A Novel with Thoughts and Ponderings

LAKE MEADE

Author: Heather Mosko ISBN: 9781892343314 9/2008 CONTEMPORARY Publisher: OAK TREE PRESS

The Devil Wears Tartan by Karen Ranney

What do you do when your first love returns to town after fifteen years, at the same time the remains of your high school boyfriend surface in the lake not far from your home and you become the primary suspect in his murder? If you're Maggie Granger, you keep running your Bed and Breakfast, take care of your son and grandfather, and try to find the real killer before you end up in jail for a murder you didn't commit—and maybe, just maybe, you find love all over again along the way.

RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS: 4 Rose Read

Heather Mosko sets her contemporary romance, LAKE MEADE, in rural Maryland in the fictional town of Lake Meade, where Maggie Granger runs a bed and breakfast on what used to be the family farm. She has the help of her grandfather who raised her and two former farm hands and her young son, Caleb. She's never revealed the name of Caleb's father, who left town abruptly after he raped her.

Jack Callahan was her "Best Summer Friend" every year when she was a child. His family lived in the vacation home next door to the Granger farm until the day his father collapsed and died in Jack's arms from a heart attack. His mother dying two months ago, Jack and his sister learn that their mother had kept the house all of these years. Kathy convinces Jack to go check out the house because, despite the painful memories of their dad's death, they had a lot of good thoughts, too. Jack wonders if he'll find Lake Meade the same as he left it, especially Maggie—his first kiss and first love.

Mosko creates full-featured characters: Jack, the architect who has been promoted to the level of manager, no longer happy now that he doesn't design buildings, still longing for the girl he lost and ready to start a new chapter in his life; Maggie, self sufficient, successful, able to compartmentalize her life and leave the past where it belongs, yet feels guilty now that Caleb wants his father in his life; Greg, Maggie's best friend, who has filled the void with the loss first of Jack and then Caleb's father, sticking with her through thick and thin but harboring his own secrets. The story gets complicated when Caleb's father turns up. Or at least a piece of burlap filled with his bones shows up now that Lake Meade is suffering from drought and the water level reveals his location. So who has been sending his mother letters and postcards for the last ten years under his signature? With Maggie on the short list of suspects and Caleb angry that he'll never get to know his dad, she struggles valiantly to clear her name. Thank goodness, that Jack is here to be her rock.

LAKE MEADE is an interesting debut novel with complex characters, a twisting turn of suspenseful events and a modicum of renewed romance between Jack and Maggie. It is fairly quick to read and there are a couple of entanglements that are easily surmised. It is published by a small press that doesn't do a lot of promotion, so it may be difficult to find this book. They also don't specialize in editing the books they publish.

Susan Barton

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