Eclipse Lake is the latest book from popular author Mae Clair. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of romance, but I enjoyed this book because the romance had a good dash of mystery thrown in.
The story takes place mainly in the small town of Onyx, which lies on the edge of Eclipse Lake. As you might suspect, it has some dark secrets, and one of them is the troubled past of widower Dane Carlisle, owner of a successful security company. Dane left Onyx under a cloud fifteen years earlier and now wants to reconnect with his older brother Jonah, a park warden. He returns to Onyx with his adopted teenage son, Jesse, child of his wife. The reader is quickly ensnared in the enmity between Dane and his brother, who can’t forgive Dane for failing to return when their mother was dying. Adding to the tension is Roy Harland, sheriff of Onyx and father of Brenda, who disappeared around the time Dane left Onyx. Harland has always thought Dane has something to do with her disappearance.
Romance rears its head with the arrival of Ellie Sullivan, world-traveling nature photographer, whose latest assignment brings her to Eclipse Lake. Her first encounter with Dane is contentious, but as things go, she finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to him. Jesse also finds puppy love with Paige Taggert, daughter of the town’s deputy and quickly becomes enmeshed in the lives of the teens of the town, all of whom are super nice.
The mystery begins when a rain storm reveals the skeletal remains of the sheriff’s daughter, and Dane’s past comes back to haunt him.
The story made me think of Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” Dane is the strikingly handsome, super-rich, clean-as-a-whistle man, Ellie is the beautiful young woman, and Jesse alternates between mature, rationale adult and whining teenager. I know this is the traditional format for a romance but the characters are a little too good to be true. The sheriff, who brings the real tension to the story, is one dimensional.
What does ring honestly is the relationship between the brothers, once close, now bitter. The resentment of Jonah comes through loud and clear, as the various facets of their lives are shown to be complicated by the past.
This is a fairly squeaky-clean romance with an unexpected ending to the mystery of the who killed Brenda Harland. This saved the book for me, the non-romance reader. It’s well-written and -plotted, which are the hallmarks of the author and undoubtedly why she has so many ardent followers.
I would have to recommend this book to any die-hard romantics.
I reviewed this book for Rosie’s Book Review Team and purchased it for review.
About the author
Mae Clair is an author who writes mysteries and suspense, often with a dash or more of romance. Her father was an artist who tinkered with writing and encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars. Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about folklore, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.
You can find her
On Twitter: @MaeClair1
On her web site: https://maeclair.net/tag/books/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maeclairauthor/?fref=ts
And Eclipse Lake on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eclipse-Lake-Mae-Clair-ebook/dp/B00L78GM60