It's been two years since the publication of Marrying Daisy Bellamy, the eighth book in Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles series. I am so excited that book #9, Return to Willow Lake, is finally on sale today! This story centers on Sonnet Romano, a woman who is forced to return home after learning devastating news from her family. In honor of the book release, Susan Wiggs shares some of her own favorite books to read as summer draws to a close and explains why Return to Willow Lake is her "salute to the books of summer."

Big announcement: Come back to The Book Case next week to enter to win Return to Willow Lake in hardcover, as well as mass market paperbacks of books #1-8 in the Lakeshore Chronicles.

The last book of summer
guest post by Susan Wiggs

The transition from summer into fall has always seemed like a special time for me. In another life, I was a teacher, so the summers were my time to renew my spirit and re-find my life. Some years, I’d go traveling, wide-eyed in the world, discovering new wonders.

Other times, summer would mean a “stay-cation.” There is much to be said for getting up early for a nice walk before breakfast, for puttering in the garden, lazing on the patio with a good book, listening to music, getting together with friends and staying up late with a glass of wine. Everything seems to slow down in summer, doesn’t it? The days are longer, the pace is slower, yet the nights are full of life.

When I was a little girl, I lived in a small town in upstate New York, not coincidentally unlike Avalon in my Lakeshore Chronicles novels. Late at night, I felt magic in the air—sprays of stars, the flicker of fireflies, the sound of frogs and crickets—these were the accompaniment to my favorite nighttime activity: reading. There was something too delicious about listening to the night sounds outside my window and reading a book: Harriet the Spy, Diary of Anne Frank, Judy Blume books, The HobbitIt by Stephen King, Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss . . . I went through all the phases, but my favorite books of summer were always about a young woman in search of something, whether it be a tragedy from the past (Anya Seton’s Green Darkness) to a resolution with her sick mother (One True Thing by Anna Quindlen) to the quest for true love—fill in the title of your favorite romance novel here; I’ve probably read it!

There was always one book I saved for last—the last book of the summer. It often had an enticing cover, an intriguing storyline and the promise of an involving, emotional storyline: The Thorn Birds, Clan of the Cave Bear, Princess Daisy, Montana Sky, Summer Sisters. Those were some of my save-for-last books, often read between the preparation and partying of Labor Day weekend.

My new novel, Return to Willow Lake, is my salute to the books of summer—actually, to that last book you read right before summer sheds its lush glories and is transmuted into autumn. I wanted to evoke that feeling of summer’s end—the wistfulness, the breath-held moment between leisurely pursuits and the bustle of fall. In the novel, Sonnet Romano’s life is transformed one summer as she is compelled to return to the town she left as an ambitious girl—a scary proposition for many reasons.

My publisher, Mira Books, created a gorgeous hardcover for Sonnet, including probably the prettiest endpapers I’ve ever seen, featuring hand-drawn illustrated maps of Avalon, Willow Lake and Camp Kioga. Mira is also generously giving away a set of the Lakeshore Chronicles along with Return to Willow Lake, so be sure to enter on Monday!

To find out a bit more about me and my world, you can visit my website or Facebook page, check out my blog, or even view a little video here:

Enjoy the rest of summer!

Thank you, Susan! Readers: I think we can all identify with choosing a "save-for-last book" to read at the end of summer. What's on your list for Labor Day weekend?

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