As kids, best friends Willa Dunn and Lee Chandler spend every summer together at the idyllic Upstate New York community of Forestlands Lake, nestled in the foothills of the Taconic Mountains. During the summer before they turn sixteen—just as the two are discovering that there might be something more to their friendship—a tragic accident befalls Willa’s family and without warning, Willa and Lee’s world is torn apart.
Twenty-five years later Willa is a successful author of the young adult ghost stories she loved to read as a child. She returns to the lake looking for a writer’s retreat and an opportunity to connect with her troubled teenage sister, Nicole.
Lee, now a single mother to her wise-beyond-her-years teenage daughter Maggie, is the director of the summer camp on the other side of Forestlands Lake.
Before Willa and Nicole even have the chance to unpack, their plans are upset by a mysterious young girl, a near drowning, and a surprise reunion. Soon Willa and Lee are working to protect the girls, reconcile their past and unearth the secrets surrounding Forestlands Lake—putting old ghosts to rest once and for all.
“Elizabeth (Gallows Humor) delivers her signature blend of lesbian romance and murder in this suspenseful outing. …the charming characters will draw in readers, and the plot ultimately hangs together nicely. Fans of romantic suspense are sure to be pleased.” – Publishers Weekly
FROM THE AUTHOR
"For three summers when I was in high school I nannied for a young girl at a small private lakeside community not unlike the one I describe in this book. To my knowledge, everyone that summered there was a good person, no one died or went missing while I was there, and it wasn’t haunted.
The memories of my time there—the quirky characters, secret party bonfires in the woods, and teenage firsts—have stuck with me all these years. When my often unpredictable muse insisted I write a ghost story this was the perfect place to go with it for me.
This being my first foray into the genre of paranormal I had no idea where to start. I quite literally sat down and googled “How to write a ghost story.” I came across a random blog whose author I can’t recall, but whose advice was exactly what I wanted to hear—the best ghost stories are the ones without an actual ghost in them.
I took that advice to heart and made it my own and I love the finished product. I hope you do, too. I can’t wait to revisit these characters for another hair raising, paranormal mystery. I have the title and cover ready to go."
Elizabeth (Gallows Humor) delivers her signature blend of lesbian romance and murder in this suspenseful outing. Paranormal YA author Willa Dunn steps into her own ghost story when she returns to her childhood summer home at Forestlands Lake. She’s hoping to work on her next book and reconnect with her half-sister, rebellious teenager Nicole, but her plans are derailed by a series of spectral visitations. When Nicole gets drunk and almost drowns in the lake, Willa’s childhood sweetheart, Lee Chandler, saves her. Lee, now the director of a summer camp for LGBTQ youth, and her daughter, Maggie, join together with Willa and Nicole to investigate the haunting. Between ghostly possessions and cryptic conversations with mysterious neighbors, Willa and Lee rekindle the flame that was barely allowed to flicker back when they were both closeted teens. Though the story hits some speed bumps trying to juggle the tense mystery and the lighthearted romance, the charming characters will draw in readers, and the plot ultimately hangs together nicely. Fans of romantic suspense are sure to be pleased.
T. Geist - Love this author's books, so I was happy to see a new one for me to read. This one still had they mystery of an unsolved case, but in a totally different way. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but it definitely was more...spooky?
What I particularly liked about this book is that the two main characters were both ready to date. There wasn't so much baggage, or another person, or anything else holding them back. They just met up again, got to know each other as adults, and moved into dating. It was really lovely to read a book without unnecessary dating drama.
What made this book so much more than just that "simple" love story was all the extra background about the lake, Willa's relationship with her sister, and Nicole and Maggie's growing friendship. The author is so great at drawing you into worlds that I was engrossed throughout the whole thing. So many great side characters and backstories.
Overall, solid book to read and different enough that I'll remember it.
Tere H. - I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions are great and suck you right into a ghostly atmosphere. Elizabeth’s best skill as an author is her ability to write great chemistry. Willa and Lee’s chemistry was palpable from the beginning. Overall, an excellent mystery/paranormal story with a sweet romance in the background.
R. Swier - ...a mix of paranormal, mystery, and romance. Aside from the paranormal story line, there were other interesting elements that made this story engaging. The characters were very likable with a history that accelerated their romance.
