Echo Lake (A Swift River Valley Novel) by Carla Neggers
Rating: 4 Stars
Description: In snowy Swift River Valley, unexpected romance is just around the corner... Heather Sloan has landed her dream job - the renovation of Vic Scarlatti's stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It's the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge. Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather's older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help. Staying at Vic's guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn - especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody's sudden interest in her, and she suspects there's more to his homecoming than he's letting on. Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, Echo Lake is a captivating tale of family, friends, and the possibility of new love. (from Goodreads)
Genre: Romance - Contemporary
Why I Picked This Book: This is the fourth book in the series I've read and it's a series I always enjoy. Plus they're renovating a house! I can never resist renovating a house!
Pro: I loved going back to visit Swift River Valley and Knight's Bridge. Neggers has done a good job with her world building in this little town I can really picture it. I also really liked Heather. She says what she thinks and frequently instantly regrets it. She has a sense of humor and an ingrained practicality. She puts up with her brothers but holds her own and she's good at her job, incredibly capable and intelligent. As well she's just nice. Heather is someone I can imagine being friends with though she's one I have a feeling I'd want to shove a little periodically to get her out of her comfort zone.
I enjoyed the interaction between Heather and Brody. Brody doesn't go too alpha male and respects her opinion and her abilities. I also liked that the the Sloan brothers and Brody weren't continuing their teenage feud. They were wary of each other but it was an active dislike which would've felt a bit unrealistic in my opinion.
I was also so glad the costumes from That Night on Thistle Lane made an appearance and I absolutely loved that Heather dressed up in them when she was bored. I think if I had a bedroom full of old movie costumes that's what I'd be doing with my free time.
Con: While I really enjoyed reading this and I loved the community feel and all the characters I never really felt connected to the actual romance. Brody was a bit one dimensional and feels somewhat disconnected from his surroundings. Also, the end wrapped up a little too fast for me. It felt like they needed to discuss more and have a little more time together.
Overall: While this isn't a book that has a place on my Keeper Shelf I did really enjoy the read. The characters are nice but different enough to be interesting, the place is beautiful, and it was great to revisit Knight's Bridge. While not mandatory, this is a series best read in order.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I'm hoping Adrienne gets her own story at some point and I'd love to see more Sloans.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes - especially if you enjoy contemporary romances with a lower heat rating.