Member Reviews

Carley Fortune seriously knows how to dial up the butterflies and for me, they hit the second the MCs made eye contact in the present-day story line. I felt the chemistry between them before they said a single word to each other and was rooting for them to set things straight the whole time.

This book follows a then and now timeline and I was completely obsessed with both. I was eager for every drop of information from these two that would tell me more about them and how they became the person they are in the present. I felt completely transported in both the Toronto and Muskoka settings.

Fern and Will are absolutely perfect together but I loved how well developed they are as characters on their own. I was so invested in their feelings and actually cared about the decisions they were being forced to make. If I had to have one complaint about this book, it’s that both MCs felt really immature in the “then” storyline, I had to keep reminding myself that they weren’t teenagers (but weren’t we all at 22?).

I was absolutely addicted to this book and couldn’t put it down! This will definitely be the book of the summer, it lives up to ALL the hype!

Read this if you:
- Have ever spent the best day of your life with a stranger
- Need a book to pull you out of a reading slump
- Are stocking up your summer reading list

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley for this advanced copy!

When I saw that Carley Fortune wrote a second book, I just had to read it. I loved Every Summer After, so much so, I read it in a day!

Guess what? I read Meet Me At The Lake in a day as well. And I LOVED it!

It was interesting to see how both Fern and Will changed since the last time they met. They grew up, they lived through rough times, their dreams changed. And, I think, it made them stronger for when they met again.

Even the side characters were likeable - except Whitney, though quite colourful, but I probably wouldn’t like her in real life. Getting to know Maggie (and Peter) through her diary was delightful. Loved how it tied in with the Epilogue.

Carley Fortune is such a good writer that her Acknowledgment section is fun to read! I enjoyed how she explained her reasons for including some characteristics, like postpartum depression/OCD, how she included a little of herself in her characters and a little of her own trials.

So good. This book has love at first sight, romance, a little smut, friendships, growing up… pretty much everything in a good story with fleshed out characters!

Was this review helpful?

It's always a thrill to receive an advance reader's (e-)copy of a new release, but this one was especially exciting. I loved "Every Summer After", Carley Fortune's debut novel - it was my favourite cottage read least summer. I had high expectations for her second novel, "Meet Me At the Lake" and it did not disappoint! I was drawn into the romance between likeable protagonist Fern and brooding love interest Will from their first encounter, and remained engaged in their love story, which oscillated between the present and 10 years prior. I also appreciated the descriptions of Toronto and Muskoka, both settings close to my own heart. Thank you so much to Net Galley, Penguin Random House Canada and Carley Fortune for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley for this arc!
I honestly have no words. I cannot believe this is Carley’s second book ever. I really didn’t think anything would be as good as Every Summer After but she did not disappoint! The connection between Will and Fern was so heartbreaking and beautiful and you really feel for Will and what he’s been through. I can’t wait to get my hands on the physical copy!!

Was this review helpful?

Carley Fortune has done it again! If this is not the blockbuster novel of the summer, I’ll eat my straw hat. It’s a page turner that will have you reading way into the night as you become incredibly invested in the fate of Will and Fern. Fortune takes us away to idyllic summers in Muskoka, to the special haunts of Toronto and that 20 something angst of trying to find yourself and your place in the world.
Fern and Will meet one surripidious afternoon while Will paints a mural on her coffee shop wall. They spend a magical day together and realize they both really get each other, and can understand and genuinely respect the other. They plan to meet in a year at her family Muskoka resort. Fast forward to present day when Fern is forced home after a family tragedy and must decide if she will run her family business or instead, live her life back in the city she loves.
Fortune has a knack for relationship development and we really feel like we know Fern and Will. There’s a lot of steaminess, crossed wires and missed connections. Grief and mental health are back burning issues which I wished the author would have delved into a bit deeper. Her author note at the end adds context, but I felt it would have enhanced this book if it had been more explicitly covered. The author does show a profound understanding of grief which is depicted in her words, “and while people want to express their sympathy, there’s a limit on how much suffering others can tolerate.” Perhaps this is why she chose to leave out more of the mental health piece…

I also appreciated the Canadian references and will highly recommend this book to any fans of Emily Henry or Sally Thorne. I can’t wait to see what this author tackles next!

