A guest review by Kassa
When Kyle Champlain’s grandmother, Molly, passes away, he returns to Wetlake, Canada, to settle her estate. Kyle spent his summers in Wetlake as a child, and now he has the chance to renew his acquaintance with some old friends, including Ryan Summers, before going home to Chicago. But when Kyle tries to pressure Ryan into a business decision, their renewed friendship—and any possible attraction–is almost immediately on the rocks.
As Kyle begins to deliver the personalized bequests from Molly’s will, he meets an odd assortment of people from all walks of life and realizes he has a lot to learn about living and love. But he’ll have to fight his parents, suspicious beneficiaries, and Ryan’s fears if he plans to stay in Wetlake.
I’m a fan of Sherwood’s previous Dark Horse stories so I chose this one based on the author and honestly I adored the cover. Lost Treasure is a contemporary story written in past tense so those that were bothered by the present tense of previous Sherwood novels can rest easy. The characters are natural, not too complicated, and the story just flows effortlessly. There is a mild tension and the only conflict is how Kyle and Ryan will eventually get together. The story is a light, smooth tale with good imagery and a breezy writing style that keeps you reading.
The plot revolves loosely around gym owner Kyle. He’s returned to Wetlake to handle his deceased grandmother’s estate and immediately runs into Ryan. Kyle used to spend his summers on the Canadian shore until he was fourteen and found in a compromising situation with Ryan. Kyle’s parents brought him back to Chicago immediately and he never returned to Canada. Now Kyle has to deal with his emerging feelings of sorrow for his grandmother, regret for actions and the long time that passed, and reignited desire for Ryan.
The story is very character driven, which is both its strength and weakness. The characters feel natural and straightforward. Ryan is a young man that moved home to take care of an ailing father. The bonus is that now Ryan can be a part of his son’s daily life. The family dynamic between Ryan, his son Sean and parents, is really excellent and a highpoint of the story. The characters feel real but lack any insane drama and instead convey almost an idealistic family. It may be unreal but it’s a dynamic that I enjoyed reading quite a bit.
Kyle is the more complicated of the two but he comes across as a man who doesn’t like conflict and prefers to take the easy way to avoid it. He’s a character I think many people will like and identify with. He’s not bad but he doesn’t force his parents to accept him when it’s easy to avoid the issue. He does finally take a strong stand in many ways. On the one hand I struggled with the chemistry between Kyle and Ryan. There is no sex until the last half/third, which is fine but there is also very little sexual tension between the two. Instead they dance around not wanting to get involved due to circumstances and work through their emotional issues first.
The flip side is that I could easily buy into this concept. Long time friends with a first crush reunite later on. It’s a time honored concept and well used here. I didn’t necessarily feel that excitement and passion between them but I did believe that Kyle wanted to be with Ryan and more so, Kyle wanted to make a change. Unfortunately Kyle dithers about and can’t make up his mind. He seems to rely on the mystery clues from his dead grandmother, which feel very heavy handed and clunky. The idea is clever yet too obvious and without any subtly to soften the message.
This is a minor point though as the writing is effortless and easy. The pace remains even with a lot of interest in the pages. From the colorful secondary cast to the unbelievably spoiled cat, the scene stealing son Sean and the beautiful lake imagery, the combination makes for an enjoyable, light contemporary. There may not be enough tension to hold some readers, those that prefer more angst ridden stories may find this slow. This is best suited for readers that want something light, easy, with likable characters and more emphasis on friendship than passionate sex.