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November 7, 2019

Camp Lake by John A. Heldt ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

While I don't read a lot of romance, I do sometimes like the sweet stories of discovering love. When I'm in the mood for such a story, I know John A. Heldt will deliver. Camp Lake is a satisfying conclusion to the Carson Chronicles.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

September 2019; 978-1701535534
ebook, print (323 pages); romance
I somehow missed the first 3 books in this series, but I enjoyed Caitlin's Song (read my review) and looked forward to the conclusion of this family drama. Each sibling has found love, now in the final book, it's Cody Carson's turn. But will it just be another love'em and leave'em tale for Cody?

Camp Lake is a little different than previous books that I have read by John A. Heldt. For one thing, it is set in the recent past - 1983. This is a time period I lived in, albeit I was only 6. But there were definitely familiar scenes that I remember from my childhood (like PacMan and Asteroids). A second thing, it isn't so much about experiencing the time period for the family. Outside of a few scenes, the story is set at the camp where their parents first met and fell in love. And something that felt different for this series was that most of the family is just in the background.

The siblings have been chasing their parents through time for about two years and now is their final chance to catch them before heading back to 2017. They have faced a number of dangers which we are reminded of at the beginning of this story - fires and floods and cops. In this book, the biggest dangers are directly to their family tree and what the family will face when they return to their own time.

Cody and Caitlin, along with her boyfriend from 1963, join the staff of Camp Washington. The very same camp that their parents, Tim and Caroline, worked at in 1983. But will their presence alter the timeline to the point that Tim and Caroline don't fall in love? If so, what will that mean to the timeline they are returning to in 2017?

Because it is set in the recent past, it doesn't feel all that different than now. There are no internet or cell phones, and computers use 5 1/4 floppy disks, but the young adults spend the summer doing much what teenagers do in the summer now - hiking, white water rafting, eating out, watching movies.

So the story isn't so much about learning to live in the time period. It is more about finding their parents and preparing for what they face when they return. Perhaps in other books in the series, the siblings spent time apart, but in this one, two siblings, along with there wives and children, are pretty much sidelined. There are a few conversations with Adam and Greg, but as they remain in Arizona for most of the story they aren't where the action is. Natalie and her husband Nick are seen a bit more as they are tasked with the active search for their parents. Caitlin, Cody, and Dennis are given a bit more leeway in having fun as they take jobs at the camp.

Overall, Camp Lake is what I've come to expect from Heldt and it was a satisfying ending to the series. All the loose ends are wrapped up and readers are given a glimpse of what happens to the Carson clan once they do return to 2017.

Buy Camp Lake at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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  1. pretty cover and great review. this doesn't really sound like one for me
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. Thanks. I turn to his books when all the dark and gritty novels I read start to get to me.