her as a character and she deserves all the best. Freddie was a character who, though compelling, I never grew to like. Even though Linnie was working towards forgiving him I never quite could and I was so mad at him for how he treated her! 

The romance felt very real and I definitely felt like it was a healthy and supportive relationship - which I always appreciate. Daniel was willing to push Linnie but also ready to support her no matter what she chose. And whilst it took Linnie slightly longer to come around to the idea of commitment, I could understand her reasons and trusted that she would go all in eventually. 

I was so pleasantly surprised by just how engrossed I became in this book - I was prepared for something light and enjoyable and got something that was funny and moving and exciting. I just loved it. With such a wealth of side characters I know that this series has a lot of room to move forward and I can't wait to read the next book! If you love romance then I heartily recommend this but also - if you just want strong, inspiring characters, family dynamics that feel real and an emotional, heartwarming story - then read this.

You can also find us on Goodreads (Ann and Clare) to keep up with what we are reading.

2 comments:

Christine Nolfi said...

Dear Clare,
Every review matters to an author and yet yours is extra special: it is the first review to appear in the UK for my first traditionally published work (after all those years of publishing independently). My heartfelt thanks to you for joining the ARC Team, and penning a review that shall remained taped to wall in my office for a very long time.
Warmly,
Christine

Clare Stone said...

Thank you so much! I loved reading Sweet Lake and can't wait for Book 2!

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