BUTTERNUT SUMMER – Mary McNear
Butternut Lake Series, Book 2
William Morrow Paperback
eBook ISBN: 978-0-06-228317-7
Butternut, Minnesota, the Present
Daisy Keegan is home from college for the summer. She grew up in the small northern town of Butternut near one of the prettiest lakes among the state's 10,000 plus. She and her mother live above Pearl's, the coffee shop established by her grandmother and now owned by her mother, Caroline. Her father walked out on his wife and daughter eighteen years ago, and the only contact since was through the divorce and the monthly child support checks. That is, before Jack Keegan looked Daisy up a year ago in Minneapolis where she attends the university. They met several times since—unknown to her mother—and now Daisy, home for the summer, is in a hurry to get back to Pearl's to have lunch with her mother after her trip to Ely getting supplies for the restaurant. Caroline doesn't know it, but Daisy arranged for Jack to be there, too. But now her mother's old truck is giving Daisy trouble; she has to stop at a service station where she's lucky to find a mechanic on duty.
Will Hughes cares for little but working on cars, though he's grateful to his friend Jason and his family for the only taste of family life he ever experienced, and for Jason's dad teaching him mechanics and giving him a job. Will hated school and was always in trouble for one thing or another. The only bright spot during his high school years was sitting in the top row of the bleachers watching the girls' championship volleyball team…more specifically its star, Daisy Keegan, an honor student and a “good girl” far above his “bad boy” self. When she walks into the shop and stays while he replaces the truck's fan belt, she talks to him in an ordinary way.
Daisy recalls Will from the class a couple of years ahead of her in school. Something clicks between these two very different people.
Meanwhile, Jack arrives at Pearl's, but Daisy isn't there. He asks for Caroline, whom he has always loved no matter how he messed up his own life. Now that he has changed himself for the better, he wants to move back to Butternut and explore possibilities with his ex-wife. He let Daisy plan this surprise meeting, though he's afraid Caroline will hate it…and him. To say Caroline is shocked when she sees Jack sitting at a table in her restaurant is a huge understatement…not only shocked but angry, and she lets him know it. She's somewhat hurt that her daughter could have kept her meetings with Jack a secret from her.
I wasn't sure whether to label BUTTERNUT SUMMER a romance or women's fiction, but settled on the former. After all, there are two possible romances, as well as the strong mother/daughter storyline. It's very much a character driven tale with relationships at center front. It's strong on forgiveness and second chance themes. It also has a warm, small town setting with several other interesting people.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series, UP AT BUTTERNUT LAKE, and this second one just as much. You would, too.