Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
A 'Dirty Dancing' set.
on 19 August 2006
A contemporary novel by Susan Wiggs. Set in that most traditional of American institutions, a summer camp for children.
Olivia Bellamy's grandparents own a summer camp set on Willow Lake. It was a family tradition that the children of the large family spend the summer at the camp and in the last year become camp counsellors or guides.
Oliver's parents divorce when she is 11 and in the emotional aftermath she comfort eats and balloons in size. She also wears glasses and braces on her teeth. She remains a teased, plump adolescent until she is 18 and away from home.
When she is 12, she meets Connor Davis at the camp. He is a year older and the son of the camp caretaker who has a drinking problem. His parents are divorced; his mother lives in a trailer and has just remarried to a man who dislikes Connor (and the implication is that he is violent to the boy).
The two children after a prickly start, become friends. Nine years later, Olivia is asked by her grandmother to do a makeover of the now closed, dilapidated camp, ready for her grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, as they were married there and wish to renew their vows. Connor Davis, her first love, is the local town's building contractor and renovator.
Olivia is joined at the camp by her uncle, who has just separated from his wife, his children and some of her other cousins. Also there is Connor's adventurous younger brother. The book explores a series of family relationships and the relationship between Olivia and Connor.
It's a lovely read that really takes you into its setting of the lake and the old holiday camp (think Dirty Dancing). This apparently is the first book in what will become a series of books set at Willow Lake.