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I don’t have anything dramatic to say in this review other than I think this might be a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. I fell hard for Every Summer After and read it over two or three days (I’m not one of those one-sitting readers; for me, that’s fast!). Meet Me at the Lake took me almost two weeks to read. I just felt kind of indifferent. And I just don’t love the tension of “sparks are flying, but I already have a boyfriend/girlfriend.” But I do love that it’s set in Canada and I also loved the author’s personal note at the end.

That’s just me! I’m anticipating a gazillion rave reviews when this publishes next Tuesday (May 2). Maybe my problem was that I should have had a physical copy and a cold drink in hand, sitting in beautiful sunny weather on a beach or a dock at the lake. Haha

Thank you to @netgalley and @penguinrandomca for the arc.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed Meet Me at the Lake, but it didn’t have the same appeal as Every Summer After. Fortunately, there is no cheating trope in sight.

Fern Brookbanks has moved back home after her mother’s tragic passing to take over her lakeside resort. At thirty-two, it’s not the path Fern expected her life to take. She is still deciding whether to sell the resort or continue running it herself.

Her world gets shaken up again when Will, a man from her past, shows up, offering his services to help improve the resort’s business.

Ten years ago, Will and Fern met and spent a whirlwind day together, telling each other their hopes and dreams. They promised to meet again one year later at the resort. Fern showed up. Will did not.

This contemporary romance follows Fern’s perspective and alternates between the past and present.

As with her debut, Carley Fortune deftly draws the reader in and makes them feel like they’re right there with the characters.

I enjoyed this one, but I didn’t feel like it had the same magic as Every Summer After. Too much of the story hinged on the single day they spent together ten years ago. It’s hard to believe that they would form such a strong connection in one day, and a decade later, still expect them to be the same person with the same wants and needs.

I much preferred reading the present over the past timeline. It made me feel the feels, even though Will was pretty secretive about his personal life.

If you enjoy second-chance romances, then I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy this book.

3.5 rounded up.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

3 stars

sad to say that i didn't enjoy Fortune's sophomore novel as much as her debut. but this one just didnt have me as enthralled as her debut, and i did begin to lose interest during the last few chapters.

i didn't connect with any of the characters, and no matter how much a love second-chance romances, i do think that it was odd and unrealistic how much they connected on that one day together ten year ago. second-chance romances are mainly about the emotional connections made during the previous interaction, and no matter how much information was shared between Fern and Will during their one day together, it is so difficult to believe that they formed such a strong and lasting connection that still exists ten years later.

ps. i love the cover sm though

thank you netgallery & berkley for this e-arc!!

Was this review helpful?

If you loved Every Summer After, if you're a fan of romance, if you're searching for your next favorite summer read, if you have a FOMO - get a copy of Meet Met at the Lake IMMEDIATELY! Yes, I know this is how I usually end my reviews but let me tell you right now - THE HYPE IS REAL! This book is going to be everywhere, Fernie and Will will steal your heart and I stand by what I said last year - Tourism Ontario needs to make Carley Fortune their official ambassador because her books leave you yearning for and dreaming of a lakeside vacation.

Meet me at the Lake gave me a hint of Before Sunrise vibe (coincidentally one of my favorite movies). Two young people who spend a day together, make a connection and then are reunited by circumstances 10 years later. In case that wasn't cleared - I loved Fernie and Will so much. Not because they were perfect or because I identify with either one of them but simply because Carley Fortune's writing made it impossible not to feel like they are real people you care about and want to see happy!

