Monday, February 18, 2008

Review: Snowfall at Willow Lake

Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
published by Mira in January 2008

International lawyer Sophie Bellamy has dedicated her life to helping people in war-torn countries. But when she survives a hostage situation, she remembers what matters most - the children she loves back home. Haunted by regrets, she returns to the idyllic Catskills village of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, determined to repair the bonds with her family.

There Sophie discovers the surprising rewards of small-town life - including an unexpected passion for Noah Shepherd, the local veterinarian. Noah has a healing touch for anything with four legs, but he's never had any luck with women - until Sophie. Snowfall at Willow Lake speaks from the heart about all the loves that fill a woman's life, and all the ways that love is tested and made to grow. It's the story of what comes after a woman survives an unspeakable horror and finds her way home, to healing and redemption and a new chance at happiness.
Genre: contemporary, women's fiction
Series: The Lakeshore Chronicles, book #4

The Story: The story is as described in the back blurb. I don't think I have anything else to add.

My Opinion: I dislike Sophie Bellamy and have disliked her since Book 1 of the series. I just can't stand her and was quite disappointed when I learnt she would have her own book. Ugh. She's a modern woman with an important career. Okay, I get it. I also understand why she would have difficulty to conciliate family and career. In her case, she couldn't handle family and career, so she chose her career and in exchange, she had to give up her marriage. In a way, it wasn't a bad decision, considering that the love between George and her was long gone.What annoys me about her is that she made her choice, so stops whining, stops complaining that you're misunderstood... it makes you annoying.

As for her children, perhaps I think she's a bad mother, perhaps not, I'm not even sure and that's not important... what's important is what she thinks or how she thinks and that's what makes me dislike her soooo much. 1) The way she belittles people because they don't understand the fact that she chose her career. She's all like: my work is important, why can't people understand... Because people have different priorities. 2) The way she's so reluctant to say her kids chose to live with their father over her... all because usually, mothers are the ones who have custody and she assumes that people will think she's a bad mother. Is that really important what other people think? Does the fact that your son lives with his father makes you automatically a bad mother? No, I don't think so. Actually, I think that the fact that she wanted the kids to live with her, uprooting them and making them live in a foreign country where they didn't even understand the language, that made her a bad mother. Someone so selfish that she would put her needs and her image before the happiness of her kids.

So as you can see, I didn't come in this book, liking Sophie and I surely didn't fall in love with her either. It might sound like all small details, but she just rubbed me the wrong way. The romance story? Forgettable. I don't get why Nathan was attracted to her. Sure, she's pretty, but that's about it... Also, I think that at first, all Sophie wanted was sex... not even a relationship... and I don't get how they ended up together. I mean, readers didn't really get to see the relationship develops and become more. So I think that the ending was quite unbelievable to me.

Aside from Sophie and Nathan, the book mainly focuses on Sophie becoming a mother and Sophie's kids - Daily, the single mother, and Max, the teenager. We actually saw more of these two than Sophie and Nathan's relationship...

So all in all, I wouldn't say this is really a romance... more like women's fiction instead. Also, the author is taking a break from the series, but she says she'll come back to it later... I'm going to have to see who are going to be the main characters before buying the next book.

My Grade: C-