Susan Wiggs – Lakeshore Chronicles

New author on my radar. I’m enjoying her Lakeshore Chronicles. There are 5 books so far in the set. I love the continuity in the characters’ lives and descriptions about the small town they live in. I don’t know  if I’m ready to invest money in her books yet, but if making a trip to the library anytime in the future, she is worth checking out. Tell me what you guys think.

So, I started this series backwards. I read Snowfall at Willow Lake (book 4 in the series), read the 5th book in the series and then went back to read the first three.

One thing I never understood was why I didn’t like Sophie Bellamy so much in Snowfall at Willow Lake, but after reading Dockside, the story of Sophie’s ex-husband finding  his true love, I realize that I couldn’t like Sophie because it seems that the author doesn’t like her for the choices Sophie has made. In the hierarchy of things, the author seems to like the woman who sacrifices everything for her daughter (Nina – who’s pretty much loved and lauded by everyone who comes across her), then the father who sacrifices for his kids (Greg – let’s just forget the years that he was driven by his work and focus ONLY on the now) and then it’s Sophie (running far, far behind and called selfish by most everyone).

Book 3 and Book 4 in the Lakeside Chronicles just aren’t realistic. Parents have to go out and earn. Parents are also human beings who have a right to be ambitious and have dreams. Greg was lauded for coming back to Avalon and living  his dream, and for taking care of his kids. And Sophie was vilified for going to save a country’s children. Oh, there was lip service given to what a great thing she was doing, but it was just that. No sincerity. Greg was forgiven ALL his past mistakes because he was there now. But Sophie wasn’t forgiven anything, not until she totally turned her life around and came to Avalon to live, just so she could atone for making the huge mistake of having a dream too.

I just feel like the author makes a value judgment on Sophie’s choices, considers them the wrong ones, and then tries to write a story about a character she doesn’t really like. In doing that, she does a disservice to Sophie, who works and does so at a job she actually likes. Doesn’t she have that right? In Dockside, it’s mentioned over and over again that Nina worked hard too, sometimes 12 hours a day when she was mayor, but no one, and I am surprised by this, no one says anything bad about her. Greg did the same when he worked in the city,  and works long, long hours at the inn. So, why is he so much better than Sophie?

Sophie didn’t start taking cases in other states until she realized that her marriage was breaking down. Even then, she wanted to take her kids to the Hague with her. So, why is it wrong to work long hours only because Sophie does it? Why is she the selfish one? I think Sophie is labeled selfish because she works when she doesn’t have to. I can’t see why everyone, especially her own kids, blame her so much more than they do the father?

I’ll continue to read Lakeshore Chronicles, but I think my interest is waning a bit in the series. I just hope that the rest are more in line with the first two in the series than the last three I read. There was too much of an emphasis on self-sacrifice and parental guilt. Sorry, but just because you become parents, does not mean you have to stop being human beings with your own dreams and ambitions. Knowing you killed your parents’ dreams … wouldn’t that be a bigger burden to a child?

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