As a reader the most important thing for me is - does this story make me feel things deeply? And let me tell you, ALL THE FEELS! There was also an extra level of emotional connection because Toronto spots the book mentions have a lot of personal significance and made me feel so nostalgic. (Sneaky Dee's nachos!!!) I promise you, I won't be shutting up about Meet Me at the Lake (and my love for it) for a long long time!

I am so grateful to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! I loved it so much, I'm grabbing a physical copy on May 2 because I simply have to!

Was this review helpful?

I was excited to read this from the second that I heard about it. I devoured her first book, and couldn't wait for this one.

I loved the Canadian setting, and thought the characters were good and relatable. The dual timeline (technically triple if you count the diary entries) worked really well with the story, and let the reader know just what they needed to know at the prefect times.

It is a slow burn, and almost a fade to black. There are small lead up spicy scenes but nothing heavy.

Overall, if you are looking for a cute story set at a Canadian lake side resort, one that I would love to stay at, with relatable and loveable characters. Definitely give this a try.

4 out of 5 stars
1.5 out of 5 spice

Book release on May 02/23.
Thank you to Penguin Random House and NetGalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I was so thrilled to receive an ARC of one of my most anticipated books of the year! There are so many things to love about this book. Fortune does such an amazing job of writing vivid Canadian settings that I can immediately imagine myself reading this book at the end of a dock and smell the summer smells. The main two settings of this book are Toronto and Muskoka, places I'm familiar with, so I loved all the little references (like Weber's!).

I also really liked the love interest in this book, Will. Our main character, Fern, met him 10 years ago and when she meets him again in the present, he's a completely different person so we spend a lot of the book unraveling why he went from broke artist to fancy business guy. I wouldn't say this is the spiciest book ever but I still really felt the feels for these characters. For all of you who hated the cheating in Fortune's last book, I can assure you that it's not a thing in this one.

I think my main compliant about this book is just that I wanted more pages. I wanted more about Fern reviving the resort and more development between her and her friends. Fortune drew some of the mysteries out a bit too long and I wanted a bit more happen before the 50% mark.

It's official, Carley Fortune is an auto-buy author for me!

Was this review helpful?

Fern & Will meet by chance in Toronto at age 22 and spend one whirlwind day together. They are instantly connected but their timing is off.. they go their separate ways with a promise to meet in a year at Fern’s family resort but Will never shows. 10 years later, after Fern’s mothers death, Fern is torn between selling the resort and keeping it. That’s when Will shows up with an offer to help..

Ah! This was a really cute book. I’m usually not a huge romance reader but this was the perfect mix of family drama/romance. I loved the summery setting and all of the side characters that added to the book so well. The character development was great buuut I wasn’t a huge Will fan! 🫣 I’m really looking forward to reading her debut novel ‘Every Summer After’! (4 ⭐️)

✨ thank you NetGalley & Berkley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts ✨ it was truly an honour!

Available May 3, 2023

Was this review helpful?

Two strangers meet and spend an unforgettable day together in Toronto, with the promise to meet again a year later. The only catch is they can’t keep in touch. Fast forward ten years from the day they met, the two run into each other again.
At first, I felt like it might be similar to November 9 as it had the same vibes at first but, the further I read on, the similarities stopped cold in it’s tracks. I love the way she recounts both past and present and includes journal entries to tell the story. Meet Me at the Lake is a heartfelt, second chance romance story that had me in tears, several times. It’s a beautifully written story, with an incredible plot, terrific characters and a love story for the ages.  

The story takes place in Huntsville (and Toronto) which will always have a special place in my heart. We celebrated our honeymoon and first wedding anniversary in Huntsville.  
Thank you penguinrandomhouse and netgalley for this ARC!  

Meet Me at the Lake hits bookstores on May 2!

Was this review helpful?

I love the way that Carley Fortune writes locations that I know and love, it pulls me right into the story and I can see the characters walking around as they live their tale.

