Book Review: Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Nick and Lou Klist

Nick and Lou Klist

Susan Wiggs was blessed with great parents:  Nick and Lou Klist.  Starlight on Willow Lake is dedicated to them, and the book is infused with their unconditional love and wisdom on life.  Sadly, Mr. Klist recently passed away, but his heart, soul, and spirit are very much alive in this amazing book.

Many of us didn’t win the parent lottery.  In Starlight on Willow Lake, Ms. Wiggs once again generously and graciously shares life lessons.  Her characters face rugged challenges that aren’t on anybody’s bucket lists.  Yes, love heals, but the recovery route is often full of detours, hurdles, and bumps.

Starlight WillowLake

We grow up hearing we have to play
the hand we’re dealt, but
we are always looking for a way around that.
– Susan Wiggs, Starlight on Willow Lake

Alice Bellamy survived the avalanche which killed her husband Trevor during a ski trip to New Zealand.  She had been a gifted athlete and hated life as a paraplegic.  Faith McCallum, her caregiver, was widowed at a young age because her husband Dennis didn’t take diabetes seriously.  Their precious young daughter Ruby also has diabetes.

Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs

Your mother might still be going through
a grieving process for the loss of her old life.
You can’t fix her spinal cord injury.
You can’t give her back her physical abilities.
– Susan Wiggs, Starlight on Willow Lake

While the Bellamy children are spreading their father’s ashes on the mountain where he died, Alice has an “accident.”  Mason, an international financier, is pissed that his siblings Ivy and Adam have decided it is his turn to be there for their mother.  He likes to rescue others, but he needs a bit of rescue himself:

Everyone he hires seems to have some hard-luck story, and he gives people a second chance.  The housekeeper [Philomena Armentrout] had some high-profile husband who knocked her around.

. . .it had not occurred to him that helping his mother was so very hard on the caregiver.

Mason has no problem making risky financial deals, but he sucks at making risks with his heart.

Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs

People tended to grieve the same way they loved.
– Susan Wiggs, Starlight on Willow Lake

When are risks worth taking?  What makes for a wise choice?  How do we rebound from traumatic experiences?  After life hands us lemons, we can get stuck on the things we can no longer do:

Being paralyzed is a condition.  Being angry is a choice.

People who avoid doing things out of fear are missing out on the best part of life.  Of course, if I’d been too afraid to ski down a mountain, I wouldn’t be in this chair. . .maybe there’s something to be said for cowardice.


Fear makes the wolf bigger.
– Susan Wiggs, Starlight on Willow Lake

Unconditional love and support from friends and family are essential to any recovery process:

Build on your strengths, even if it seems impossible.

We all grow by taking a risk on love and accepting the gift of love.

Susan Wiggs is my favorite author because the characters in her books are genuine.  The women are empowered, courageous, and brilliant.  I loved reading how Alice coached Cara on the college admissions process, and I smiled that Alice ~ like Ms. Wiggs ~ graduated from Harvard.  I laughed out loud over Ivy’s confession that she’s addicted ~ like me ~ to cheese.  The rescue, service animal pups warmed my heart, and I was delighted to discover today that they were named for dogs rescued from PAWS.

September 6 is National Read a Book Day

September 6 is National Read a Book Day

Today is National Read a Book Day.  I highly recommend Starlight on Willow Lake.  Ms. Wiggs’ blog post about her decision to say “yes” for a year will inspire you and make your heart sing.  It has a real life fairy tale ending.

Susan Wiggs on her wedding day

Susan Wiggs on her wedding day


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