Marrying Daisy Bellamy

Marrying Daisy Bellamy

by Susan Wiggs

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Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs returns to Willow Lake for the long-awaited story of a woman at the crossroads of love…

There are days on Willow Lake…

Daisy Bellamy has struggled for years to choose between two men—one honorable and steady, one wild and untethered. And then, one fateful day, the decision is made for her.

When the wind is so still and the water so calm…

Now busy with a thriving business on Willow Lake, Daisy knows she should be happy with the life she's chosen for herself and her son. But she still aches for the one thing she can't have.

You can almost hear your heartbeat…

Until the man once lost to her reappears, resurrected by a promise of love. And now, the choice Daisy thought was behind her is the hardest one she'll ever face…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778317715
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 07/28/2015
Series: Lakeshore Chronicles Series , #8
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 122,546
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. Visit her website at

Read an Excerpt

The bridegroom was so handsome, Daisy Bellamy's heart nearly melted at the sight of him. Please, she thought. Oh, please let's get it right this time.

He offered her a brief, nervous smile.

"Come on," she said in a barely audible whisper, "once more with feeling. Say I love you, and mean it. Show me what you're feeling."

He was a storybook prince, in his dove-gray swallowtail tux, every hair in place, adoration beaming from every pore. He stared intently into her eyes and, in a voice that broke with sincerity, said, "I love you."

"Yes," Daisy whispered back. "Got it," she added, and lowered the camera away from her face. "That's what I'm talking about. Good going, Brian."

The videographer moved in to capture the reaction of the newly minted bride, a flushed and pretty young woman named Andrea Hubble. Using his video camera as an extra appendage, Zach Alger gently coached the couple with a word or two and soon had them talking intimately about their love, their hopes and dreams, their happiness on this glorious day.

Daisy took a candid shot of the couple as they leaned in for another kiss. In the background, a loon beat skyward from Willow Lake, droplets of water sparkling like stars in the glow of early twilight. The beauty of nature added a sheen of romance to the moment. Daisy was good at capturing romance in her camera frame. In life—not so much.

She longed to feel the joy she saw in her clients' faces, but her own romantic past was a series of mistakes and missed chances. Now here she was, a screwup trying to unscrew her life. She had a small son who didn't realize his mom was a screwup, a responsible job and an unadmitted yearning for something she couldn't have—that shining love her camera observed through its very expensive lens.

"I think we're done here," Zach said, checking his watch. "And you guys have a big party to go to."

The bridal couple squeezed each other's hands, their faces wreathed in smiles. Daisy could feel the excitement coming off them in waves. "Biggest party of our lives," said Andrea. "I want it to be perfect."

It won't be, thought Daisy, keeping her camera at the ready. Some of the best shots happened at random, unplanned moments. The flaws were what made a wedding special and memorable. The glory of imperfection was one of the first things she'd discovered when she'd started working as a wedding photographer. Every event, no matter how carefully planned, had its imperfections. There would always be a groomsman facedown in the punch bowl, a collapsing pavilion tent, somebody's hair on fire when they leaned too close to the candles, an overweight, fainting auntie, a wailing infant.

These were the things that made life interesting. As a single mother, Daisy had learned to appreciate the unplanned. Some of her life's sweetest moments came when she least expected them—the clutch of her son's tiny hands, anchoring her to earth with a power greater than gravity. Some of the most awful moments, too—a train pulling out of the station, leaving her behind, along with her dreams—but she tried not to dwell on that.

She suggested that the newlyweds hold hands and hike across a vast, pristine meadow at the edge of Willow Lake. During the World War II years, the meadow had been the site of a communal Victory Garden. Now it was one of Daisy's favorite settings, particularly at this golden hour of the day, when time hovered between afternoon and evening.

The meadow was suffused in the last pink and amber of the sun's rays. This moment, for Andrea and Brian, was perfect. The bride led the way, walking slightly ahead of him with her chin held aloft. The groom's posture was protective, yet he exuded joy from every angle of his body. The breeze kicked up her gown so that the shadows connected the two of them like a delicate dark web, the unrehearsed drama of the movement coinciding with the firing of the camera shutter.

