Hey guys :)
I've been reading like crazy since last Friday/Thursday... I think I was able to read 6 books ^^; and so obviously, I'm again, behind on my reviews... Not that I was able to catch up, but now, I have a TBR list (To Be Reviewed) and not to be confound with a TBR pile (To Be Read) LOL. The worst is that most of the books I've just read were great! so it's quite difficult to choose which one to review first. But here we go...
The Winter Lodge by Susan Wiggs: 4.25/5
published by Mira in February 2007
Jenny Majesky's life has been busy lately. During the summer, she finally discovered who was her father and has gained a half-sister. In addition, her grandmother who've raised her has passed away and for the first time, Jenny is "alone." When she was younger, Jenny had dreams of leaving the small town to go to college and become an author. Nowadays, she is trying to write a cooking book with her grandmother's baking recipes which has made the bakery they own together so successful. However, Jenny's life takes another sudden turn when her house is destroyed by a fire. Having no where to go, she ends up living temporarily with the local police chief, Rourke McKnight with whom she has a past.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book #2
Review: Last summer, when I read Summer at the Willow Lake, the first book of this series, I was disappointed. It didn't stop me from buying The Winter Lodge as soon as it came out in store; however, I did put off this book for almost two months... and I shouldn't have. The Winter Lodge is a very good book and Ms Wiggs entirely redeemed herself with this one. Now, I can't wait to read the next one.
The Characters - We met Jenny briefly in the previous book, as she was reunited with her father and half-sister. Personally, I liked Jenny better than Olivia. I thought that she was more real, down-to-earth and likable. I understand that Olivia's parents divorce was hard on her, but it's really nothing compared to Jenny. Jenny's mother had an habit of leaving Jenny with her grandparents while she would come and leave, but when Jenny was 4 y.o., her mother left and never came back and there hasn't been news of her whereabouts ever since. Olivia has both her parents, all her grandparents, cousins, uncles and all... She had a family around her and she knew where they were, which wasn't the case with Jenny. Anyway, I'll stop comparing the two sisters. Jenny's life wasn't easy, but she was raised with love from her grandparents. When she was a teenager, her grandfather died and when she was about to leave for college, her grandmother collapsed because of a stroke. Jenny had to choose and she decided to put aside her dreams and stay at home to take care of her grandmother as well as their successful bakery. Now that her grandmother is gone, she's lonely which is understandable... What I liked about Jenny is her inner strength which made her quite an admirable person. Rourke was quite the male character, although if I ask myself, I don't really understand him. He's the quiet, intense, overprotective and over-responsible type of man... It seems to me that somehow, he thinks he doesn't deserve to be happy, but I don't know why. Also, I would have liked more insight of him... See, Rourke is the son of a senator... so why did he decide to break all link with his father and become a local police chief? So Rourke is a bit under-developed in my opinion, but still a great guy and I really liked him a lot.
There's also a panoply of secondary characters in this book, some that we've met in the previous book. One who stands out is Daisy Bellamy, Jenny and Olivia's cousin, who gets a storyline of her own. Do I understand that teenage girl, nope, but then I haven't gone through what a parents' divorce, so I can't really judge. However, it'll be quite interesting when she gets her book.
The Story & Writing- This book mainly focus on relationships, but this time, the main characters have a decent amount of screentime and their relationship actually grows and get resolves. I don't want to spoil too much, but here's the jest of it: basically, Jenny met Rourke and Joey, Rourke's best friend, when they were young and there was basically a love triangle between the three of them... However, almost from the beginning, Rourke decided to step down, because he thought Jenny and Joey deserved to be happy. Since Jenny and Joey's engagement, Jenny and Rourke have been avoiding each and it's still going on after Joey's death... till the day Jenny's house becomes ash. She needs someone and Rourke is there for her. Obviously, both love each other and I like how Ms Wiggs wrote their relationship. I also thought that the flashbacks in this book were easier to follow and made readers understand Rourke and Jenny's past better. Oh, another thing I like is how Ms Wiggs connected all the characters. It was pretty impressive to see how most of the characters knew each other, have talked to each other, had an impact in their life... it gave a book something more.
The Cover - Cover is nice, but a bit unexceptional. I think I like spring/summer scenes better tho.
Am I keeping this book? Yes :D
Anything else? Book #3 is titled Dockside and is supposed to come out in August 2007. The main characters will be Nina Romano and Greg Bellamy... Ms Wiggs is also currently working on Book #4, which will be Greg's ex-wife, Sophie Bellamy's story... hmmm, not my favorite character, but we'll see.