The Other Side of Forestlands Lake – Carolyn Elizabeth

Rating: 5 out of 5.
I have to say this wasn’t what I was expecting. I really enjoy Carolyn Elizabeth’s Curtis and Reynolds series – but I enjoyed this in a completely different way. Whilst the book is a little bit spooky – and I really shouldn’t have insisted on reading it past midnight – it’s essentially at heart quite a sweet book.

Starting with a prologue and approximately 25% of the book set 25 years ago, we meet Lee and Willa as teenagers, where they are staying at Forestlands Lake for the summer with their parents. They get up to the usual things teenagers do, but it’s the sweet exploration of what their friendship means to each other, and whether it is possibly anything more that really stands out at this point. Tragedy strikes and they are split apart.

25 years later we meet the two again, back at Forestlands Lake in very different circumstances. Lee now runs the summer camp – though it’s a very different one to the one they encountered in the past. She also has a daughter, Maggie. Willa has a her half-sister Nicole in tow and is returning to the lake for the first time since the tragedy.

This part of the book deals with Lee and Willa picking up where they left off – which might feel a little instant love to some – but I actually liked. It also deals with the difficulties of Willa’s return. Nicole and Maggie really shine as characters here as well.

I found I actually enjoyed the paranormal aspects of the story, which I thought would be a sticking point for me. I love the way it’s discussed through Willa’s books, Maggie and Nicole, rather than it all being about some phantom camp gossip and whispers. It made it more real and understandable to me.

Early death and how it impacts those left behind is never an easy topic, but I thought Elizabeth did a great job of covering the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters, whilst still giving both the paranormal aspects and romance parts equal footing.

I’d recommend this to romance fans and paranormal fans. It’s convinced me to read a paranormal book by one of my favourite authors that I’ve left to one side as I was convinced I’d hate it because of the paranormal – so I’d say Elizabeth is definitely onto a winner.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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