Checking the viewfinder of her camera, Daisy suspected this might be an iconic shot for this couple.

Except…she zoomed in on a small spot on the horizon.

"Damn," she muttered.

"What?" Zach asked, leaning to look over her shoulder.

"The Fritchmans' dog, Jake, got loose again." There he was in high-resolution glory, silhouetted against the sweeping sky, taking a crap.

"Classic," Zach remarked, and went back to coiling his cables and organizing his gear for the wedding reception.

Daisy pushed a button to tag the photo for later retouching.

"Ready?" she asked Zach.

"Time to party on," he said, and they followed the bride and groom along the lakeshore path to the main pavilion of Camp Kioga, where the reception would take place. The couple made a pit stop to freshen up for their grand entrance, and Daisy prepared to document the festivities.

She'd liked the bride from the start, and she had always loved the setting of Camp Kioga. The serene lakeside resort was a historic landmark on Willow Lake, and it belonged to Daisy's grandparents. Tucked into the wildest corner of Ulster County near the town of Avalon, Camp Kioga had been founded as a retreat for the elite of New York City, a place where the well-heeled could escape the steamy summer heat.

These days, the camp had been transformed into a luxurious resort by Daisy's cousin Olivia. Last year, the reinvented retreat had been featured as a destination wedding venue on, and bookings were steady.

To Daisy, Camp Kioga was more than a beautiful setting. She had spent some of her life's most joyous—and most painful—moments here, and the entire landscape had shaped her aesthetic as a photographer.

The firm she'd worked for since finishing college, Wendela's Wedding Wonders, was a local institution, and Daisy was grateful for the job. The work was steady, the hours crazy and the income adequate, if not lucrative. There would never be a shortage of people wanting to get married. And okay, she did dream of branching out from weddings and portraits, because her deepest love was something she termed narrative nature photography.

At heart, she was a storyteller. Her photos offered intimate glimpses through her lens. She captured the fragile, ephemeral nature of the world around her with pictures that haunted her heart, arousing deep emotions from the simple grace of trees dipping their branches in the water, the abundance of a green-shadowed forest in springtime, the epic shape of granite crags above a gorge. In college, she'd always been under deadline pressure because her subjects would not be rushed—tadpoles transforming themselves, a fawn finding its way through a meadow, the stillness of a heron as it waited in the marshy shallows for its next meal.

Photography was where she'd found her artist's voice and a passion for the work. The fascination had begun with the gift of a Kodak camera on her eighth birthday. She had captured a shot of her grandma Bellamy learning to hula hoop that day, experiencing a moment of such satisfaction that it felt like a benediction. It was a moment that would never again be repeated; she had frozen it forever in time and memory, and despite the fact that it featured her own grandmother, there was something universal in the shot that anyone could understand.

That was the moment she'd discovered the power of photography. She often wished for more time to produce fine art with her camera, but even fine artists—and their small sons—had to eat. For a single mom, steady work trumped high art every time. And the photo snobs seemed determined to overlook a key fact. In the midst of a wedding, opportunities abounded for finding a transcendent moment. A good photographer simply knew where to look for them and how to capture them. At a wedding, you could find people at their most real. The same story played out in endless ways and infinite variety, and for Daisy, it held a kind of fascination.

She was intrigued by the mysterious alchemy that drew a couple together and compelled them to embark on a journey through life together. A camera, properly wielded, could tell the story, over and over again in all its manifestations.

Perhaps this was because Daisy longed to understand it for herself. Perhaps if she became the world's foremost expert at capturing life's happiest moments, she would figure out a way to find her own.

The wedding wasn't perfect. In the middle of the toast, Andrea Hubble's mother became tongue-tied and dissolved into tears. The bar ran out of champagne in the first hour, and the DJ blew a speaker. One of the bridesmaids broke out in hives from something she ate, and the five-year-old ring bearer went missing, only to be found fast asleep under a banquet table.

Daisy knew that within hours, none of this would matter. As the DJ broke down his set and workers disassembled the tables, the blissfully happy couple headed off in the night for the Summer Hideaway, the resort's most secluded cabin. Her final shot, lit by the moon and her favorite off-camera strobe flash, showed them walking down the path toward the cabin, the groom lifting his arm and twirling the bride beneath it. No question the night would go well for them, Daisy thought, putting away her things with a restless sigh.

