Lin Stepp has had a productive season! Eight at the Lake is the next novel in the Mountain Home Series. Each book is a stand-alone, faith-based novel set in the lovely Smoky Mountain region.
Lots of good reasons
I quickly found multiple reasons to read Eight at the Lake!
The usual excellent storytelling readers have come to expect from Lin Stepp. Set in the beauty of Tennessee, Lin spins a believable tale of family and a God of 2nd chances.
Exactly that point – a God of 2nd chances. “Eight” brings out varied second chance aspects. Some characters are quite comfortable with their spiritual relationship. As others learn more about their relationship with God, their faith practice expands.
Some wrongs ruin families. Often forgiveness isn’t a possibility. For the people who are murdered, their opportunities are OVER.
Building a future on a second chance
Life ‘happens’ for the main characters in the story. Rather like the weather, some of these situations are very difficult and destructive. When a hurricane or tornado wreaks havoc on communities, survivors face choices. They can rebuild or run away. When young parents die in accidents or from illness, their families are left with choices. They can re-build or hide. “Eight” centers on rebuilding and renewing. The surviving family has endured extreme loss.
Eight at the Lake, a tender, faith-based romance enfolds the two adults and eight children whose lives lie ahead of them. Their blessing is that they can work together in a family union. The “Eight” would have had enough care without the romance. Their father (both biological and adoptive) can provide the necessary care. The woman who loves all but is aunt of four brings joy to the family along with romance.
Samantha King and Ford McDaniels find a heartwarming romance. The care and raising of the EIGHT are primary with the couple. Will the “Eight” and their adults become a loving family? You betcha! That family is enriched by variety. Clever young children and experimental teens bring more tension to the story. This beautiful family is far from perfect and has much to learn.
The thriller comes around
More than a simplistic wholesome romance, the spark of a thriller lights up this book. Two, then three murders almost become four! The murderer moves among the community and is not suspect. He even shoots a family dog. Fortunately, the dog is only wounded.
A little unintended competition
Added tension maintains throughout the book. Juanita, an older woman stepped up to be a caregiver for the ‘Eight.” When Ford McDaniels was the only present parent, he needed help. Juanita openly resents Samantha. She shares common community disapproval. Samantha returned to her career when her sister’s death left four orphans. Few in the community appreciate her position. Her broadcast meteorologist career required her to travel. Her other option was to stop chasing storms. To fold her life and raise the children in a state of poverty in Dandridge.
Beautiful, Historic Dandridge, Tennessee
Read about and enjoy the historic town of Dandridge, Tennessee. Reach back in time to learn about old families, events, and businesses. History has thrived to become familiar businesses in the 21st Century. The lifestyle of the characters in the story enfolds hospitality and tourism. Travelers enjoy the camping and lake opportunities. Eight at the Lake is fiction. But reflective of life in Dandridge. Fictional action resorts join fine inns, or bed and breakfast homes. The beautiful resort settings become venues for many family events. Local planners arrange for celebrations of birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries. Or a simple family/friends gathering. The resort ‘home’ for the ‘Eight” and family characters is a precious treat.
Lin Stepp always spins her stories with rich, colorful details. Eight at the Lake talks of weather. Samantha King is a meteorologist and active storm chaser. An accident in this dangerous career was the catalyst for her summer at Dandridge. Ford McDaniels is a local veterinarian. His late wife Laura, was a nurse. Characters include doctors, law enforcement officers, and event planners. Small shoppe owners add colorful business in historic buildings.
Generations of family further enrich the story. There are fractures in these families. That happens ‘in real’ families. Samantha grew up with her Aunt Dixie who has a delightful, popular bed and breakfast inn. Her relationship with her father is stressed. Ford’s parents are older and beset with health issues, but they spend as much time with the children as they can. The McDaniel family owns the resort at the center of the story. The location enables Ford to have a large home for his brood of eight children. There are homes nearby for his elderly parents and for Juanita’s family.
A Second chance sandwich
Juanita is a sandwich character. She lives with her extended family. Caring for her elderly parents as well as her children and grandchildren. Juanita is needed at home. She hasn’t the bandwidth to manage the home of the Eight. To her frustration, Samantha fills in with the Eight.
More to read and enjoy
“Eight at the Lake” is part of the Mountain Home series. The story joins Lin Stepp’s wide collection of novels in being interesting to a range of readers. The plots and characters are different. You don’t feel you’ve ‘read this before. You can let your grandmother, your teen, and your husband read this book. Each will find it an excellent story. Follow Lin at her website LinStepp.com She publishes a blog post there that doubles as a newsletter. She doesn’t cram your email with messages! You get to choose. I recommend you choose her blog!
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