In this latest addition to The Lakeshore Chronicles, Sonnet Romano finally has her life headed in the right direction. In fact, Sonnet's life is more than perfect. She has connected with her estranged father, General Laurence Jeffries, who has guided her into a career as a director at UNESCO. She has just been awarded a prestigious fellowship, which will enable her to head a program helping indigent children. Her boyfriend, Orlando Rivera, is a handsome, smart, ambitious man who is the director of her father's campaign to become a senator. In addition, Sonnet loves living in New York City. She could never imagine that her life is about to be shaken and stirred.
"Fans know that Susan Wiggs specializes in emotion-filled stories revolving around both family connections and the joys of romantic love --- and they will not be disappointed with Sonnet Romano's tale in RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE."
Sonnet had previously returned home to Avalon for her stepsister (and good friend) Daisy's wedding. At the time, she was thrilled for Daisy and pleased with her own life…but still suffered a few pangs of envy. She was shocked when her mother pointed out her once best friend, Zach Alger. Zach was no longer skinny and odd-looking. Indeed, he had become stunningly handsome. Sonnet couldn't quite resist when he invited her on a moonlight boat ride where surprisingly passionate feelings arose, leading to unexpected intimacy, which she has regretted ever since, even as her life in New York City grew ever more charmed. In fact, she knows that they have changed their friendship forever, for the worst. She refuses to answer his phone calls and texts. Instead, she will focus on her relationship with "Mr. Wonderful," aka Orlando.
Now, wanting to share her recent accomplishments, Sonnet ponders that in times past Zach would be the person she called with her good news, such as the fellowship and the fact that Orlando has just given her a key to his apartment. Sonnet is unable to reach her mother, Nina, so she calls Daisy, now an Air Force wife in Oklahoma. Daisy is ecstatic over Sonnet's relationship and career news, but also urges her to be sure to call Nina. This strikes Sonnet as a bit odd: of course she will be calling her mother.
Meanwhile, Zach yearns for Sonnet, even though he has plenty of attention from various enthusiastic women. As much as he enjoys their company, he really only wants one female: Sonnet Romano, who actually has asked him not to contact her. Zach has recently discovered that their night of passion may not be as good a secret as they had hoped. There is a rumor floating around the Internet that a certain Senate candidate has a daughter who is not averse to after-wedding hookups. The night that has complicated Zach and Sonnet's relationship has the potential to also confound Laurence Jeffries' bid for public office.
When Sonnet finally speaks with her mother, she is floored by Nina's news: Nina is pregnant. Sonnet immediately heads home, where she is startled by her mother's wan appearance. Of course, Nina is over 40 and considered to have a high-risk pregnancy. However, Zach is the one who must deliver the full truth to Sonnet about her mother's condition --- news that causes Sonnet to decide that she must remain in Avalon to support Nina.
Fans know that Susan Wiggs specializes in emotion-filled stories revolving around both family connections and the joys of romantic love --- and they will not be disappointed with Sonnet Romano's tale in RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE. Readers of this series will pounce upon it with delight, though this latest installment also functions well as a stand-alone, thanks to the inclusion of plenty of back story.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on September 6, 2012