Lake Season

Lake Season

by Denise Hunter

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Overview

The first story in a brand-new series, Lake Season invites readers to the Bluebell Inn in a small North Carolina town where a lost letter, a chance for new love, and old secrets beckon.

When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream of turning their historic Bluebell, North Carolina, home back into an inn. Staying in town would be temporary—three years at most—then they plan to sell the inn, and Molly can get back to chasing her own dreams.

Adam Bradford (aka bestselling author Nathaniel Quinn) is a reclusive novelist with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to the setting of his next book, a North Carolina lake town. There, he meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.

Molly and Adam strike up an instant friendship. When Molly finds a long-lost letter in the walls of her inn, she and Adam embark on a mission to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But Adam has secrets he isn’t ready to share. Past and present collide as truths surface, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.

Praise for Denise Hunter:

“Nobody does summer romance better than Denise Hunter.” —JULIE LESSMAN, award-winning author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785222729
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 11/12/2019
Series: A Bluebell Inn Romance Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 92,041
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. To learn more about Denise, visit her website DeniseHunterBooks.com; Facebook: AuthorDeniseHunter; Twitter: @DeniseAHunter; Instagram: deniseahunter.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Ten months later

Adam Bradford was nobody's idea of a hero. His eyes swept past his reflection in the rearview mirror of his rental car as he pulled up to the curb at the edge of downtown Bluebell.

He did have that crooked nose that seemed so popular on the heroes of romance novels, but he hadn't gotten it in a fistfight. He'd gotten it at the library while unshelving a difficult-to-reach hardcover copy of Moby Dick. And while he might be trim and fit, he did not sport rippling abs, a chiseled jaw, or even the requisite cleft chin. It wasn't just his ordinary looks either. He wasn't particularly adept with people, especially the fairer sex. The irony was not lost on him. But there were certain things at which he was extremely proficient. Writing — that went without saying — academics, research, planning. Adam was a planner and a plotter, but this time his preparations had completely backfired.

He looked at the majestic white house, likely turn-of-the-century, situated on a shady lawn about twenty feet off the busy sidewalk. There was no sign indicating it was an inn, but his app listed it as such, and he was getting desperate.

He exited the sedan, maneuvered around a small Dumpster, and followed a walkway past a dirty Bobcat and up to the massive porch. The front door, an old wooden behemoth, was open, a positive sign. He stepped over the threshold to the sudden sound of a circular saw.

There was a grand staircase directly ahead and, to the left of it, a tall mahogany stand that appeared to be a check-in desk. It was unmanned, however, and devoid of a bell. He opened his mouth to call out, but before he could utter a word a head peeked around the corner to the right of the staircase.

"Oh good, you're here. Help!" Dark hair swung over the slim shoulder of a woman he guessed to be in her early twenties.

She had the kind of natural beauty he associated with soap commercials, and he could easily picture her a few years ago, walking across a football field on homecoming night on the quarterback's arm.

He pushed his glasses up. "Excuse me?"

"Can you just come here and hold this? This stupid, dumb ..." She muttered the rest too quietly to be deciphered.

The wooden floor squawked under his brown leather Clarks. He found her sitting on the floor of a massive living room amongst wooden boards of various shapes and sizes; a random pile of nuts, bolts, and screws; and an oversized white instruction sheet, unfolded and tossed to the side. A large box featuring the photo of a gleaming wooden stand sat off to the side.

"If you could just hold this end while I finish this ... I think I'm finally headed in the right direction."

He knelt, doing as she asked.

"Thank God you're here. Grace bet me I couldn't figure it out, and she's due home from school in an hour. How was I to know the directions wouldn't be in English? And the pictures! Do you see those?" She jerked her chin toward the instructions. "It's like a kindergarten class project gone awry."

She tossed her hair over her shoulder, and the clean apple-y smell of it drifted his way. He looked at the picture on the box and tried to make sense of the few pieces she'd fastened together so far.

"I'm Molly, by the way, Levi's sister, but I guess you already know that."

He tried to process the simple sentence but was distracted by that scent. And the smudge of something white — chalk? — on her nose.

She blinked at him, obviously waiting for a response.

Heat flushed his neck. "Adam Bradford. Um, what language?"

"What?" She spared him a glance, her eyes returning to focus on the screw she was forcing into a too-small hole.

"The directions — what language?"

"Oh, they're in French. This is North Carolina, people. I mean, Spanish maybe. But French? I don't know a single soul who speaks it."

With his free hand he reached for the instructions. As he began reading them to himself it didn't take long to see they were going to have to start over.

"See what I mean?" she said. "Impossible."

When she finished with the screw he let loose of the board and scratched his chin. "I, ah, have good news and bad news."

She looked up at him, and he immediately got caught in her wide amber eyes.

"Let's have the good news first. I'm an optimist when I'm not under pressure to prove myself. And okay, there's a bet on the line. But it's only an ice cream cone. And my dignity. Mainly, my dignity." He noted flecks of color in her irises, ranging from milk chocolate tones to gold. All that intriguing complexity was framed by luscious dark lashes. Utterly mesmerizing.

