Quinn Fortune is the head of a land trust in Lost Lake, Alaska. On that land is an old gold mine. As a result, Quinn is inundated with people telling him what to do with the land. While he’s notoriously unwelcoming to Outsiders (i.e. any soul not from Lost Lake, Alaska) he is especially hostile towards those that want him to sell/change/adapt the land of which he is the custodian. Enter Violet Parrish, someone who is hellbound on telling him what to do with the land.
Violet is a researcher who, as a result of an alarming lapse in judgment, needs to save face at the institute at which she works in San Francisco. So she decides to travel to Lost Lake to convince Mr Fortune that he should focus on conserving the land. Turning the land into a conservation spot would be a tremendous feather in her cap and would ensure that she saves her job. Ergo, she’s driven as all get out.
From the moment Violet arrives in Lost Lake, she and Quinn are rivals. Quinn issues a challenge: if Violet can last the week in Lost Lake, then he’ll listen to her proposal. And you guessed it: there’s only one bed.
They both clearly want the same thing. Quinn wants the land to remain the same. Violet wants to conserve it. To-may-toe. To-mah-toe. Yet, it is only as I sit down to write this review that I realise how flimsy the premise and conflict really is. Why am I only realizing that now? Because this book charmed the pants off me.
The emotional complexity of each of the main characters is WOW. Both Quinn and Violet have to do some serious growing up in order to be together. These emotional barriers are not just “I’ve been hurt before” (although there is some of that); the book goes deeper and focuses on the ways in which they’ve been holding themselves back, holding onto outdated ideas of themselves, and so much more. I felt their emotional growth as a visceral pang in my chest. Lovely stuff.
Then we have the scenery. Lost Lake is beautiful. So is most of Alaska, I’m reliably informed. But in the descriptions of Lost Lake, there is a reverence and a love for the landscape in this book. The language used paints such a vivid picture that I feel like I’ve been there for a long, long visit staying with locals.
Finally, we have the highlight of the book: Violet Parrish, herself. She is resilient and determined and so utterly herself. She might quake and doubt and fret, but she still forges ahead. A small disclaimer here: Violet reminds me of my best days, before I had my health challenges, and she makes me feel like I can be that person again. So perhaps I am a little biased when it comes to Violet’s personality.
Each member of the Fortune family will have their own book (I assume, as this is book one in the series) and I’m delighted that I will get to spend time with them. They squabble and love each other and poke each other with sticks (figuratively, that is). I’m delighted to have discovered this series, and so pleased to have traveled and spent time with a character who reminded me of, well, past me. While the conflict upon reflection was a little sparse, I am very much looking forward to book two.