The wedding guests occupied Camp Kioga's other lodgings—old-school bunkhouses, A-frame cabins or luxurious rooms in the main lodge.

In the work van on the way home, Zach cracked open a can of Utica Club purloined from the bar and held it out to Daisy.

She shook her head. "No, thanks. It's all yours." Contrary to her demographic—recent college grad—she wasn't much for drinking. Truth be told, drinking had never done her any favors. In fact, the reason she'd become a mom at nineteen had everything to do with drinking. If Charlie ever asked her where babies come from, she would have to find a way to explain that he'd come from an abundance of Everclear punch and a weekend of supremely bad judgment.

"Here's to you, then," said Zach. "And to Mr. and Mrs. Happily Ever After. May they stay together long enough to pay off the wedding."

"Don't be such a cynic," she chided him. In his own way, Zach Alger had had a rough go of things, too. They made a good team, though. He was more than an assistant and videographer to her. He was one of her favorite—though reluctant—subjects to photograph, with strong, angular features and unusual Nordic coloring, so pale he was sometimes mistaken for an albino. He was totally self-conscious about his white-blond hair, the kind that seemed to absorb color from other sources. Daisy had always thought it was cool. Some of the images she'd shot of him had been picked up commercially. Apparently his look—the pale coloring and wintry eyes—was popular in Japan and South Korea. Somewhere in the Far East, his face was selling men's cologne and cell phone minutes.

Not enough to pay the bills for either of them, however. He was just out of college, too, skilled at high-tech media. What she liked most about Zach was that he was a good friend—nonjudgmental, easy to talk to.

"I'm just saying—"

"Don't worry about it," she said. "You're such a worrier."

"Right, like you're not."

He had her there. Daisy didn't see any way around being a worrier, though. Having a kid tended to do that to a person.

"Maybe if we pool all our worries," she suggested, "we'll generate enough energy to fuel the van."

"I only need enough to make it to the end of the month." Zach guzzled the beer, belched and fell quiet, staring out the window at the utter nothingness that was the town of Avalon late at night. The locals joked that the sidewalks rolled up by nine, but that was an exaggeration. It was more like eight.

She and Zach didn't need to fill the silence with chitchat. They'd known each other since high school, and they'd both endured their share of trials. While she became a teenage mom, Zach had been dealing with his dad's financial meltdown and subsequent incarceration on corruption charges. Not exactly a recipe for serenity.

Yet somehow they had each muddled through, a little worse for the wear but still standing. Zach was methodically working his way through a mountain of student debt. And Daisy had made a series of bad choices. She felt as if she were living life backward, starting with having a kid while still a teenager. Then came school and work, and all that was swinging into balance, but one thing eluded her. It was the thing they photographed nearly every weekend, toasted and celebrated by her ever-changing array of clients. Love and marriage. These things shouldn't matter so much. She wished she could believe her life was just fine, but she'd be kidding herself.

It was a challenge to avoid looking back and second-guessing herself. She could have had a shot at marriage. A surprise Christmas Eve proposal had come at her out of the blue and sent her reeling. Even now, months later, the very thought of it made her hyperventilate. Thinking back about a night that might have changed her life, she flexed her hands on the steering wheel. Did I make the right choice? Or did I run away from the one thing that could have saved me?

"So, is Charlie with his dad tonight?" Zach asked, breaking the silence.

"Yep. They're the dynamic duo." She slowed the van to avoid a small family of raccoons. The largest of the three paused, turning glittery eyes to the headlamps before herding the two small ones into the ditch.

Charlie's father, Logan O'Donnell, had been as messed up and careless as Daisy herself was, back in the teen years. But like Daisy, Logan had been transformed by parenthood. And when she needed him to take Charlie for the night, he gladly stepped up.

"And what about you and Logan?" Zach pried.

She sniffed. "If there's anything to report, you'll be the first to know." Things between her and Logan were complicated. That was the only word she could think of to describe the situation. Complicated.


