Sweet Lake (Review & Excerpt)

by Christine Nolfi


Linnie Wayfair knows just how many people are counting on her. But knowing doesn’t make doing any easier.

Everyone in Sweet Lake, Ohio, wants her to muster all her business sense and return the Wayfair Inn to its former glory. Her parents hope she’ll forgive her scoundrel of a brother and reconcile the family. The eccentric Sweet Lake Sirens want her to open the inn—and her heart—to new possibilities. And her hilarious lifelong friends Jada and Cat are dropping none-too-subtle hints for her to ignite a romance with Daniel Kettering, the sexy attorney who’s been pining for her for years…

Now a shocking turn of events will open old wounds and upend the world Linnie has carefully built. She has to make changes quickly—and the results, though not entirely what she expected, might be what she’s been yearning for all along. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

Sweet Lake is a lovely novel, the plot is really entertaining and well written. The story follows Linnie trying to find her path while juggling work, friends, her family’s delicate balance, and the Sweet Lake Sirens’ rituals.
As always, I appreciate Christine’s ability to describe strong women, who even in adversity – far away from their lives’ expectations- do not lose the hope of finding their way to happiness, surrounded by lovely friends in charming little towns where solidarity is the keyword.

Also this time, Christine will not delude your expectations.

This book deserves five out of five stars.


“[Sweet Lake] has such a charming small-town vibe and endearing characters that readers will find themselves falling in love with quirky Sweet Lake and hoping for a series. Perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber or Nora Roberts’ romances.”

“In this uplifting and charming story, each room of the inn is filled with friendship, forgiveness, and love.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Sweet Lake is an enchanting story full of lovable characters.”  —Redbook

“Craving a literary trifecta of romance, small town drama and soul searching? That’s exactly what you’ll find in Linnie Wayfair’s life as she tries to restore an inn in Sweet Lake, Ohio to glory —  all while navigating affairs of the heart. This is the literary answer to Gilmore Girls withdrawals, and we don’t give that compliment lightly.”
—Marina Kendrick, Your Tango

“A delightful read start to finish. Nolfi’s characters are believable, fun, and easy to love. You’ll want to visit the town of Sweet Lake time and again. Highly recommended.”
—Bette Lee Crosby, USA Today bestselling author

Sweet Lake is a sweet read! In her endearing style, Nolfi delivers a cast of quirky characters and a suspense-filled plot in a story you don’t want to end!”
—Patricia Sands, author of the Love in Provence series


Read an excerpt from Sweet Lake


Chapter 1

Coconuts bouncing down a bowling lane.

Linnie Wayfair woke with a start. She peered through the semidarkness in a vain attempt to locate the disturbance. No, coconuts weren’t the source of the sharp rattling. She didn’t stow tropical fruit in her suite—or own a bowling alley, for that matter.

Wincing, she glanced at the ceiling. Bats in the attic?

Problems galore plagued an inn the size of The Wayfair. Problems multiplied when half of the rooms were shut tight, the air inside growing stale and the four-poster beds lying naked, the Italian linens and the velvet bedspreads packed away. As for the attic, raccoons never waited for an invitation. Bats were also savvy party crashers.

In autumn when Ohio’s temperatures plummeted, Linnie patrolled the attic in her brother’s old football helmet and the wool topcoat her father hadn’t taken to Florida. Neither of her close friends volunteered for the missions. Since she didn’t believe in conscription, she went up by herself armed with a steel garbage lid, a flashlight, and an oversized broom that would make a witch proud. When claws skittered or the flapping of invisible wings zoomed by, she always contemplated adding her brother’s old BB gun to the arsenal.

The thought never led to action. She didn’t have the heart to harm any critter.

Please, not bats. Outside shadows caressed the rolling hills. Farther off, fingers of daylight glittered on Sweet Lake’s ebony surface. Linnie was about to pass the sound off as nothing when the rattling started again.

From the corridor Jada Brooks padded in with her ‘fro bouncing and her slippers smacking the floor. “What is that?”

The Wayfair’s pastry chef and second-in-command wore yoga pants and a heavy jersey. Despite summer’s arrival, the neglected south wing usually remained chilly until noon. Linnie grabbed her robe from the chaise lounge in a corner of the suite.

“I’m not sure,” she replied, cinching the belt.

Jada gave out a mock shiver. “Not more bats.” Her chestnut-colored eyes rounded. Then she glanced at the ceiling. “Should I wake Cat?”

“To do what?” Linnie ducked beneath the bed, found her slippers. “Cat doesn’t like vermin any more than you do. Let her sleep.”

“It’s June, not October. If the bats have come early, I’m not going upstairs with you.”

“You never go upstairs with me.” “Well, I’m not starting now.”

“There aren’t bats nesting in the eaves.” More rattling, and Linnie perked her ears. “The sound’s coming from the lake.”

They went downstairs to investigate. Behind the reception desk Mr. Uchida dozed, the carnation pinned to his lapel wilting. His light snoring carried across an area more closely resembling a living room than an austere hotel lobby, with tapestry chairs and thickly cushioned couches. Above the lobby, the main portion of the inn remained blissfully silent.

Linnie said, “Whatever’s going on, it hasn’t woken our guests.” Only the murmured conversation of the A.M. kitchen staff drifted into the lobby.

Jada frowned. “Do you think . . ?” “Oh, I hope not.”

“They usually give us fair warning.”

Linnie’s irritation gained speed. “Usually,” she repeated, fearing the worst. “If they’ve broken the rule, I will not be amused.”

“Relax. Maybe they’re holding a ceremony to place good vibes around The Wayfair. It is the beginning of the tourist season. We can use the help.”

“I don’t need their help.” She wasn’t foolish enough to rely on a group of nutty women to make magical charms in hope of increasing the inn’s reservations. “They’re supposed to give me notice before holding a meeting on the beach. If they’re here out of a misplaced desire to help, they should’ve given me a heads-up.”

Jada glanced at the clock above the dozing Mr. Uchida’s head. “Stop worrying.

It’s barely dawn. They aren’t dancing around naked.”

“And you’re sure because…?” Given the recent fiasco, she wouldn’t put anything past the Sweet Lake Sirens.

Last May, newlyweds honeymooning at The Wayfair decided to take a midnight stroll around the lake’s dancing blue waters, while on the beach, the Sweet Lake Sirens were holding an impromptu meeting. The women, mostly middle-aged or older, had imbibed too many of the mojitos that were a Mendoza family staple. One of the members, certain she’d lost all feminine allure, bemoaned her husband’s golf obsession and lack of sexual interest since his retirement.

Frances Dufour, the group’s oldest member, arrived at the perfect—and perfectly silly—solution.

Read more from Sweet Lake

Publication Date: Februar 28, 2017
Series: A Sweet Lake Novel, Book 1
Print Length: 292 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Language: English

Discover the Sweet Lake Series:

Sweet Lake (Book 1) – Review & Excerpt

The Comfort of Secrets (Book 2) -Review and Excerpt

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