Thursday, May 5, 2022

Waverly Lake by Mary Shotwell: Book Review

 *I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are my own. 

Kara Carter has her future set—the right photography job, the perfect reliable boyfriend, and her own apartment in New York, until one morning changes it all. She has no choice but to move back home to Waverly Lake, North Carolina, a town she had sworn off for ten years.

It's one thing to return as a failure, it's another to find her neighbor is the one and only Danny Bennett, the boy who broke her heart senior year of high school.

As Kara helps with the family's furniture business—and steers clear of Danny—she is pressured into teaming up with her dad for the Annual Waverly Lake Regatta. But when her dad's accident results in forfeiting his sailing team slot, no one in Waverly Lake can forgive her past—except Danny.

Danny Bennett, now a single father of seven-year-old daughter Hannah, can't help but be drawn to Kara. When he offers to help Kara race in the regatta, little does he know how the woman who stole his heart long ago will change the way he sees family, love, and parenting a child with autism.

Can these high school sweethearts sail through the pain of the past?

Mary Shotwell is the author of small-town romances for every season. The first book in her new small-town contemporary romance series Waverly Lake is out in May, 2022. Her first romance novel, Christmas Catch (Carina Press, 2018), received a starred review from Library Journal and was a 2019 Golden Leaf Award finalist for Best First Book. Her speculative short stories are featured in several anthologies, and her latest nonfiction story can be seen in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Simon and Schuster, 2019). She lives in Tennessee with her husband and three children and loves holidays, baking anything sweet and hosting movie nights with her kids. Learn more at

Small towns. Second chance romance. Cute kids. These are all themes that I find I really enjoy in a good story, and so when I read the blurb for Waverly Lake, I definitely felt like it would be right up my alley. 

Right from the start I was drawn into this story. I enjoyed Kara and Danny's characters, and thought the chemistry between them was really great. It was rather fast paced, and kept me intrigued every step of the way. Perhaps a little predictable at points, but personally I don't mind that in a nice romance like this one. As a parent to a child on the spectrum, I'm always a little leary about how characters with ASD are portrayed, but I felt the author did a really nice job in this one too. Overall, I found this to be a very quick and enjoyable read. 

Because I do typically review primarily review Christian fiction, I will note that this does not fall into that genre. It was a very clean read-- a few kisses but nothing beyond that. It did have very minimal language (around three uses, I believe but nothing over the top) and mention of a same sex couple and very brief mentions of potentially living together before marriage. Personally, I didn't feel like this affected my enjoyment of the story, but again because I do generally review Christian books, I want to be clear on what to expect before reading for those who might be bothered by these mentions. 


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