"Um ... the good news?"

He cleared his throat, a hot wave of embarrassment sweeping into his face. "I — I can speak it. That is, I'm fluent. In French, I mean." Just not his mother tongue, apparently.

"Are you kidding me? That's awesome. What does it say?"

He gave her a look of warning. "That's the bad news. I'm afraid we'll have to start over."

Her face fell, turning her mouth down in an adorable pout. "Oh, doggonit. It took me forty-five minutes to get this far."

Could she be any cuter? Adam dragged his gaze from her lips. "It'll go fast, now that we have directions."

"Good point."

They made quick work of separating the pieces she'd assembled, being careful not to strip the screw holes. Then he set to work on the instructions.

"Read it out loud, in French," she said brightly.

Okay ... maybe she was the curious sort, an eager learner. He could respect that.

He did as she asked, translating internally as he went, and directed her through the beginning stages of the project. While the sketches were, indeed, a jumble of splotchy lines, the written instructions were clear and concise.

As they made quick work of the assembly Adam was barely cognizant of the background noises: intermittent hammering, voices coming from upstairs, and the saw he'd heard earlier, periodically making him raise his voice to be heard.

Molly held pieces in place while he worked in the screws and tightened bolts. She had small hands with long fingers that tapered down to neat, unpainted fingernails. She wore only a utilitarian silver watch that complemented her creamy skin.

She'd make a nice protagonist, he found himself thinking. Though she was delicate in size, he sensed the kind of inner strength imperative in a heroine. Creativity surged inside. It was the first time since he'd turned in Under the Starry Sky that he'd felt anything like the stirrings of inspiration. He wished for a pad and paper, because Adam Bradford had just found his muse.

* * *

Molly watched as Adam deftly put the last piece in place. The stand was becoming heavy and unwieldy, but she could see it would serve its purpose nicely. She needed the piece to stand just inside the entry, large enough to hold a welcoming bouquet of fresh flowers and a guest book. The Queen Anne style fit in with the home's décor without breaking their budget.

Adam flipped the stand upright, his biceps bunching beneath his button-up. He said something in French.

She looked at the stand. It appeared to be complete, and there were no parts left unused. "Is there more? We're all out of parts."

He ducked his head. "No. I said, 'That should do it.'"

"Oh, good." Her impulsive request that he read the directions aloud had come from a spontaneous desire to hear the language from a man's lips — she'd always thought French to be the premiere language of love. Her eyes drifted over his features. He had brown hair, neither short nor long, and a little messy, as if the wind had caught it on his way in.

The sharp turn of his freshly shaved jaw was his most masculine feature. A pair of scholarly glasses hid a pair of magnificent blue eyes. They were a less intense blue than her siblings' — the color of faded denim, jeans gone soft from many washings.

"I guess your dignity is salvaged after all," he said as he stood.

He helped her to her feet, his hands engulfing hers with warmth. He let go as soon as she got her balance. He wasn't particularly tall, but at five two she barely reached his chin.

She glanced at her watch. "And in the nick of time."

He lifted the stand with ease. "Where would you like me to put this?"

She directed him to the spot by the door, and he set it in place about an inch from the freshly painted wall.

It looked just as she had envisioned. "Perfect. Levi said you were a godsend, and for once he wasn't exaggerating."

"He did? I am? Who's Levi?" He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose in a gesture that was already becoming familiar. She hadn't noticed his glasses slipping, but it was probably just a nervous habit. He did seem a little flustered.

Wait a minute. Molly blinked. "My brother, Levi? The one who asked you over to help me ... He's no fan of my dignity, but he owed me one."

Adam shook his head. "I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know your brother; I just came to see about getting a room."

Her lips parted as she froze. "Oh no. I'm so sorry! I've taken up half your afternoon."

"It's no problem at all."

"And I can't even give you a room. We're not open yet."

"I couldn't help but notice all the construction. Is this place turn-of-the-century?"

"1905."

"That makes sense. The architecture bears out the trend of the time — reviving previous styles from the nineteenth century. I noticed some regional characteristics — the roofline, for example — but also some eclectic flair brought over from abroad. Tourism of the time was broadening the scope of architecture in the US."

Molly gave a bemused smile. "You must be an architect."

A flush crawled up his neck. "No, actually, I'm not. Don't mind me, I'm just full of useless information."

"You're probably a whiz at Trivial Pursuit. But back to our situation with the inn ... We were supposed to open this weekend but ... life happened."

"I was afraid of that. I've already checked every place I can think of. Everyone's full up."

"It's the start of Memorial Day weekend — our busiest of the year.

People book out months in advance — sometimes a whole year." "Well, that explains it. I actually booked a house on the lake, but there was a mistake with the reservation."

"I feel so bad that we can't accommodate you, especially after you went out of your way to help me."

