Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Return to Willow LakeI would like to welcome New York Times Best Selling Author, Susan Wiggs to my blog today where we are featuring her book Return to Willow Lake, The Lakeshore Chronicles. We have a copy to give away! See below!

About the Book:
Sonnet Romano’s life is almost perfect. She has the ideal career, the ideal boyfriend, and has just been offered a prestigious fellowship. There’s nothing more a woman wants—except maybe a baby...sister?
When Sonnet finds out her mother is unexpectedly expecting, and that the pregnancy is high risk, she puts everything on hold—the job, the fellowship, the boyfriend—and heads home to Avalon. Once her mom is out of danger, Sonnet intends to pick up her life where she left off.
But when her mother receives a devastating diagnosis, Sonnet must decide what really matters in life, even if that means staying in Avalon and taking a job that forces her to work alongside her biggest, and maybe her sweetest, mistake—award-winning filmmaker Zach Alger. So Sonnet embarks on a summer of laughter and tears, of old dreams and new possibilities, and of finding the home of her heart.
At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Return to Willow Lake plumbs the deepest corners of the human heart, exploring the bonds of family, the perils and rewards of love, and the true meaning of home. Profoundly emotional and resonant, this is Susan Wiggs at her finest.

Susan Wiggs:

Susan Wiggs’s life is all about family, friends...and fiction.
She lives at the water’s edge on a Puget Sound island, where she divides her time between sleeping and waking. She’s been featured in the national media, including NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and is a popular speaker locally and nationally.
A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has received three RITA® Awards and numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. Her novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages.
Th e author is a former teacher, a Harvard graduate, an avid hiker, an amateur photographer, a good skier and terrible golfer, yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book.

I found Susan's bio from her website intriguing so I am sharing it with you. 
I hope that you enjoy it as well.

Using blunt scissors, pages from a Big Chief tablet, a borrowed stapler and a Number Two pencil, Susan Wiggs self-published her first novel at the age of eight. A Book About Some Bad Kids [I still have this-CL] was based on the true-life adventures of Susan and her siblings, and the first printing of one copy was a complete sell-out.

Due to her brother's extreme reaction to that first prodigious effort, Susan went underground with her craft, entertaining her friends and offending her siblings with anonymously-written stories of virtuous sisters and the brothers who torment them. The first romance she ever read was Shanna by the incomparable Kathleen Woodiwiss, which she devoured while slumped behind a college vector analysis textbook. Armed with degrees from SFA and Harvard, and toting a crate of "keeper" books by Woodiwiss, Roberta Gellis, Laurie McBain, Rosemary Rodgers, Jennifer Blake, Bertrice Small and anything with the words "flaming" and "ecstasy" in the title, she became a math teacher, just to prove to the world that she did have a left brain.

Late one night, she finished the book she was reading and was confronted with a reader's worst nightmare—She was wide awake, and there wasn't a thing in the house she wanted to read. Figuring this was the universe's way of taking away her excuses, she picked up a Big Chief tablet and a Number Two pencil, and began writing her novel with the working title, A Book About Some Bad Adults. Actually, that was a bad book about some adults, but Susan persevered, learning her craft the way skydiving is learned—by taking a blind leap and hoping the chute will open.

Her first book was published (without the use of blunt scissors and a stapler) by Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Warner and Mira Books. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers' conferences, including the literary institution Fields End and the legendary Maui Writers Conference. Her novel The Charm School was voted one of RWA's Favorite Books of the Year. She is the proud recipient of three RITA awards for Lakeside CottageLord of the Night and The Mistress, and is often a finalist for the prestigious award. Her books appear regularly on numerous "Best Of" lists.

Susan enjoys many hobbies, including sitting in the hot tub while talking to her mother on the phone, kickboxing, cleaning the can opener, sculpting with butter and growing her hair. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Interview with Susan Wiggs

What seven words best describe you?
SW: Immature, kind, loyal, silly, absent-minded, smart. Oh, that’s only six. Loving. I’m very loving because I’m lucky enough to have lots of people in my life to love.

