UP AT BUTTERNUT LAKE Mary McNear
Butternut Lake Series, Book 1
William Morrow
ISBN: 978-0-06-228314-6
April 2014
Women's Fiction

Butternut Lake, Minnesota Present Day

Allie Beckett's husband was killed in Afghanistan two years ago, and she still mourns him. In order to start a new life, Allie sells their house in the Minneapolis area and packs up for herself and her five year-old son Wyatt and travels north to Butternut Lake. Allie spent summers there in the family's lake cabin. She hasn't been to Butternut Lake in ten years, but she hopes to find peace out from under all the well-meaning people and their constant sympathy. Allie finds the area as beautiful as she remembers it. True, the cabin needs work and a house has been built across their bay, but they move in for the night. The next morning, Allie and Wyatt venture into town for breakfast and find that Pearl's, her remembered coffee shop, is still there and the blueberry pancakes are as tasty as ever. The diner is owned by Caroline Keegan, a motherly woman who becomes a good friend to Allie and Wyatt.

Walker Ford and his brother bought and revitalized several boatyards around the state. It is Walker who built the new house on Otter Bay. He likes it there, even though his brother is nagging him to move on to another project now that the one on Butternut Lake is running smoothly. He happens into Pearls while Allie and Wyatt are breakfasting, and Caroline introduces them. It does not go well between the two; both resent having to share the lake's Otter Bay.

Second thoughts about moving to the lake haunt Allie for quite a while, but when she makes contact with her once great friend Jax, things improve. The two women drew close one summer when they were in their teens. Jax is happily married now and the mother of three daughters with another on the way. The youngest girl is six, and she immediately befriends Wyatt, and he thrives under her enthusiastic, if rather bossy, attention.

The above is just the bare bones of the story that unfolds. The community comes alive as we are introduced to the area and the women who will carry the series. This time it's Allie's turn and her relationship with Walker, though there is a secondary plot involving Jax and a secret.

UP AT BUTTERNUT LAKE is a well written story with interesting characters and several plotlines. Be sure to get in at the start of a series that promises fine emotional and entertaining stories in a town you'll want to visit.

Jane Bowers