She thought of the two completed rooms upstairs sitting clean and ready. It was true the kitchen wasn't finished, but they were only days away from completion. What could it hurt?

"Well, thanks anyway. It was nice meeting you, Molly." He was already moving toward the door. Someone had closed it while they were working on the stand, and the air was getting a little stuffy.

"Wait," she said. "Listen, maybe we can offer you a room for a night or two."

"I'm actually planning to stay in town a while — through the end of July probably."

"I see. Well, you could always move someplace else after the weekend. There'll be plenty of vacancies starting Monday night."

He shifted in the doorway. "Are you sure? I don't want to be in the way."

She gave him a wry look. "Have you looked around? We're going to be in your way."

His laugh was warm and mellow, pleasant. "At this point I'll be happy to have a roof over my head."

"There is a roof, but I can't guarantee there won't be people stomping across it. And saws buzzing, and hammering and whatnot.

But everything shuts down by suppertime, and mornings usually don't start till eight or nine. Can you live with that?"

He gave a nod. "I'm grateful. Thank you."

"It's the least I could do after all your help."

As if on cue Grace burst through the front door, backpack swinging from her thin shoulders, wearing her volleyball clothes. Molly had completely missed the sound of her loud car pulling up to the house.

"Hey," Grace said in greeting. Her long blonde ponytail swung as she looked to the space where the new piece of furniture now stood. Her face fell.

"You owe me a cone," Molly said smugly. "Double scoop with sprinkles."

"Fine. But I got an A on my math test, so you have to pay for pizza tonight."

"Well worth it. Great job, kid." Molly high-fived her sister, then shifted her attention to Adam. "Grace, meet our first guest, Mr. Bradford. This is my sister, Grace, straight out of volleyball practice."

He extended his hand. "It's just Adam. Nice to meet you."

Molly found his shy demeanor inordinately appealing. Maybe because it was so different from Dominic's arrogance.

"You too," Grace said before addressing Molly. "I thought we weren't open yet."

"We're not exactly."

"She took pity on me," Adam said. "There's no place else to stay."

Molly and Grace exchanged a look. Yes, their brother was going to throw a fit, but Molly was willing to risk it after Adam had been so generous with his time.

"Are you sure it's all right?" Adam had apparently picked up on the unspoken message passing between the sisters.

"Absolutely. Let's get you checked in." Molly stepped behind the counter and opened the registration page.

"Need some help with the system?" Grace joined her behind the counter, dropping her bag.

"I think I remember." Molly went through the check-in process step by step, taking Adam's credit card and having him sign in. She quoted what would be their regular rate and offered him 50 percent off for the inconvenience.

He thanked her as he pocketed his credit card.

Molly opened the antique key cabinet and withdrew the key for room seven. "Here you are. Let me show you around, then I'll take you to your room."

"I have to get my bag. I'll be right back."

Molly watched through the picture window as he strode across the porch and down the steps. He was dressed business casual in khakis and a blue shirt. She wondered what he was doing at Bluebell Lake alone and for so long. The area attracted mainly couples and families with children who enjoyed frolicking at the beach and riding Jet Skis across the twelve-hundred-acre lake.

Grace nudged her. "What's up with that?"

"What do you mean?"

"Levi's going to have a conniption when he finds out we have a guest."

Molly wiped the dust from the registration stand. "Oh well. This inn belongs to all of us, not just him." She watched as Adam withdrew a suitcase from a small blue sedan. "He kind of looks like that actor from The Notebook, don't you think?"

"Ryan Gosling? Are you kidding me?"

"Well ... at the end of the movie, when he was all lovelorn and kind of scruffy looking."

Grace snorted. "A nerdy Ryan Gosling maybe."

"He's not nerdy. Scholarly maybe." Molly didn't know why she felt the need to defend him. She watched him bump the car door shut and start making his way back to the house.

"I think somebody's smitten with our new guest."

Molly rolled her eyes. "You know my heart belongs, now and forevermore, to Nathaniel Quinn."

"Most women fall in love with the heroes of romance novels, not the authors."

"Book boyfriends aren't real; authors are." Molly waggled her head at Grace and walked away.

CHAPTER 2

Let's start with this side — it's not under construction." Molly beamed at Adam as he entered the foyer, her smile so warm and bright it could probably burn off the morning fog. He noticed a shallow dimple in her left cheek. "It's my first tour, so you'll have to be patient with me. Little warning: sometimes I talk too much."

Adam hitched his laptop bag higher on his shoulder. "I'm sure you'll do fine."

"I'll show you the library first. The dining room won't be of much use to you anyway. Where are you from, Mr. Bradford?"

"Adam, please. I'm from New York. I flew in early this morning, and I've been trying to find a vacancy ever since."

"Well, your search is over. You're a little ways from home."

"Yes, I am." He struggled for something else to say and came up empty.

Molly seemed awfully young to be running an inn. He followed her to the left of the stand and down a short hall. This part of the house seemed untouched by the construction. It featured the high ceilings of a bygone area, original mahogany woodwork, and squeaky wood floors.

