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Finding Family by Susan Wiggs
In RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE, Sonnet Romano realizes how deeply rooted her search for family really is. Sure, she was raised in a loving home by her single mom, Nina (some readers might remember her from DOCKSIDE), but deep in her heart, Sonnet has always yearned for something more traditional.
But she’s her mother’s daughter after all, with that same can-do attitude. Maybe she didn’t have that traditional family, but she connected with her father–the redoubtable General Laurence Jeffries–while in college, and they managed to put together a relationship. It’s always been a bit awkward for Sonnet. Her mixed race background brings on mixed feelings, and often she’s not sure where she fits in–with her hugely ambitious father and his trophy family, including two “perfect” stepsisters? Or in her hometown of Willow Lake, in the bosom of the boisterous Romano/Bellamy family? Or somewhere on her own?
Things get complicated for Sonnet when she makes an impulsive move with Zach Alger, a friend from childhood who turns out to have hidden facets she never imagined. To further complicate things, she discovers her beloved mom is facing a health crisis of epic proportions.
So there you have it–the starting point of Sonnet’s personal journey. As I was writing this book, I was thinking of a young woman like so many I’ve known, and perhaps like the one I used to be–ambitious, torn by divided loyalties, questioning the choices she’s made so far in life. Sonnet seemed a bit prickly to me at first, but ultimately I grew to love her as she grew as a person. Her journey felt very familiar to me, though I’m not sure why. My own story is nothing like hers. But maybe when it comes to finding family and following the heart, we’re all a bit like Sonnet.