“The Heart of Splendid Lake”, written by Amy Clipston, has long been in my to-read list, but I have finally gotten the chance to read it over the span of a day.
“The Heart of Splendid Lake” is a story about overcoming loss, coping with grief and also a sort of coming-of-age story. It primarily describes the life of Brianna/Brie, as we follow her from the moment she loses her father, whom she had always been very close to.
Her father was the owner of a holiday resort, and Brie is the only one amongst her sisters who stayed in her hometown and helped her dad operate it. The resort is the only home she has ever known and all her good memories with her dad are linked to it. Losing her father as suddenly as she does, pulls her into a lonely, crippling grief. She struggles while coping with her emotions and also that of her mother’s, who has taken the death of her husband very badly. On top of all this, Brie’s long-time fiancé, Taylor, is not as helpful to her in her time of need as she would have liked him to be and that compounds her loneliness and frustrations.
Amidst this emotional turmoil, she is approached by Scott, a real estate developer, who asks her to consider selling the holiday resort to him. Brie throws him out of her house, after letting him know she won’t ever sell her father’s and family’s legacy. But little does she know that the resort is deep in debt and she might lose it to the bank anyway. She is forced to seriously consider selling it, especially after her mother suffers a stroke.
To make matters more complicated, she gets into a love triangle with Scott when he helps her out after a low point. Taylor then tries to step up because of his jealousy towards Scott, and because he regrets letting her down. Thankfully, the book does manage to draw these plotlines to a satisfactory conclusion by the time it’s finished.
I am usually not a very big fan of reading love-triangle stories. But Clipston has managed to make the story very interesting to read and snare my attention towards the emotions of the principal characters, such as Brie’s conflict at her inability to make a decision both with the resort and her love interests. But at times I was frustrated by her lack of common sense.
The story, though fairly engaging, did drag in many parts — particularly in the chapters where Brie and Scott are spending time together. They were a bit too long for my taste, and it threw off the pacing of the book. To be fair, those chapters do serve as a good precedence for Brie’s vacillation, so at least they served an important purpose in the narrative.
Overall, the story is a very well-written love-triangle story with a strong character arc for its heroine. Do check this book out if you want to read a sweet, contemporary romance with deep characters.