"So what's the history behind this place?" he asked.

"Well, as I said before, it was built in 1905," she said over her shoulder. "Bluebell's first inn. Early on it became a stagecoach stop, and it's been many things over the years, including a saloon, if you can believe it. It was even a post office for a while. In the sixties — the lake's real heyday — other hotels opened, but the Bluebell Inn remained the place to stay."

"Unfortunately, the area declined in popularity in the seventies, and the inn was purchased by the governor's family and made into a summer home. They lived here until my parents bought it."

"If only the walls could talk," he said. "I'll bet they'd have some good stories."

Her smile widened. "I know, right? The last innkeeper's wife kept a journal, though, and we have it right here in our library. Fascinating stuff and as close to talking walls as we're going to get, I'm afraid."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Lake Season"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Denise Hunter.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Lake Season 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Pattistep 4 days ago
Every now and then I’ll read a Christian romance that makes me sad to read the last page of the story because I’m not ready to let those characters go. That was the case with this book. I loved the Bennett siblings and their commitment to carry out their deceased parents’ dream. But even more touching was their commitment to their younger sister, Grace. The siblings decide to work together to allow Grace to finish high school in their hometown. They open “The Bluebell Inn” and the siblings become innkeepers. This book centers on the romance that develops between Molly, the oldest Bennett daughter, and one of the guests, Adam Bradford. Molly is outgoing, talkative, and loves to help people. Adam is a shy guy who finds himself intrigued with Molly. Adam is also hiding a secret from her: He’s actually the author who has a string of best-sellers written under the name Nathaniel Quinn. Molly thinks she has fallen in love with “Nathaniel Quinn” because of his books. As Molly and Adam work together to solve a mystery from the past, they draw closer together. The secrets they uncover being huge surprises for both of them. I’ll say it again: I loved this book. And I’m happy that this is the first book in this series and will be able to read more about The Bluebell Inn. This book showcases the reasons that Denise Hunter is one of my favorite Christian romance authors. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
pianosue 11 days ago
When the Bennett's parents pass away in an accident the three siblings pull together to fulfill their parent's dream of turning their home back into an inn and running it for a few years then selling it. Adam Bradford is a reclusive novelist who comes to stay at the inn while he tries to get past a case of writer's block. He ends up helping Molly Bennett try to locate the owners of a misplaced letter that is found in the wall of the inn. Will they be able to track down the original letter writer and future recipient from so many years ago? How will this trek affect their lives? How will Molly react when she finds out Adam is her favorite author? A good story when some interesting twists.
MI_Reader 20 days ago
Lake Season might very well be my favorite Denise Hunter book to date! Loved Molly and Adam’s story. Adam’s search for acceptance and love and Molly’s fear of losing people close to her after the sudden death of her parents melded together into an amazing story. I also enjoyed the mystery of the letter they found from the 1960’s and the small jump backward in time to hear the story of Lizzie and Ben. Fantastic ending that showed how God works through all things, even the sad times. Very much looking forward to more books in this series set in North Carolina.
Anonymous 21 days ago
The finding of a lost love letter leads the finder on a quest to deliver it - many years too late. Assistance from a guest at the inn is a bonus, until she finds that he is not who she thought. But the quest will eventually achieve more than she could ever have dreamed... I'm not always keen on books with two time-threads (or whatever it's meant to be called) - at times it feels like each is a distraction from the other, and they would be better written as two separate but linked books. This was not such a case; instead, the two storylines were neatly woven in together, one finding out bits of what happened around the writing of the letter and the other expanding as appropriate to bring the letter-writer to life. Overall, the whole story was well written and developed, with some unexpected twists and some more predictable bits, but overall a highly satisfying ending. Highly recommended, and I look forward to more by the author. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
THouchin1 25 days ago
I loved Denise Hunter's latest book, Lake Season. It is the first book in the Bluebell Inn series. Bluebell is a small town in North Carolina that caters to the weekend and summer lake visitors. The three siblings that are the center of the story, Molly, Levi and Grace, are so well written, they seem like family. Their parents died before seeing their dream of converting the family home into a bed and breakfast. Their adult children decide to set their own dreams aside and work together to make their parents dream come true. I loved the dual time lines, gave us a whole other story. I loved Lizzie and Benjamin's story just as much as I did Molly and Adam's. And there sure were some interesting twists that I didn't see coming. If you like emotional romance stories that are well written, I'm sure you'll enjoy this book.
Cat_Reader 26 days ago