"But nothing." She turned a corner and emerged onto the town square. At this hour, no one was around. Zach lived in a small vintage walk-up over the Sky River Bakery. As teenagers, they had both had jobs there. Now a new generation of kids managed the giant mixers and proofing machines in the wee hours of the morning. Hard to believe, but Daisy and Zach weren't the kids anymore.

She swung into a parking spot. "I'll be in the studio by ten tomorrow," she said. "I promised Andrea a sneak peek by next Saturday."

"Jeez," he groaned. "Do you know how many hours I shot?"

"Actually, I do. It's only a sneak peek. I like this bride, Zach. I want to make her happy."

"Isn't that the groom's job?"

"She has four younger sisters."

"I know. They couldn't stay away from the camera." He shouldered open the passenger-side door and stepped down. The glow of the streetlights turned his hair to amber.

"Maybe they couldn't stay away from you," she suggested.

"Yeah, right." He was probably blushing, but in this light, she couldn't tell. Zach had never been much for dating. Though he'd never admit it, he'd been carrying a torch for Daisy's stepsister, Sonnet, since preschool.

"'Night, Zach," she said.

"See you tomorrow. Don't stay up too late."

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Marrying Daisy Bellamy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 236 reviews.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
Daisy Bellamy has struggled to get where she is today, a coveted photographer, okay it's a wedding photographer and not the free lance artist she's dreamed about, but it's a start. She hasn't always had an easy life even though her family synonymous with and an icon in Avalon NY. She's made many mistakes getting to this point and however reckless she and Logan O'Donnell were in the conception of their son they've made up for it by being great parents and staying fast friends. Logan wants more but Daisy's unsure and one of the reasons is sexy Julian Gastineaux, see she's been in love with Julian since that first summer they met, at Willow Lake, the summer before everything changed, the summer before her wild weekend with Logan and the conception of Charlie. She thought over time that those feelings would diminish but she was wrong because Julian is still the erotic star of her dreams both nighttime and daytime. But Daisy knows or should that dreams don't necessarily come true and that happiness is what you make of it. Will she and Julian find happiness, will she find it with Logan, will she find it at all. Believe me the journey will be worth it to find out. In this episode of The Lakeshore Chronicles Susan Wiggs gives us the plot that all military families can relate to and at the same time be appreciated by the general population as well. She explores emotions that are not always pleasant and she makes her characters look at themselves honestly in their mirrors, while she takes her reading audience through the proverbial wringer. She gives us flowing dialogue that we can actually visualize in our minds eye. Her characters are all from her beloved series, some we've known from the beginning and some are just making our acquaintances but all are impeccably portrayed and important to this story. Her hero and heroine are the ships that pass in the night and unrequited love kind. The ones that you heart cries for but you're never sure what peril will befall them next. And yet they are strong minded people who you could easily see as an acquaintance or friend. Her heroine is an outstanding example of female fortitude and moxie mixed with the angst young people feel especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Her romance is heartbreaking, heart wrenching, sad and happy, full of longing and promise. Her love scenes are hot and sensual without being over descriptive or crude. If this is your first trip to picturesque Avalon NY, you've certainly chosen a good time to visit because Ms. Wiggs has outdone herself in this epic love story and I assure you that in the annals of romance this will be at the top of the all time best. If you are a fan and loyal reader of The Lakeshore Chronicles you will be happy to see all your old friends to catch up with as well as the featured story. This novel has every bell and whistle a romance fan could want, but if you want to know who marries Daisy Bellamy, well then you'll just have to read it for yourself. This would make an excellent stand-a-lone novel, but after you've read it I'm sure you'll want to go back to the beginning and see where it all began and keep on reading until you're a rabid fan just like the rest of us. When in the far distant future archeologists want to describe the great American Romance, Marrying Daisy Bellamy will be on display. Thank you Susan Wiggs for this first must read of 2011.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book of all time. I read it in one session without breaks. Read it.
aw36 More than 1 year ago
