G595 Book Review of Moonlight on Butternut Lake by Mary McNear

Name of Book: Moonlight on Butternut Lake

Author: Mary McNear

ISBN: 978-0-06-228318-4

Publisher: William Morrow

Part of a Series: Butternut Lake Trilogy

Type of book: Minnesota, contemporary romance, abuse, running away, caretaker, summer season, attraction, previous characters, college, nursing aspirations, friendships, 2000s

Year it was published: 2015


From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Up at Butternut Lake comes the third novel in the Butternut Lake series—a dazzling story of two wounded souls seizing a second chance at life and love

On the run from her abusive husband, Mila Jones flees Minneapolis for the safety and serenity of Butternut Lake. Ready to forge a new life, Mila’s position as home health aide to Reid Ford is more than a job. It’s a chance at a fresh start. Though her sullen patient seems determined to make her quit, she refuses to give up on him.

Haunted by the car accident that nearly killed him, Reid retreats to his brother’s cabin on Butternut Lake and lashes out at anyone who tries to help. Reid wishes Mila would just go away. . .until he notices the strength, and the secrets, behind her sad, brown eyes.

Against all odds, Mila slowly draws Reid out. Soon they form a tentative, yet increasingly deeper, bond as Mila lowers her guard and begins to trust again, and Reid learns how to let this woman who has managed to crack through his protective shell into his life. While the seemingly endless days of summer unfold, Reid and Mila take the first steps to healing as they discover love can be more than just a dream.


The main characters include Mila Jones, Reid Ford, Allie Ford and Walker Ford. (Allie and Walker are from previous books.) Mila Jones is a woman who had a very rough childhood and became determined to work as a nurse. She is loyal, seeking, tough and will do whatever she can to accomplish her goals. Reid Ford is Walker's older brother and is best described as a workaholic, angry, has a cutting sense of humor, but he is also loyal and will do whatever he can for those he loves. Allie is a busy woman who is likable and very friendly and has two children, while Walker Ford is the husband and in this book he is open about what his expectations and what to expect from Reid and Mila. Walker is also supportive of his brother and wants to do whatever he can for him.


Don't be afraid to start over


The story is written in third person narrative from Mila's and Reid's points of view, and unlike in other books from similar genres that I have read before, there is more of Mila's point of view rather than Reid's. Yes, Reid does show up and give his view or opinion, but it didn't seem a if I got a chance to really get to know him. One other character, namely Mila's ex-husband also plays a role and has a point of view too, but while I was hoping for a complex character from him, my literary prayers weren't answered.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

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About Mary McNear40704

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary McNear is a writer living in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local donut shop where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made donuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.
Connect with Mary on Facebook.


I know I enjoyed the book, but its a bit difficult to articulate into words what I enjoyed or what stood out for me. Its definitely a sweet summer romance where the relationship between Mila and Reid is really fleshed out and is built upon the emotions that the two experience for one another. Despite the length, it took me a very short time to read it and find a lot of things I liked about it: the characters of Mila and Reid and how important the characters from the previous novel, Up at Butternut Lake, gain importance in the relationship. Personally for me, these elements really stand out in the book, but other than that it seems more like a comfort food on a bad day. By the way, love the cover.

This is for TLC Book Tours

Mary’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, May 12th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, May 12th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Wednesday, May 13th: Fuelled by Fiction
Thursday, May 14th: Raven Haired Girl
Friday, May 15th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, May 18th: Always With a Book
Wednesday, May 20th: Walking With Nora
Wednesday, May 20th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, June 3rd: Reading Reality
TBD: Bibliotica
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)


  1. A sweet summer romance seems like the perfect thing to read on a warm summer evening.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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