I want to start by saying that Thomas Nelson addicted me to Christian Romances. I want to read every book from them .... LOL Lake Season became my favorite in the genre this year, first because I loved Denise HUnter's writing and second because the story is so sweet and smooth and made me (after years not doing this) turning the night on reading. I went to sleep at 3 am today so anxious to know how the story of Molly and Adam would end. Molly is starting a new phase of her life with her siblings, a phase she would prefer to be quite different for sure. By losing their parents in a car accident, they will drop all their plans to put their parents' dream of turning the house into a inn. The renovation work was great as it helped Molly focus on something other than mourning. Her first guest arrives at a time when they were not yet open but because of the high season she pities him and agrees to help until he can rent a house on the lake. The He in question is Adam a famous writer who hides under the pseudonym Nathaniel Quinn and who after talking to his mother about a creative block, she suggests he go to the idyllic city of Bluebell. But he didn't know how his life will change after that. Molly and Adam engage in a beautiful friendship quickly, but their insecurity and her trsut issues can shake what could be a great love. Together they start a project of finding the protagonists from a love letter that she found during the renovation. I confess that sometimes I wanted to go into the book and shake Molly a lot, but in the end she redeems herself wonderfully. Adam in return is so perfectly flawed, so cuddly, so kind and devoted that I almost steal him for me. This book completely dredged me, I couldn't let go until I saw Happily Ever After happen, and I was amazed at everything that happens until this magical moment really comes. A book about forgiveness, second chances, about finding your strength, about enjoying every moment with people that you love, and about not letting small issues get in the way of happiness. I already want the books of Molly's siblings, especially Levi, maybe their friends too Skye and Jordan. Please, Denise!
Nanna51 28 days ago
This is a magical romance and family drama. Molly, Levi and Grace Bennett have lost their parents in a tragic accident and resolve to fulfill their dream of turning their historic old house into an inn. Adam Bradford arrives in North Carolina hoping to reawaken the inner talent that he as a writer that seems to be escaping him. Little does Molly know that he is an author whom she greatly admires since he keeps his other identity hidden. As the renovations continue, Molly finds an old letter in the walls of the house and she and Adam partner up to find the lovers involved in the letter. There is plenty of family drama and romance and a tad of mystery surrounding the letter. What I found most intriguing was the development of the love story between Molly and Adam. The characters were realistic, the setting was wonderful and the entire book was a quick read that pulled on my heartstrings. Fans of romance will enjoy this book for sure! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
AMGiacomasso 3 months ago
A sweet and engrossing story that made smile and root for the characters. I like the romance, the well crafted plot, the lovely setting, and the well thought cast of characters. Can't wait to read the next book by this author. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
BookReviewerTG 3 months ago
After the Christmas rush I was excited to receive this book. And a romance! An it's the first book in a whole new series. Ahh! relaxing time! Bluebell, North Carolina and an inn...kind of like a bed and breakfast. Molly Bennett is trying ever so hard with the help of her siblings to fulfill their parents dream. But as life would have it, dreams are not always what they seem nor do dreams always come out as expected much to our delight. Molly and Bennett meet even though Molly isn't quite sure about Adam. Molly fancies Nathaniel Quinn whom she doesn't realize at first is Adam! Adam is a writer going by the name Nathaniel Quinn. What really caught my interest in this romance was the long lost letter that Molly finds in the inn. the mystery, the secrets that somehow incorporate into both Molly and Adam's lives. This is a fun story with lots of romance and bits and pieces of life on a North Carolina Lake. I loved this story. So much fun in a few pages. *This book was provided for review by The Fiction Guild*
JChris 3 months ago
This was an amazing story with a plot that is a puzzle until all the pieces fit together perfectly. It is in present time and scenes from the past. Denise Hunter has great skills in writing to pull the reader in immediately and keep their interest high throughout the book. Her characters are very well developed and I cared about them deeply. The setting is described in such detail that I felt like I was actually visiting Bluebell, North Carolina. The story has many themes running throughout. The one I think that stands out the most is people pulling together for a common goal, knowing that life is precious and can change with a blink of an eye. I enjoyed this book so much! It is the first in a new series and I am looking forward to the future books. I want to thank NetGalley and Thomas Nelson – Fiction, for allowing me the great pleasure of reading this book. This is another deeply moving story to add to Denise Hunter’s collection. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Rachel McDaniel 4 months ago
Anyone who knows me fully understands that I will fangirl ANYTHING Denise Hunter writes—be it contemporary romance, time slip books, grocery lists, etc. So needless to say, I was looking forward to her latest release—Lake Season. And wow, this story captivated me from start to finish. I feel the need to mention that the temperature dropped into the teens here in Ohio, and so a story set in the summer on the lake is absolutely ideal. The author did a great job painting the North Carolina backdrop with vivid descriptions that helped me envision the charming town of Bluebell. As for the characters, Molly had such a sweet spirit about her and seemed to be one of those unique individuals that always lights up the room. And she loves reading. So yeah, we could be besties. Adam, the hero, is the character that surprised me the most. He was just such a nice guy. And as the pages wore on, I found myself rooting for him, wanting him to break free from the shadows he hid behind. Of course, the romance element was exploding with spark-filled chemistry. Hunter excels in that area for sure. What was different about this story is that it’s a time slip. I loved the historical portions of the book, and it seemed to flow perfectly with the contemporary parts. Sometimes time slips can feel choppy and awkward, but this one had smooth transitions. Very well done. The plot was well thought out and interesting. The romance, like I said above, is spot on. And the pacing was fabulous. If you enjoy stories that are both refreshing and intriguing, then this one is for you! Highly recommend! *I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinions are my own.
