Review: Meet Me at the Lake

Title: Meet Me at the Lake
Author: Carley Fortune
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Viking
Source: Tandem Collective
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Fern Brookbanks has wasted far too much of her adult life thinking about Will Baxter. She spent just twenty-four hours in her early twenties with the aggravatingly attractive, idealistic artist, a chance encounter that spiraled into a daylong adventure in Toronto. The timing was wrong, but their connection was undeniable: they shared every secret, every dream, and made a pact to meet one year later. Fern showed up. Will didn’t.

At thirty-two, Fern’s life doesn’t look at all how she once imagined it would. Instead of living in the city, Fern’s back home, running her mother’s Muskoka lakeside resort–something she vowed never to do. The place is in disarray, her ex-boyfriend’s the manager, and Fern doesn’t know where to begin.

She needs a plan–a lifeline. To her surprise, it comes in the form of Will, who arrives nine years too late, with a suitcase in tow and an offer to help on his lips. Will may be the only person who understands what Fern’s going through. But how could she possibly trust this expensive-suit wearing mirage who seems nothing like the young man she met all those years ago. Will is hiding something, and Fern’s not sure she wants to know what it is.

But ten years ago, Will Baxter rescued Fern. Can she do the same for him?


On June 14, ten years ago, Fern Brookbanks spent twenty-four hours with Will Baxter. He was an artist who took her on a tour of Toronto for one of her final days in the city. They hadn’t met before that day, but they made plans to meet exactly one year later at Fern’s family’s resort in Huntsville. The following year, Fern waited for Will but he didn’t show up. Now, thirty-two year old Fern is returning to her family’s resort because her mother died in a sudden accident. Fern is trying to take over the resort with no experience or desire to work there. Then, Will shows up at the resort with an offer to help her figure it out. Fern needs the help and she has been waiting for Will for ten years, but she must decide if she’s willing to open herself up to possibly getting hurt again. 

It is very hard not to compare this book to Every Summer After. It’s by the same author and has a similar storyline: a woman who grew up in Ontario’s cottage country, moves to Toronto as an adult but must return home after a death in the family and face the love of her life who she hasn’t seen in years. Probably if I hadn’t read these books back to back and if they hadn’t come out a year apart they wouldn’t have seemed as similar. Every Summer After was relatable and had a lot of strong emotions. Meet Me at the Lake didn’t evoke the same emotions in me but I liked the ending. I appreciated how much the author said in the acknowledgments that writing this one was more difficult than her first book. Every Summer After would be a hard book to follow up due to its huge success, but this one is a good summer beach read. 

Meet Me at the Lake is a great second chance summer romance!

Thank you Tandem Collective and Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy!

Content warnings: death of parent, anxiety, marijuana use, death by car accident, parental abandonment, teen pregnancy

What to read next:

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Have you read Meet Me at the Lake? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

2 thoughts on “Review: Meet Me at the Lake”

  1. In the netherlands, both books got published 1.5 months apart. So, I’m not super keen on reading this book anytime soon as I wasn’t blown away by Every Summer After. Thank you for this review!


  2. I’ve never read these books but I keep seeing them pop up for romance books. I do have to say the cover gives off such a summery vibe. Now to think the covers are very similar and it seems they aren’t related. Might check out at least one of them to see what I think of the author.


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