Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair
Romance, suspense, mystery! Mae Clair has truly outdone herself! Eclipse Lake is stunning, powerful and emotional! I loved Dane and Ellie, their story warmed my heart!
Small towns hold the darkest secrets.
Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.
But memories in small towns are bitter and long.
Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff.
When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.
About Mae Clair:
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with conflict, romance and elements of mystery. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.
Review by Diana M. Hockley:
Firstly, I chose to read this book because the cover is so elegant and peaceful! However, I was amazed and delighted by the plot – nothing like the cover. The author’s skill ensures that this story is a “cut above” the norm, being well written and presented.
Dane, a widower, returns with his adopted son, Jesse, to his home town to make peace with his older brother, Jonah. Although he is now successful and confident, his past comes back to haunt him. Troubled as a teenager, the town is determined to remember him as a thief and trouble-maker who has done jail time.
His brother has nurtured his bitter hatred for Dane, firstly because his younger brother didn’t come home to help with his mother’s illness or to attend her funeral. Secondly, although Jonah had already broken up with his girlfriend, Brenda, he is harbouring resentment because she zeroed in on Dane later. The disappearance of Brenda has never been solved, and her father, the town Sheriff, is convinced Dane is responsible. His hatred and bitterness burning him up, he is prepared to catch Dane and Jesse for anything he can find, not the least for the murder of his daughter.
Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer who is working in the area, is caught up in the struggle between the brothers, and uncertain whether she can or should commit to her feelings to Dane, or move on, as has been her habit.
Long held secrets come to light shortly after Dane and Jesse arrive. Jesse, anxious to prove his father’s worth, brings the past to a surprising conclusion. I didn’t see the solution coming – something which delighted me!
An aspect of this novel that I particularly liked was the depth of the characters. Dane, Jesse, Ellie and Jonah are people in whom one can invest concern. The setting is well shown. Small rural communities in Australia as just as “hidebound” and have as long memories as those of Eclipse Lake. Scandal moved as fast and grudges abounded every bit as realistically as those in my part of the world.
The love story is believable and – thank goodness – the author has not filled the story with endless erotic scenes between the characters. Far too many modern novels are erotica linked with a plot, rather than the other way around. This romance is perfect and a charming part of the whole.
Very highly recommended, an unusual mystery and well worth a reader’s time and money.
Review by Carmen Stefanescu:
Onyx, a quiet, peaceful community at first glance, where residents passed leisurely evenings in high-backed rockers and porch swings. Where farmers herd milk cows in from grazing at the end of a slow dusty day.” But you know the saying — Appearances are deceptive, don’t you? Terrible secrets, guilt and sins, scandal and old grudge simmer under the appearance of a tranquil small town.
As the author states in Chapter Two – Small, rural towns sometimes held the darkest secrets of all. Indeed, Ridge Pointe especially is a place that keeps many dangerous secrets.The reading of the book kept me turning the pages as the twists and turns popped up frequently, making me ooh and aah all the time.
The great thing about the book is that I could relate to the characters, they are believable. The leading one is Dane Carlisle.
Dane, the deadbeat who left the town fifteen years before, has to face the ghosts of his troubled past. Will he persuade his brother Jonah that he’s now a changed man? Will he clean his name of all the accusations, the most serious being that of murder? How will he be able to explain to his teenage son, Jesse, honor roll student and a regional archery champion, that his now a wealthy and respected father spent a year in Wells City Juvie, followed by six months in an adult prison as a teenager himself?
I especially enjoyed the description of family ties, the dynamic of their relationship : Dane – Jonah, Dane- Jesse. Speaking of family dynamic there’s an interesting parallel between the Cralisles and the Sullivans. The former, Dane’s family, a dysfunctional one with an alcoholic mother, the latter, Ellie’s family, a loving one where they support each others and share laughter and fun.
I cringe when I read spoilers of the story, so I won’t reveal any more of this captivating book. Mae Clair does an excellent job of building emotion and intrigue; the outcome – a riveting story where even the setting is a character in itself.