Kelly Hodgkins 4 months ago
With any Denise Hunter, I expect a heartwarming, Christian story but in Lake Season she outdoes herself! I am so glad this is a start of a series and I’ll be able to return to this delightful small town and wonderful characters. The main story follows Molly opening her family’s B and B, with her two siblings, in the wake of their parents sudden death. Whilst grief is a part of her emotional journey, the focus of the novel is moving forward through the pain. Molly’s first guest, Adam, fast becomes a friend and when a old but romantic letter is found in the walls, the two set to finding the sender and intended recipient. Through flashbacks to the time the letter was written, Denise introduces two additional leading characters who are also struggling with their identity. Through each of these four characters, Denise wrestles with different elements of what it means to follow God’s path and trust in our innate worth as His child. It’s beautifully done. Love is at the centre of this novel: family love, romantic love and community love. The book highlights the way we connect and lean on one another, how we build and break trust and how hard it is to rebuild that trust when fear paralyse us. Amongst the serious threads of love, mystery, and hope is a healthy dose of humour and small town fun! It was so easy to read it straight through to see how it would all work out! I loved it from start to finish, it’s a five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale and highly recommended!
PNWBookworm 5 months ago
This was a great read for the cold winter days when you’re longing for warm summer days! I loved the southern inn setting and found myself wanting to visit the inn for myself. The characters, both primary and secondary, were all fabulous.. The book had romance, family drama and a small mystery. The story is told in two timelines, both of which are done very well.
BringMyBooks 5 months ago
This book had a lot of heart and humor, but it also had one of my LEAST favorite tropes - the "not talking to one another even though that would quickly resolve the issue and take out about 75pgs of this book" trope. I thought the plot was interesting, the characters okay, the backstories that moved the plot along well done, and some parts towards the end MIND BOGGLINGLY unlikely (okay, more like 35% likely, which is still at least slightly boggling). I did like the addition of the mystery and the genealogy, even though parts of some of that journey were just so unbelievably sad. Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the gifted book and opportunity to read and review it prior to its publication date! This in no way affected my review, all opinions are my own.
Jane Jacobs 5 months ago
I loved arriving in Bluebell and getting to know the Bennett family and Adam but when that long-lost letter appeared I was REALLY loving Bluebell! This story grabs you quickly and holds on to you. Don't miss Lake Season! I was given a copy of this book for free. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.
PianoLady831 5 months ago
When a book captures you emotionally at the prologue, you know it’s going to be a great read. Lake Season begins a new series by the Denise Hunter who never fails to entertain and I eagerly anticipate all that’s to come. This heartwarming romance goes beyond surface level with its character depth and complexity that makes it so rich. I loved the idyllic setting, a family inn on a lake in North Carolina. Trying to bring their parents’ dream to fruition, Molly Bennett and her siblings work to make the inn a reality, but there’s no guarantee that it will be a success. And even if it is successful, they plan to sell it after a few years – but that just might change. While Lake Season is Molly and Adam’s story, we get to know the other siblings well, Levi and Grace, and their stories are eagerly anticipated. Like any other family, there may be moments of bickering and disagreement, but their love and support for each other always shines brightly. Adam, the inn’s first guest, is such an appealing leading man! He’s a bestselling writer who just happens to be Molly’s favorite, but writing under a pseudonym hides this fact from her. He has a slightly nerdy aura, which so easily drew me to him. Both Adam and Molly have background experiences that become problematic in their growing relationship. Molly struggles with resentment and fear from a previous relationship, while Adam has feelings in inadequacy, realizing he will always disappoint his father, no matter how successful he is. One of my favorite parts is the discovery of an old letter during the construction, with Molly and Adam joining to investigate and seek the letter’s intended recipient. This storyline is smoothly woven into the novel’s fabric, going back to a time of prejudice and broken dreams. Lake Season is a multilayered story with an emotional pull that drew me into the characters’ lives, both past and present. There’s also a little twist toward the end that I loved. Lake Season is a delightful read and I look forward to the stories of Levi and Grace. Recommended. I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
More_Than_A_Review 5 months ago
Lake Season by Denise Hunter is one of those books I read in 24 hours. The story opens with three siblings dealing with the death of their parents from a tragic accident. They decide to continue the project their parents had been working on; a B&B – the Bluebell Inn. Lake Season is Molly’s story. She has her own issues of dealing with her parents’ death. Molly becomes friends with a ‘researcher’ who is staying at their inn. She asks him to help her research the heartbreaking letter that she finds during the remodel. The letter reveals the story of Izzie and Ben from 40+ years prior. They had a beautiful story that weaved its way into Molly and Adam’s story. Adam was a reclusive author who is in town to research his next novel. The scenes with him and Molly are adorable. Even though you know the secret is going to come out eventually. I thoroughly enjoyed both stories. I would highly recommend this book. I received this book from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. You can see my full review at More Than a Review dot com where I rate the level of sex, violence, language and drug/alcohol use in books.
