Mystic Summer Hannah McKinnon

book cover

Published:Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Date: June 7th 2016
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
4 stars                   Add to Goodreads

Since finishing graduate school, Maggie Griffin has worked hard to build an enviable life in Boston. She’s an elementary school teacher in a tony Boston suburb, a devoted sister, and a loving aunt. With her childhood best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her own relationship blossoming, this is the summer she has been waiting for.

But when Maggie’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, her life begins to unravel. Stricken, Maggie returns home to seaside Mystic, Connecticut, where she expects to find comfort in family and familiarity. Instead, she runs into Cameron Wilder, a young man from her past who has also returned home, and whose life has taken a turn that puts Maggie’s city struggles in harsh perspective. When tragedy strikes for Cameron, Maggie is faced with big decisions as she weighs what matters most and strives to stay true to the person she’s become.

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Mystic Summer is a delightful story of a woman reassessing where she is going in life and making the right adjustments. We make the journey with her. The school year is winding down, and it looks like Maggie might have to look for another job. 
Evan her “everything is so right” boyfriend seems perfect for her. He is thoughtful and handsome and in a TV series. However as Peyton (a friend) points out pertinently there are one or two differences that could count.
Then there is Cameron and the adorable daughter Emory. Since Cameron and Maggie were very good friends way back when Cameron has moved on, and moved back to Mystic. However there is a mother for Emory in the wings. So while Maggie feels some heartstrings being pulled that doesn’t seem to be viable.
Set against a backdrop of a beautiful part of the USA, Mystic Summer is a romantic story. Maggie takes her time coming to know her heart and making some big decisions.
I was a little disappointed with the ending, I wanted a little more, perhaps an epilogue, but aside from that a life-affirming story that I really enjoyed.

The Lake Season. Hannah McKinnon

book cover

The Lake Season
Hannah McKinnon
Published: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Date: June 2nd 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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Iris Standish has always been the responsible older sister: the one with the steady marriage, loving family, and sensible job. But this summer, as her carefully-constructed life spins out of her control, a cryptic postcard from her beautiful, free-spirited sister Leah arrives at the perfect time: Please Come. Iris seizes her chance to escape to her childhood lakeside home, where Leah is planning her wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met.

Still, despite the rush of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Iris is learning to put herself first. And amid a backdrop of late-night swims and a soul-restoring barn renovation comes Cooper Woods, an old friend who beckons with the promise of a new start.

But Leah has secrets of her own, and while her sister faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say good-bye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As Hampstead Lake shimmers in the background, Iris must decide when to wade in cautiously and when to dive—and, ultimately, how to ferry herself to safe harbors in this enticing novel of sisters, second chances, and the ties that bind.

My thoughts banner
The Lake Season by Hannah McKinnon was a book that I enjoyed.  Iris is married to Paul and they have three children, Sadie thirteen, Lily and Jack.  All is not well in the household, the opening of the novel portrays a chaotic household that reeks with heaviness.  Paul and Iris no longer communicate.  Sadie is being a typical young teen and Iris seems to be getting things ‘wrong.’
When Iris receives a plea from her sister to come home to help her with last minute preparations she decides to go. She leaves Paul to handle things at home.  When Iris arrives home we meet her family, her mother Millie who I found a little odd, but she obviously loves her daughters.  Her sister Leah is acting really strange too.  She appears somewhat unstable. Add in Iris herself who is struggling with her marriage issues and life is rather filled with tension.  The interactions of mother and daughters, and sisters was thought provoking, so much holding back, not everything shared.  What is going on under the surface?
Iris really needs this time apart from her family to reassess her life, to discover what she values and where is life and happiness for her.  Right up until the very end of the novel I was not sure exactly what she was going to choose.  I liked her friend Trish, she was a supportive friend and sister like figure in Iris’ life.  Iris is responsible – always has been, her family comes first, however is she going to be swallowed up by that and relegate her own needs to the bottom of the pile? I knew what I wanted her to do, and as I said above I wasn’t sure until the end what it would be.  At 96% read I was becoming worried!
Themes of family, being happy, marriage, children, being a parent, being valued and communication or the lack of it run right through this novel.  The importance of not keeping important information back, being honest is so key.  Lack of it breeds distrust.  I think this book would be a good book club book as I am sure it would engender quite a bit of discussion.
4 stars