Sweet Lake by Christine Nolfi

Romance, family, and the art of being true to oneself are at the heart of Christine Nolfi’s latest novel, Sweet Lake.  Moving from the fictional town of her treasured Liberty series, Nolfi gives her readers a new piece of quaint Ohio country charm in the little hamlet of Sweet Lake, where devoted daughter Linnie Wayfair is struggling to manage the family inn after her wayward brother caused a financial calamity in the town years earlier.  Now, with Linnie finally feeling like her luck with restoring the inn is changing, a new wind finds her scandalous brother blown back into town from his lucrative Hollywood career. As if it's not enough to be protecting her inn from her brother’s heartbreaking reputation, Linnie also finds herself handling heated conversations with her parents, Florida retirees with old fashioned views of women and work. Add to the mix an untimely relationship with a handsome lawyer, and Linnie's life is at full overload.  Enter the Sirens, Sweet Lake’s own unforgettable hippy-dippy Golden Girls who delight in midnight beach romps and especially helping the good people of Sweet Lake find their way in life, and in love.  As Linnie’s story unfolds, Nolfi once again proves her unique skill for creating worlds that readers will quickly and comfortable slip into.

One of my favorite things about Christine Nolfi’s stories is the colorful way she paints her characters and how vividly they come to life for the reader.  This, combined with a knack for sentiment and chemistry between her characters, makes Sweet Lake an escapist pleasure while also reaching a tender place of heartwarming honesty.  From Linnie’s budding romance with the impossibly charming attorney Daniel Kettering to her friction-laden relationship with her brother, there’s no shortage of opportunities for Nolfi to explore the bonds of love and family, and the vulnerabilities we risk in order to see them truly thrive.

Perhaps most unforgettable are Sweet Lake’s sassy, spirited Sirens who practice “kindness given in secret,” a particularly warm and wonderful hallmark of the novel's greater message.  Whether by voodoo antics or intentional heart-to-hearts (over mojitos, no less), the Sirens are a wealth of wisdom that guide Linnie in the most delightful way.

True to her credit as a teller of inspiring stories, Nolfi vividly unravels a portrait of a small town with soul which readers will cherish the opportunity to revisit.