TCJRogers 5 months ago
In Lake Season, siblings Molly, Levi, and Grace Bennett decide to fulfill their parents dream of renovating their large, old home and turning it into an inn after their parents’ untimely deaths. During the renovation, Molly finds an old letter stuck in the wall where the mail slot used to be when the building was a post office. When she opens and reads it, she discovers a beautiful letter written by a woman who was sorry for a falling out she had with the man she loved, asking for his forgiveness and for him to return to her. Molly is instantly drawn in, and she enlists the aid of Adam Bradford, a man staying at the inn who she has begun a friendship with, to help her try to track down the woman who wrote the letter and the man who never received it. As they work together on this project, their friendship begins to develop into something deeper, but Adam has a secret that might destroy what he’s built with Molly. I really enjoyed reading Lake Season. Once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next. I appreciated that both Molly and Adam struggled with issues that a lot of people really do struggle with — trust issues due to being hurt by people’s lies in the past and feelings of inadequacy, feeling that your just not good enough due to not getting the acceptance you need from a parent. I could so easily identify with both characters. The story line was also exciting, jumping back in time to give us insight into the lives of the letter writer and intended recipient. And I loved the way Molly and Adam’s search ended. It was a twist that I didn’t see coming. Overall, I thought Lake Season was an interesting, exciting story full of hope and love. *I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
5643437 5 months ago
Let’s face it, love is not always easy. Sometimes you can find the right person when you are not even looking. With the setting in North Carolina, which is our family’s home of record, I knew I wanted to read this book. The devastation Molly and her siblings must have felt with the deaths of their parents, I can not imagine the pain they felt. However, deciding to put her own dreams on hold, Molly convinces her older brother and her younger sister that the three should embark on fulfilling their parents’ wishes to turn their home into the inn their parents desired. When Adam Bradford, a best-selling author, enters the scene, I could feel the chemistry between the two as I read the words written. Truly these two seemed made for each other. If they can just get through the secrets and other things that hinder their romance. So if you want to read a wonderful book with captivating characters that are worthy of a Hallmark movie, check out this book for yourself. I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.
Susandyer1962NC 5 months ago
LAKE SEASON is the first book in the Bluebell Inn Romance series by Denise Hunter. It is all about family and faith and totally heart tugging. It had me flipping through the pages like a woman on a mission. I had to know what was going to happen to Adam and Molly and all the secondary characters. All of Denise’s characters feel genuine and relatable and put your emotions on one heck of a roller coaster ride. As you are reading, you will find yourself cheering for all of them, praying they can work out their problems and be happy once again. You will also wonder how much heartache a person can stand before they completely break down and shatter. LAKE SEASON is filled with family drama, forgiveness, mystery and romance. It is also an emotional rich story, so much so that it just might be the best novel that I have read by Denise Hunter so far. The letter that was found during renovations of the inn, the mystery of who sent the letter and who it was for, reliving the past, and the secrets that they all hold, made it hard to put down. Also, the fact that the setting is in North Carolina which is an added bonus for me. LAKE SEASON is about a reclusive author, a book loving innkeeper, and a lost letter. Molly and her siblings tragically lost their parents in an accident and decided to turn their family home into an inn as a tribute to them. That is what their parents were working towards when they died. Adam is the first visitor and came to visit the inn as inspiration to write his next book. Molly mistakes him for a helper her brother has sent over and the scene is very funny. Molly doesn’t know he is an author as he tells her he is there for research. Hang on people, LAKE SEASON is an intense and crazy ride. LAKE SEASON is a quick read that you can easily read in one sitting and love every minute of it. It is one heck of a crazy emotional roller coaster ridI have never met a Denise Hunter book that I didn’t love and once I started reading I knew I was going on one heck of an emotional journey! Whatever you are reading, put it down, and run and get this book! If you’ve never read a Denise Hunter novel (and you know who you are) this would be a perfect one to hook you!
susanwalkergirl 5 months ago
Likeable characters, in a lovely town with a blend of mystery and romance. I didn’t want this story to end. I love a good mystery and when it’s tied to a little romance that’s a book I’ll want to read. That’s why I was excited to read Denise Hunter’s newest book Lake Season (A Bluebell Inn Romance). Molly, Levi and Grace Bennett are siblings whose parents had died in a tragic accident a year ago. Grace is 18 years old and set upon staying in Bluebell. But it will take the commitment of all three of them to fulfill their parent’s dream and turn their home into a bed and breakfast inn. Ten months later, their inn is about to open when their first unofficial guest Adam Bradford walks in. Little do they know but under their roof is the famous author, who writes under the pen name Nathaniel Quinn, whose work Molly loves. Adam is in town to do a little research to help him get inspired so he can write his next bestseller. Adam is quite taken with Molly whom he considers his muse and he gets distracted when he tries to help Molly find