Zoe longs for a permanent relationship, someone to love her. She had been married to her best friend Chris, but a year into their marriage he left her for another man. Since her divorce, she has not been ready to get involved with anyone as she is still trying to make sense of her broken marriage. Her own mother had abandoned her when she was young and her father blames her for the breakup of her own marriage. After her mother left, her father sent her to live with her grandmother Emma, promising to send for her. But that was a promise he never kept. Now her grandmother is suffering from a form of dementia, including small strokes, which are bound to lead up to one major final stroke. In the process, she is losing her memory and cannot take care of herself, so Zoe, a chef at a bed and breakfast, which she jointly owns with her cousin Justine, is planning to move Emma into a cottage with her so she can take care of her.
Before she can move Emma into the family cottage they are sharing, renovations need to be made, so Zoe gets local carpenter Alex to do the work. As Alex tries to help the ghost regain his memories as well as doing the work on the cottage; he suddenly stops drinking and begins suffering from withdrawal. However, being around Zoe and her magic with cooking seems to give him peace. Still dealing with his ex-wife and their pending divorce, he doesn’t want to get entangled with anyone, especially one as sensitive as Zoe since he feels that he will only bring her down. But he is finding the desire he feels for her hard to resist. Can he get beyond the traumas of his past and open his heart to Zoe, or will he lose his chance at true love?
In DREAM LAKE, the third book in the FRIDAY HARBOR series, phenomenal author Lisa Kleypas combines richly drawn characters and a poignant plot, interlaced with a touch of the paranormal, to give readers a story they will not soon forget. Although I love all of the books in this series, DREAM LAKE may be the best one so far. There is a touching secondary romance between Emma and the ghost, who is a part of her past, as their former time together is relived in memories. As Alex struggles with his feelings for Zoe, the ghost is also suffering from his love for the woman who is losing her memories. There seems to be a parallel between the two couples as the ghost tries to prevent Alex from making the same mistakes he made. Since Zoe is a chef whose magic with food has a healing power all its own, there is frequent mention of food and the descriptions are enough to make your mouth water. Although it is not necessary to read the first two books in this series to understand DREAM LAKE, I am sure you will want to check them out after reading this delightful story. If this story does not touch your heart, then you don’t have one. Having read these books out of order, I have already read the next one, DECEPTION COVE, but now I am eager to revisit it and hope there are more to come.