Finally, the long anticipated story of Daisy Bellamy. I have to say I was a little disappointed. I am a huge fan of Susan Wiggs and this series. I really enjoyed seeing Daisy's character grow throughout the series.I feel like I have waited forever for the conclusion of Daisy's story and I'm sorry to say that I just didn't care for it as much as the others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I have always been a BIG Daisy fan. And this story had me emotionally from happy to sad to elated! I'm so glad the author wrote the Daisy story!!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Avalon, New York, wedding photographer Daisy Bellamy continues, as she has for years, strugglling to choose between two wonderful men who love her. She adores both hunks. Julian Gastineau could never live by Willow Lake while Logan O'Donnell could. However, everything changes between the trio when Daisy gives birth to Logan's offspring Charlie. Yet nothing changes as in spite of having a child with a man who wants to raise a family with her, Daisy still has wet dreams involving Julian. She knows one day she will have to select between two lovers; one safe and nurturing while the other is wild and carefree. The latest Lakeshore Chronicles (see Snowfall at Willow Lake and Summer at Willow Lake) is a profound character study that looks deeply into the souls of three protagonists. Daisy understands responsibility but desires running around the world as a crisis photojournalist. Julian offers her the freedom to soar anywhere; Logan offers her a safe haven to raise their child. Readers will enjoy this complicated relationship drama summed up by the Roy Orbison and Joe Melson song Running Scared. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great love story it deserves at least a 4+
Pure_Jonel More than 1 year ago
This is the type of novel that makes you cry big, ugly tears, then puts you back together again. Wiggs writes with an eloquence that speaks to your heart. Life and love come to the forefront as heartbreak strikes close to home. The in-depth and intricately crafted novel took me on an emotional rollercoaster while providing me a glimpse into the Catskills. Throughout most of this novel I felt as if the two main characters were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Both of their individual struggles broke my heart, yet at the same time, also gave me hope. The intimate look at daisy’s photography was like a window into her soul. Julian is a hoot and a half throughout most of this novel, torn between love, duty, and an adrenaline addiction. I thoroughly enjoyed the look at how everything that happened affected Charlie. Even as a child he was a major player in the novel and a key component in his parents’ lives. Once again Wiggs has created a novel that captured me heart & soul. Her one of a kind storytelling combines with her intricate detail to bring it all to life.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of the books in the Lakeshore Chronicles. Read all of them, if you get the chance. Susan Wiggs is a great, creative writer.
mosesmom More than 1 year ago
I so enjoy Susan Wiggs Lakeshore Chronicles. Her characters become friends who welcome me into their lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally Daisy and Julian get it togetber. A lovethat never dies but keeps growing through all the troubles and heartaches.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LLou More than 1 year ago
It isn't often that I have tears of sadness and joy while reading the same book, but this did it! Marrying Daisy Bellamy was the best book of the Lakeshore Chronicles as far as I am concerned. I had several opportunities to read this book out of sequence, but thankfully I didn't. Knowing the history of the characters and their families added so much depth and appreciation to Daisy, Julian and Logan's story. Through her writing Susan Wiggs demonstrates a profound understanding of human nature and drives. I always find myself wanting more when I finish one of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many others have given away the entire plot in their reviews. I will just say this - I loved all the books in this series, but this book is awful. It was painful to read. Not a good piece of work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it
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AuthorKellyMoran More than 1 year ago
Daisy Bellamy first met Julian Gastineaux as a teen at a summer camp in Willow Lake. Though there was an undeniable attraction between them, they remained only close friends, sometimes from afar, through adulthood. But now Julian is taking the leap, and Daisy can't help but jump too. But when Julian is killed in action in Columbia, a devastated Daisy does the only thing she can-- she settles for Logan O'Donnell, the father of her son and one night mistake five years ago. Then Julian returns, and Daisy is forced to choose between the life she has, and the life she always dreamed about. I'm, once again, really disappointed with the back cover blurb on this book. Like previous books, it gives away the entire plot. My take is in the blurb above, and you can see what I mean. In saying that, I've been a long-time fan of Wiggs for years, and this didn't disappoint. In fact, I found this one more gut-wrenching and heartbreaking than most. As typical Wiggs style, she creates a vivid picture of setting and characters that forces you to turn the page. Some may remember Daisy from previous books in the Lakeshore Chronicles, and those of you who do won't be let down.