Butternut Summer by Mary McNear
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 12th by William Morrow Paperbacks (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Indigo – Indiebound – Amazon
Note: As a tour host selected by TLC virtual book tours, I received a complimentary copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are completely honest and completely my own.
Butternut Summer is the second book in the Butternut Lake trilogy. It is the sequel to Up At Butternut Lake, but focuses on Caroline and Daisy Keegan rather than Ally Beckett and takes place three years later. Butternut Summer begins with the same feel as Up At Butternut Lake; quiet, quaint, and comfortable. We are face to face once again with some of the same loveable characters from the first novel, but seen in a different light.
It’s summer again in Butternut, and Daisy Keegan is home from school. She and her mother Caroline live in the apartment above the diner they own and run—Pearl’s. One day when Daisy is out with her mother’s truck, she runs into engine troubles. Pulling into the nearest service station, Daisy meets Will. Or rather, reconnects with him as they went to the same high school. There’s an immediate connection, one that Daisy has never felt before. Does Will feel it too?
Little does Caroline know that while Daisy is at the service station, Caroline’s ex-husband is on his way to Pearl’s. He left Caroline and Daisy 18 years ago, and seemingly never looked back. A year ago Jack Keegan reconnected with his daughter Daisy, and now she has arranged for a lunch reunion with her parents. However, the fact that Jack Keegan would be there was kept from Caroline. Jack is eager to see Caroline, but Caroline would be just fine if she never saw Jack again. In fact she’d prefer it that way—at least that’s what she tells herself.
Ultimately, Butternut Summer is a heartwarming tale of family, first love, and second chances. As women’s fiction—or chick lit—it achieves everything it should, without reaching the cheesy mark (although there was the rare occasion when it came close). It was a light, enjoyable read without being too light. It was thoughtful, but not too serious.
There are a few prolonged scenes of a sexual nature, but they were not graphic in the same way that many are. The lead up is described in detail, but the “making love” is left up to the imagination. That is what McNear refers to it as—making love—and her descriptions are fitting of the name. The people involved really love each other, and that is evident. However, it often comes close to passing the PG-13 mark (probably does pass it, really), which at times was a little much for me.
There were some adjectives that were overused (sometimes heavily), and there was a scene or two that felt a little contrived, but overall, it was a good chick lit novel. This series feel like a country version of something Emily Giffin would write!
If you like women’s fiction/chick lit, you should give this series a try!
Content warning: Some steamy, but not sexually explicit, content.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary McNear is a writer living in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.
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Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.