If you could have 3 book characters over to dinner who would you pick, and what might you talk about?
SW: Of my own characters, I would love to put together Sonnet Romano from RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE with Isadora Peabody from THE CHARM SCHOOL together with Molly from THE GOODBYE QUILT. They are all on different paths but I think the conversation would be awesome!

Tell us a little about yourself.
SW: I am a wife, a mom, a stepmom, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a friend. I live on a beach with a view of Mount Rainier and I sit around all day and make stuff up. Besides family and friends, my favorite things in life are my dogs, my books, hiking and biking, traveling the world, yoga, skiing and drinking delicious champagne.

If you wanted to convince someone to read Return to Willow Lake, what would you tell them?
SW: I have four hungry dogs whose lives depend on my book sales. Seriously, it’s an emotional and relaxing read with what some readers would call nod-along moments. 

What character was easiest for you to write about?
SW: Zach. He was just yummy, always entertaining on the page. So was Jezebel, come to think of it.

What character is most like you?
SW: Nina Bellamy. Not that I have a similar situation to deal with, but we are both so close to our daughters.

What or who was/is your greatest encouragement as an author?
SW: My mom, for sure. Even before I could read or write, she would let me dictate stories to her. I have no memory of this, but Mom saved my illustrated stories.

Where did you get the inspiration to write Return to Willow Lake?
SW: From my readers! They inspire me every day, sharing their thoughts and lives with me. We gather on Facebook here:

What sets Return to Willow Lake apart from other books in the same genre?
SW: Gosh, I have no idea. The author photo? I would love to hear readers’ replies to this question. 

What is next?
SW: A trip to Alaska! I can’t wait!

My Review:           
           Susan Wiggs wrote a book that evokes thought and emotion throughout the story. Sonnet thinks her life is almost perfect when she receives a call from her mom, who she is extremely close to. Her mom has surprising news, but the news doesn’t come without risks. She is pregnant and the pregnancy is high risk. To further complicate matters, her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer.

          There were many times when I found myself crying while reading this book. It read like a memoir and I found myself identifying with the characters of the book and the emotions they were feeling. I felt their joy during the good times and I felt their anxiety during their trials – surgery, chemotherapy, and childbirth.

          Sonnet and her mother have an extremely close relationship. She made the decision to put her life on hold and travel back home from New York City to help her mom through this trying time in her life. The circumstances in the book led me to think about my own life. I was recently diagnosed with two rare blood disorders. I have two daughters, one of which resides in New York City, the other much closer. It made me wonder if they might make the same decisions that Sonnet did upon learning about her mother’s health.

          Return to Willow Lake is also a love story. It is about making decisions; giving up what you think to be “good enough” and instead, embracing what might be.

          There are a host of supporting characters who are quite colorful and give the book its true-to-life qualities. There is the pop queen, Jezebel, who after being arrested and put on probation, reveals her softer side. An older couple is the epitome of long-standing love and devotion. Sonnet’s biological father and his family make an appearance, and she learns a few valuable lessons along the way. Then, there is Zach, her childhood, life-long friend, who against all odds captures her heart.

          In the end, as things begin to fall into place for Sonnet, you see how blended families can be wonderful and supportive of one another; and that true love may be right where it always was – at home in Willow Lake, “where one woman will rediscover her family and her dreams, and find a surprising new love...”

          Technical: I found the book to be an easy read. The plot was engaging and the characters well developed. I think the book could fall into a number of categories: fiction, romance, women’s fiction. Return to Willow Lake has its share of romance, but it is also a story of family, and the lengths that family will go to in being there for one another. This book is part of a series, but it stands alone. If you enjoy a book that will draw you in and make you part of the story, this is a great read. 

We have a copy to give away! Just leave a comment with your name and email! This contest, as the request of the author, will only be for U.S. residents.

Return to Willow Lake can be purchased on Amazon.

and e-book:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.

While you are there, I hope you'll vote yes for my review.
Thank you!

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1 comment:

  1. This one sounds like a winner! I think it would be a good book to read at the beach...if I get to go this year! LOL
    Thanks for reviewing it, Donna. I'm off to Amazon to leave my mark!


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