She’s Got A Way
An Echo Lake Novel #3
By Maggie McGinnis
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Gabriela O’Brien is devoted to the girls at Briarwood Academy—even when their bad behavior earns them an entire summer at a remote campground in Echo Lake, Vermont. When the headmaster assigns Gabi to be their chaperone, how can she refuse? A long, hot summer with neither indoor plumbing nor wireless access might be just what she needs to get her own life in order…right?
Before Briarwood took over Camp Echo, Luke Magellan spent years there helping troubled boys. When four spoiled rich girls and their seemingly uptight den mother show up for the summer, it’s hard to hide his amusement as he watches them tackle the great outdoors. But it’s even tougher to resist the passion he sees in Gabi—especially when he learns about her past, and sees how much she cares about her students. Is this destined to be just a grownup version of a summer-camp romance—or can they find enough in common to build a love for all seasons? (from Goodreads)
Gabi pours her life into helping the girls she is ‘housemother’ to through their years at the high class boarding school, Briarwood Academy. She spent most of her elementary through high school years there, with few visits to – or from – her parents who had no idea what her needs were. She wants the girls to receive an excellent education and feel some of the love and attention they may not receive at home. She is determined, also, to make avenues for those young women whose families had no money to send them for a quality education, and was finally able to scholarship two at-risk teens into Briarwood.
It was a nightmare, then, to find out that those two teens, and two teens from ‘well-to-do’ families hotwired one of the facility’s vans and disappeared. After several of the worst hours of her life, Gabriela located the girls. When she learned she would be part of the girls’ punishment, the summer looked very long. Gabi would have to chaperone the four girls at a summer camp typically only for troubled boys but currently closed for renovations, and cancel her reservations for a week of sun and sand in Barbados. Then she met Luke, who she thought was the maintenance man, and it would seem that each had met their match. Luke, the aloof man with two adorable frou-frou pups and seriously special pecs.
It didn’t take long to find out that the only structures with walls and roofs were the admin building, where the older of the two men and former owner, Oliver, lived, and the cabin that Luke lived in. Gabi and the teens had to put up a tent plywood pads. Their only restroom was an outhouse, and they could bathe or wash their hair in the lake. It was not every teen’s dream summer vacation, nor was it on Gabi’s. What she could find for the girls to do during the next four weeks was beyond everything she learned on the job or at university.
Over the first couple weeks, Gabi learned that Briarwood had purchased the camp. She further learned that Luke and Oliver were concerned that Briarwood had other plans for it, as they had a long laundry list of things to be done, but not enough funds to begin to buy the materials and hire the crew to do the work. When Luke began to help plan projects for the girls to do, she couldn’t believe that a maintenance man could get them to do what they needed to with seemingly little effort. Nobody saw the tormented man who could never get away from the nightmares from his past, nightmares that imprisoned him from moving forward in the present.
I really like Gabi, Luke, Oliver and four girls. Sam and Eve were the girls who were used to moving from one place to another, with little or nothing to call their own, They were not the typical boarding school student or aficionados of fine designer couturier. That dubious upbringing was left for Madison and Waverly, whose parents actually had agreed to these summer days at camp. Each had their own wounds and coping mechanisms revealed over the course of the novel. Sam’s secrets shattered the veneer of the other teens, allowing a fragile cooperation between them. I was most attached to Gabi and Sam, and later to Laura, the board member that I could only dream of being like at her delightful age!
The beautiful lakeside cover art with two Adirondack chairs facing the sunrise draws the reader into a novel that pulls at one’s heart, refusing to let go. While I’m not typically a fan of “chick lit” romances, this author has a new fan. It is more than a simple romance, and Maggie McGinnis is more than a romance writer. There is definitely drama, and not in a teenage in-your-face kind of way – although there were a few instances of that. There was humor, and some scenes were almost sidesplitting funny. Positive relationships became nurtured in the daily closeness at the camp. Romance almost didn’t occur, and stopped too soon. The plot encompassed all this and more, making this author one to be avidly read both for this novel and those in the future.
If I could change anything, it would be some of the vocabulary that seems overused. I am very happy to see an author who doesn’t write steamy, passionate scenes. Most are tasteful, leaving much to the reader’s imagination, yet some moments were almost TMI. Neither would prevent me from reading another of Maggie McGinnis’ novels. I highly recommend ‘She’s Got a Way’ to those who are fans of women’s romance seasoned with taut drama and LOL humor.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*