Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate
Bethany House - Contemporary Fiction
The first time I opened up Firefly Island, it was late at night and I awakened in the morning without any memory whatsoever of what I'd read. I figured that was just because I started reading when I was sleepy. But, then it happened again. I do most of my reading at bedtime and I had waited a few days before my second attempt. In the morning . . . nothing. I flipped back a few pages and couldn't remember who Daniel was. Daniel is a key character.
At this point, I went to Amazon and Goodreads to see if it was just me. Was I missing something or was this a book that was seriously not memorable? Judging from the ratings at the time, it was just me. There were 62 five-star reviews at Amazon, 12 four-stars and 2 three-stars, nothing lower. So, you must know up front that a lot of people really love this story. It was because of the glowing reviews that I opted to go back to the beginning a third time.
The third time went better. I sat on the deck and read during the daylight hours. I got to know Daniel, Mallory and little Nick. There is a whirlwind romance in which a career woman falls for a scientist, he's offered a job in a remote part of Texas by a man of questionable background, they quickly marry and drive to Texas. On the way to their new home they nearly hit a deer, arrive to a house with no electricity and awaken to find the place needs a bit of work but little Nick is happy.
As Mallory begins cleaning the house, she opens closets to find that critters are living in them; they scatter when she opens a door. That, I'm afraid, was it for me. Mallory was lamenting the things in the closet when I closed the book at page 83. I tried very hard to keep going because I typically love Lisa Wingate's books, but it was too everyday for me. Nothing of interest was happening. There are hints of a mystery surrounding Daniel's employer, Jack West, whose wife and child disappeared and were never found many years ago, but that was not enough to intrigue me. In fact, when Mallory nearly hit a deer on the way through Texas, I found myself wishing she had hit the deer so something would start happening.
Since I gave up, I've looked again at Goodreads and Amazon. A few more 3-star reviews have popped up. I have a feeling I would have given the book 3 stars if I'd held out. I like Lisa Wingate's writing.
Here's a favorite sentence:
He looked at me, the expression in his eyes almost pleading with me to breathe gently on the dream, cause it to spark rather than blow out.
I love that. "Breathe gently on the dream." That echoed in my head for a while. There are more moments like that one, beautiful wording, wise reflections. There just wasn't enough meat to the story in Firefly Island to hold me.
I'd recommend Firefly Island to people who like a relationship story better than a story that's plot-heavy. Firefly Island is a Bethany House book, so the heroine is Christian. She saves herself for marriage (although she doesn't have to wait long) and occasionally ponders God or prays. There wasn't anything preachy in the book, in my opinion, by the point that I gave up. But, talking to God in your head is no big deal to me.
I also must admit that I had a little trouble with the science aspect of this book. Daniel was going to work for a man who wanted to produce "super crops" -- genetically modified, in other words. GMOs have been implicated in the sudden die-offs of bees and in most of Europe people can avoid genetically modified products by looking on the labels of their foods. They're not labeled in the U.S. and they're not studied for their potential dangers here, either. My husband has visited a lab where that kind of work is done in Europe. So, I admit there was a bit of bias on my part. I thought the science was dubious.
My thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy and to Christen Krumm for the extension when I wasn't able to finish reading Firefly Island in time for my tour date.
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