Series: Smoky Mountain
Publication Date: 9/29/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
A special thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Lin Stepp, returns with another installment of her charming Smoky Mountain series, with SAVING LAUREL SPRINGS, a camp rental assembly resort with picturesque cabins in dire need of repair--as well as those who own, and manage the property.
Rhea and Carter’s family has owned the Laurel Springs Resort in the heart of the Smoky Mountains for years. She has longed to fix up the resort with rental bikes, washer and dryers, new computers, and updates to the assembly church, and grounds with new equipment and gazebo by the lake--however, the money is not there to make the repairs.
They had planned to attend college together; however, it did not work out, as Rhea found excuses, and Carter moved to California and married someone else. However, when he returns to Laurel Springs, Jeannie and the others want them to be friends so they can hang out. Rhea is not so sure about those plans, as those times were gone. She thinks he is a traitor. If it was not summer and the height of tourist season, she would take off on a trip somewhere to avoid laying eyes on him. He was a snake.
She hated him for what he did to her and how he hurt her. Jennie must be crazy to think she would want to buddy up to him and be chummy friends again. They had grown up together, had been best friends through childhood and sweethearts later on.
He reeked of money, was sophisticated, and drove flashy cars. Now he has a son, Taylor the spitting image of Carter at the same age. Now for their first meeting she is in her old work clothes and caught off guard.
Their dreams of saving the family vacation resort did not work out the way she planned. She resents staying in the town and working, while he moved on with another life. Now he is back and says he is planning on staying with old unfinished dreams. She knows it has been here all along so why come back now.
Will Rhea resent Carter using his money and wealth to try and come back to revitalize Laurel Springs, and save the day. If she really wants these changes, why is she not happy?
However, Rhea is bitter and has not thought about Carter’s life. She knows it probably cannot compare to his fancy adventurous life in California. Did he really want her to come to California, years ago? What really happened all those years ago?
As the summer moves on Rhea felt more uncomfortable around Carter as they had revealed their hearts to each other and yet she still found herself unable to let go of the past. As the renovations continue and the excitement about the transformation and tourism heats up bringing fall retreats and workshops to Laurel Springs, she thinks more about the covered bridge and its traditions. Can she get past her anger to move forward with a future? Can she accept his son, Taylor?
A heartwarming story of miscommunication, love, friendship – when things are not always as they seem. When selfish turns to selfless; a story of second chances.
Lin Stepp always delivers a backdrop of beauty with her settings and well-developed flawed characters, for a life lesson and take away of the strong power of love. Having read the other books in the series--each can be read as a standalone; however, you will want to read them all. I was not wild about Rhea's character; however, liked Carter--she appeared to always blame someone else for her life, yet not doing anything to change her circumstances.
Fans of Susan Wiggs and her Lake Chronicles– will enjoy the camp setting, light romance, friendship, family and special memories. I have worked and stayed at similar properties—and enjoy the nature and cabins, as a way to recharge, read, with great hiking, cycling, and waterfalls….soothing for the soul.(especially in the autumn-my favorite time of the year).
Looking forward to the ninth book in the series, “Welcome Back,” while revisiting with with familiar characters, coming next spring. Set in Maggie Valley area--have spent some time visiting in the area, with fond memories, as a child.