Meet Me at the Lake is split between a resort outside Huntsville, Ontario (present day) and Toronto, Ontario (ten years ago), lucky for me, I lived in TO for a long time, and spent many a summer in Muskoka. (and after reading, I'd like some nachos from Sneaky Dees asap)

I enjoyed the speed of both timelines, and feel that they were written in a perfect way to get all the required details and background out in the past to keep the present flowing perfectly.

I loved all of the characters in this book, from the ones with huge roles to the much smaller side characters, everyone had a purpose for being there and didn't cause confusion with a bunch of unnecessary details.

I'm really glad this was Fern and Will's story. At the start when there was a little ambiguity about who the book would be about I wasn't looking forward to Fern returning to the guy from her teen years. Sometimes, thats exactly how the story needs to go, but its not what I wanted for Fern.

Overall, another great Ontario summer, cottage country story that I will happily continue to recommend to friends to take to the dock.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to the publishers, Netgalley, and Carley Fortune for letting me read this arc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I have so many thoughts about this book. I was really excited to read another book from Carley Fortune because I was hoping she would improve from Every Summer After. I was so looking forward to a romance in Muskoka, but alas, we can’t always have what we want. Here is a list of my thoughts, both good and bad!

Things I liked:
- The description of Ontario. I totally agree with Carley that Ontario has so many amazing places to explore and yet people are constantly complaining about it and leaving to go travelling abroad. Like my favourite trip in the summers has been exploring northern Ontario, and I haven’t even scratched the surface of beauty here.
- The scene where he draws her

Things I didn’t like:
- Very elementary writing. It almost feels like the quality of writing decreased. For example, the embodiment of not being able to describe something adequately. “I ate. I walked. I got”. Tell me how it feels, not what you did
- So many sentences that could’ve been edited better, so it flowed nicely/had more depth. I think in general this book needed better editing.
- The emotional cheating. I’m so sick of the cheating trope.
- Not an empowering read even though Carley Fortune is really trying to seek the feminist power.
- Playing into every cliche trope in the book.
- I do not care if the love interest is tall, stop telling me he’s tall.
- There’s a line about being a shot of espresso to the blood stream. I think it was taken from Andrew Garfield.
- Why are you upset about being nicknamed “baby” from dirty dancing, that’s literally so cute
- *sigh* the cheating
- Flat characters. No proper personalities and the main characters interact weirdly.
- The constant need to get high?
- I’m not a Toronto native, but I got to school there and trust me when I say all these they go to are touristy attractions. For someone who was had lived in Toronto, I was hoping to get some local favourites.
- Some of the descriptions made me think of a hobgoblin looking at a beautiful man instead of two regular people (see page 86)
- I’m going to say this in the nicest way I can’t, Fern is such a pick me girl and strikes me as the kind of woman who never grew up (page 90)
- The backstory was kind of all over the place? Like it was honestly unnecessary.
- Above all else - there was nothing unique to Muskoka. This could’ve been anywhere in the world, I don’t understand why they’re marketed as Canadian romances when there’s nothing unique to Canada, let alone Ontario. Like I can’t explain how angry it makes me that they’re marketed as Canadian romances and yet there’s nothing that makes me think omg my summer spot! This barley touched the lake.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley, Carley Fortune and Penguin Random House Canada for the free e-book in exchange for an honest review.

I was so worried and pumped all at once to read this novel. I just recently read Every Summer After and devoured it; I was low key obsessed. This one could have been so disappointing but honestly, I was almost as obsessed with these two. I didn’t know where this was going and I didn’t care. I was fully along for the ride.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed Carley Fortunes first book, so I was excited to get my hands on this one.

Fern Brookbanks and Will Baxter spend one magical day together in Toronto 10 years ago. A day that had a profound effect on Fern, because her conversation with Will helps to cement her decision to stay in Toronto, and give up working at the family resort in Muskoka. Ten years later, after Ferns mother has died in an accident Fern is back at the resort, sorting things out. She is trying to decide whether to sell or run the resort herself. Will shows up unexpectedly. Ferns mother had hired him to do some business consulting for the struggling resort.