I enjoyed this author’s writing style. The ghostly/mystery story line was entertaining while other parts were both heartbreaking and heartfelt. But everything balanced out nicely.
Carol C. - I said I wasn’t a big fan of paranormal genre but this book had me hooked right at the start of hearing splashing water when no one was there. The story is full of colorful characters, some more suspicious, and I had about 3 pegged as “the one,”, but in the end, a twist I did not see coming. ...I loved this story—the author’s flow with words and keeping the pace up in the book was perfect. I am so glad I picked up this book, this author will definitely be on my must read list going forward, and I plan to pick up her past books with anticipation.
Andi K. - Awesome book. A second-chance romance with murder-mystery and supernatural haunting on the side. ...I love Carolyn Elizabeth's other books so jumped at this one and did not regret it!
Jules P. - There’s just the right amount of spookies, mystery, and romance. Lee and Willa fire up the pages every time they are in the same space and I appreciate the way these two 40-year-old women are very sexy in every possible way. I also liked the bits involving the past teens as well as Lee’s daughter and Willa’s sister.
For the scaredy-cats, this is not too heavy but there’s just enough to have you wondering—what was that funny noise you just heard in the attic?
It took only one book by Carolyn Elizabeth for me to decide that she was a must-read author. This is her third and it proves true again.
I love Elizabeth’s stories but even if I didn’t, I’d read her books for the characters. She makes me fall in love with all of them.
There are many layers to this book, and so we don’t get one mystery but two. Well-thought, complex and thrilling mysteries. Everything came as a surprise yet still made complete sense (in a paranormal way).
Carolyn Elizabeth is proving that she could write any genre and I’d want to read it. In this book, you get romance, paranormal and mystery all in one, with each element being as important and as well-crafted.
Pin's Reviews - The plot is solid, very interesting and exciting. The pacing is flawless, making the book a page-turner. The protagonists are very likable and I really found myself caring about them. And not only that, I find myself strongly rooting for them to fix things and start a life as it was supposed to be for them. The younger pair of characters are great too, with a very important role in the narrative. The author did a very good job with them, as well as with numerous secondary characters. All in all, a really enjoyable story which I will read again. I highly recommend it, and am looking forward to other books by Carolyn Elizabeth.
Zoe S. - A paranormal lesbian romance wouldn't normally be my first choice of book (yes, I'm a scaredy-cat), but I had read a lot of good things about The Other Side of Forestlands Lake and I knew I had to check it out for myself. And I'm really glad I did. Yes, the paranormal features heavily throughout the book, but it's not overwhelming and the book features a second-chance romance trope that I'm a sucker for.
I was riveted for the first half of the book and just wanted answers to everything! The secondary characters, Willa's sister Nicole and Lee's daughter Maggie, were really well-developed and played an integral part in uncovering the murky truths of the lake. I'll certainly check out other books by Elizabeth as she definitely knows how to tell a story!
It’s not very explicit, I would say moderately with a much sweeter vibe, but the characters have some nice chemistry. I really felt the attraction between them so I didn’t miss out on not having steamy sex scenes.
The mysteries were well written and very interesting to see how the clues unfolded. This charming lake town sure has some sketchy people, yikes. There are plenty of suspects and while I was checking them off one by one, I did not solve the crime on my own. Elizabeth got one past me and I like when that happens.
This is a book that I would absolutely recommend. If you are a fan of Elizabeth, don’t hesitate for a second to read this. If you want a good read for Halloween, get this. Elizabeth knows how to write and her stories are clever with good characters. This book was really gripping and I loved every minute of it.
Betty H. - With every book I’ve read by Carolyn Elizabeth, I’ve fallen more in love with her writing, and that continues to be true after reading The Other Side of Forestlands Lake. Ms. Elizabeth did a wonderful job with the setting and the eerie mood of this tale. The characters, both main and secondary, are well developed and fit their roles in the story perfectly. Some of the secondary characters really add to the gloomy darkness of the setting. The story itself and the mystery of the tale is intriguing and spine-tingling in all the right places.
I thoroughly enjoyed this paranormal/mystery/romance and have added it to my favorites list.