A wounded American veteran comes to a fishing lodge in Ontario, Canada for rest and recuperation. His life is turned upside down when he meets a woman who has her own burdens to carry. She does so with such hope and determination, that he knows this is the gal for him.
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Amy Lawrence, a twenty-four year-old Canadian is determined to fight a summer of adversity. Due to rising gasoline prices and a downturn in the economy, their family fishing lodge is in financial difficulty and her father may lose it. Her neurotic mother cannot handle the pressure and is in the hospital. To add to her burden, Amy is struggling to get over a broken engagement.
An unexpected American veteran, med-evac helicopter pilot, wounded physically and emotinally, arrives at the lodge to seek privacy in the serene Canadian environment. The last thing on his mind is to fall in love with the owner's daughter but as he observes the daily strength of character she exhibits in her determination to save the lodge, his hardened heart softens. He sees a woman who loves her family, is willing to take on more than her share of the responsibility and refuses to give up. Matt realizes he wants to be more than a passing summer guest but a permanent part of Amy's future.
He moved toward her and she smelled the scent of his body, warm from the physical paddling,inches from her face. Matt reached out with both hands and gently pulled on her shoulders closing the gap between them. The paddles fell from her grip to the sand as his arms encircled her yielding frame.Resistance was futile.
Two wounded souls find each other in the middle of a dark lake, but it is the "lights from the lodge [that] beckon them home April 7, 2010
By Nicole Langan VINE™ VOICE
Stories based on real life situations always add a degree of authenticity to a writer's work. The setting of Sylvia Melvin's "Summer Guest" is based on her parents' Canadian fishing lodge. Nature is so realistically portrayed that it feels like a three dimensional character - "morning mist caressed the placid lake" to "a tender glow from an exiting sun fell on the western horizon." The beautiful imagery weaves a spell transporting the reader to a relaxing summer by the lake.
Yet amid the natural splendor lies heartache for 24-year-old Amy Lawrence. Due to a downturn in tourism caused by rising gas prices, her family is forced to put their fishing lodge up for sale. The financial crisis has caused Amy's mother to suffer a mental collapse severe enough to require hospitalization. But with her father and cook Thelma, Amy - back home after a broken engagement - is determined to keep the lodge functioning.
She certainly doesn't anticipate falling in love with a vacationing guest. A disabled veteran of the Iraq war, Matt Monroe is left with a pronounced limp, yet it's his antagonizing banter that engages Amy in verbal combat. Just as they begin to break down each other's defenses, a flirty blonde named Sonja arrives with her parents for a stay at the lodge. Sonja sets her sights on Matt, and Amy must decide if she is willing to compete for his attention.
For foodies, there are an abundance of mouth-watering passages thanks to the marvelous dishes coming out of Thelma's kitchen - "steaming fresh vegetables and tender meat, oozing with succulent juices" to "[fish] fillets turned a crispy brown" to "a huge golden-brown turkey roasting in the oven." The home-like atmosphere extends throughout the book from "the swishing sound of hot, sudsy water oozing out of Amy's mop" to "transform[ing] the bed into a resting place of blue linen and soft, navy blankets." The day-to-day chores of the lodge add a layer of detail that provides readers with a sense of comforting familiarity.
The only minor flaw is the overly catty dialogue uttered by Sonja. Her jibes at Amy come off as scripted and unnatural. For example when Matt rejects her advances she exclaims, "Men find me irresistible. Why don't you?" It's hard to imagine any woman making a similar declaration no matter her degree of projected overconfidence.
Overall, two wounded souls find each other in the middle of a dark lake, but it is the "lights from the lodge [that] beckon them home."
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