This book was well written. Fortunes descriptions of the resort in the Muskokas was vivid, and extremely well done. I also loved some of the side characters, especially the older couple that served drinks and chips at a weekly soirée.

However there were some aspects of this novel that hampered my enjoyment. I really had a hard time buying the insta love of Fern and Will after one day, 10 years ago. I also just couldn’t get over Will not showing up at the dock a year later. Lastly, the shadow of Ferns mothers death made everything a bit melancholy and bittersweet. This is just a personal preference though. I’m sure many readers will enjoy feeling a full range of emotions while reading this book.

Thank you to Penguin Random house Canada and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC of this book to read and review.

Was this review helpful?

Every Summer After was one of my favourite reads of 2022, so when I received a copy of Meet Me at the Lake, I was beyond excited. This is a wonderful second chance romance, but it also deals beautifully with familial obligations, loss of a parent, the expectations we have for ourselves in our youth, all of that! I was hooked from the start, which was a great feeling because I was in a reading slump, but I think I’m cured thanks to Carley Fortune?!
I adored the relationship between Fern and Will, both in the past 10 years ago and as they found their way back to each other in the present. They were mature, sweet and lovable. Fern dealing with the loss of her mom and having the resort thrust upon her when she had completely different life plans was great to read, and the grief was relatable. I also absolutely adored Fern’s relationship with Peter and Jamie, and while sometimes side characters can be really annoying, I was happy to see them whenever they appeared. I love the little community Carley Fortune created at the resort and I could actually imagine the place being real and like I had been there and see everything she was describing.

Also shout out to the author for keeping the setting in Canada! I feel like most books in this genre, or at the least the ones I end up reading, are always based in the US so it was nice to read about places I’m familiar with and it just made it that much cozier to me, ha.

Definitely recommend this one if you loved Every Summer After or if you’re just a fan of a great, second chance love story 😊

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Advanced Book Review! Thank you @netgalley and @penguinrandomca for sending me this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
“A random connection sends two strangers on a daylong adventure where they make a promise one keeps and the other breaks, with life-changing effects."
Meet Me at the Lake was my most anticipated novel of 2023. I LOVED Every Summer After and it was one of my top two reads of 2022. So I was beyond excited to receive approval for the ARC from @netgalley @penguinrandomca. I almost didn’t want to start reading it because once I started, I knew I wouldn’t want to do anything other than read it, and also then it would be over.
However, I managed to push through those thoughts and, of course, picked it up almost immediately.
Every Summer After will always be one of my favourite books, and I also really enjoyed Meet Me at the Lake. I loved the dual timelines and getting information about Will and Fern both in the past and present and I loved Maggie’s diary entries (for a third timeline) and learning more about her past alongside Fern. I honestly wish there were more of them. Along with a romance, this book explores the relationship between a mother and daughter and the end almost brought me to tears.
And I really loved that this book takes place in Toronto and Muskoka and had so many familiar references and kind of inside Toronto jokes (always here for TTC bashing, IYKYK). Brookbanks Resort is described as “a classic lakeside resort in Muskoka, with a hilltop lodge and cabins overlooking the water,” which I can totally picture and I loved all the plot points about running the resort.
And finally, as Fern explains, “Toronto was at its best in June. The patios and parks spilled over with unbridled early summer giddiness.” This is so absolutely true and I love Toronto in the summer.
I definitely recommend Meet Me at the Lake for a great summer read. And Every Summer After! If you haven’t read that one yet.

Was this review helpful?

Just like Every Summer After, I was immediately captivated by the first few pages. I read this novel in 2 days. I enjoyed the resort setting. This story is told in dual timelines but showcases the same characters. I like a love story when it’s not instant and characters grow. There is also suspense as you wonder why the relationship faded 10 years ago. It is also dealing with grief.

Carley Fortune is now an auto-buy for me. It is great to read such promising Canadian authors.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me a complimentary e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?