the writer and recipient of a letter that’s been lost for 57 years. That’s the background of Lake Season, which is set in the lovely lakeside town of Bluebell, North Carolina. My favorite character was Adam, he was kind and caring. He was rather shy and had some insecurities you wouldn’t expect for an accomplished writer. Molly was sweet, unpretentious, passionate and caring. She even cared about people she never knew. But she knew the importance of the letter she had in her possession and wanted to get it into the hands of the people it belonged to. I appreciated the caring and commitment that Levi, Molly, and Grace had for one another, a self-sacrificing love. I especially liked the relationship between Adam and Molly. They got to know each other and their attraction more than skin deep. I enjoyed the unfolding mystery of who Lizzie and Ben were and what had happened to them all those years ago. Lake Season was a story that I didn’t want to end, so I took my time reading and savoring this story. When I finished, I felt a little sad leaving behind the characters I had come to care about. The characters were very likable and the town seemed inviting and like a place I would like to visit. I loved the blend of mystery and romance. Denise Hunter is on the shortlist of writers whose work I want to read. When I was reading Lake Season, I thought this would be a perfect Hallmark Channel movie. I wish there had been more of the character’s faith included in the story, I think it would have been a richer story. I appreciated that the novel was clean in content and language. If you like a blend of romance and mystery be sure to read Lake Season by Denise Hunter. I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of Lake Season and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Ourpugs 5 months ago
Lake Season Lake Season is a really awesome story. It was a fast reading book. This is a beginning of a new series. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Molly and her siblings are finishing up remodeling the inn after their parents pass away. Molly finds a letter from 1962. The letter never make it to whom it was written to. Molly wants to get it delivered. She seeks Adams help in doing so. He is staying at the inn. Will they be able to find the owner of the letter? I loved books that are set in past and present time. Part of the is in 1962 and goes to present time. Most of it was in present time but helped the story to go back in time. Molly was so determined to find the owner of the letter. What would you do? I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate. This book review is my own opinion.
Erin_Slocum 5 months ago
My Thoughts on Lake Season: This is such a fun book! It’s a contemporary romance but with a small bit of history and mystery threw in which means I’m all for it! I love mystery novels but I also like romance novels and I love history! This note in the wall just about made me swoon. Why can’t that be real life for me!? I thoroughly enjoyed Adam and his alter ego. That is such a fun storyline and I always love books that have that going on in them. Plus the inn becoming what it once was. Yeah, I’d totally go there to spend a vacation. Now for the hard part. Can Molly and Adam work together to solve the mystery of the note? What about the secrets they hold from each other? Will all truth come to life and romance still remain? I couldn’t stop reading! I loved the book and highly recommend it. The characters all won my heart and I loved them, but have to say the inn won my heart for the longest. I’m forever going to be wanting that place now! Anyone else up for booking a trip to North Carolina now? Just me? Well, maybe you need to read this book first! Then let’s get going on that vacation at a historic inn! I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Celebrate Lit. All views expressed are only my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.
KimPotter 5 months ago
Lake Season by Denise Hunter is the first book in her A Bluebell Inn Romance series. When Molly Bennett’s parents are killed in an accident the three kids put their lives on hold, to fulfill their parents’ dream of opening an inn in Bluebell, North Carolina. Adam Bradford is their first guest. He and Molly strike up a friendship, and together they embark on a summer filled with love, heart-ache, old and new secrets and a journey to finding lasting peace, contentment, joy and love. Molly was such a delightful character. Nothing kept her down for long except her fear of losing those close to her. Adam’s ability to overcome his father’s rejection showed an inner strength and courage not many people find. I loved the plot twist at the end! Didn’t quite see that one coming. I can’t wait for the next installment. I received this book from Celebrate-Lit for my honest review.
ARS8 5 months ago
Lake Season was an engaging story with characters I cared about and wanted to see get some happiness in their lives. The premise of the story was cute and romantic. A recluse author (Adam), a little bit nerdy, is looking for some inspiration for his next story while he is fighting writer’s block. He finds it in Molly who is an inn owner with her brother and sister. They start off as friends, though Adam is already very attracted to her, and he finds out that Molly has a huge crush on his non de plume. Mistaken identities and half truths happen, trust is broken, and love is tested. All this is happening while Adam and Molly are also working on a side project- trying to locate a couple who were torn apart by hurtful words a long time ago. This is all due to a letter that was written and lost and only found during the inn’s renovations. Molly has some trust issues as she and her siblings are also dealing with the sudden lost of their parents a year earlier. I felt the author wrote their grief realistically and since this is the beginining of the series I look forward to Levi and Grace’s stories. The choices they made together as a family after their parents’s deaths were sacrificial and heartwarming. I like how close they are. Adam was a great hero. He was very romantic and shy all at once. He was never too sure of himself. I liked watching him come out of his shell and the growth of his and Molly’s relationship. This was a fun story. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.