Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Firefly Island" Review

Mallory Hale, a 34-year-old congressional staffer who is quite content with her life in D.C., is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. And it’s all because of a man.

After a chance meeting and whirlwind romance, Mallory agrees to marry Daniel Everson and go with him and his 3-year-old son, Nick, to pursue his dream job in the remote town of Moses Lake, Texas.
But the seemingly peaceful town has secrets of its own, including a small island just off the shore of the lake, Firefly Island, which is forbidden to outsiders.

As Mallory adjusts to her new home, her marriage, and her first foray into parenting, the questions that surround the island and her husband’s new boss become more and more intriguing and possibly dangerous. And Mallory is realizing that she may be willing to risk more than she ever thought possible for the family and town that she has come to love.

After reading and reviewing Blue Moon Bay last year, I was looking forward to returning to Moses Lake, Texas, in Firefly Island. I absolutely love the way this author can turn a witty phrase, and there were several times when I laughed out loud at one of the characters’ antics or the humorous way that something was described.

The beginning of this book was a whirlwind of the main character, Mallory, meeting Daniel and his son, Mallory and Daniel getting married, and all of them moving to Moses Lake. These events got me interested in the characters and this particular story right away.

However, after they all arrived in Moses Lake and the hilarity of the fish-out-of-water plotline was mostly resolved, I thought the narrative moved slowly and was very repetitive. The novel is written in first person, and sometimes the internal monologue was just too much. I got a bit tired of Mallory’s internal struggle. It was encouraging at times and thought-provoking at other times, but it didn’t always do enough to keep the plot moving. About halfway through, however, the mystery part of the plot picked up and things started going again. The overall story finally came into its own with some compelling suspense in the second half of the book.

The romance portion of this novel was fun to read but was too hasty for my taste. The undying love Mallory claimed to have for Daniel came off as a bit immature and unrealistic, considering the entire novel takes place over only a few months. The overall feeling I got from the romance was of a love that had endured the test of time, and that was obviously not the case here. But, I feel as if I am being nitpicky about this particular aspect, considering that this portion of the novel was still fun to read.

As for the spiritual aspect, my overall feeling was that it was fairly shallow. There were things that I liked and that I thought were highly encouraging such as the tremendous growth Mallory experiences in her compassion toward others. But as for her faith in God, I’m not sure what it was based on. Mallory admits to herself several times that she never took her faith in God seriously (rarely went to church growing up, never prayed, etc.), yet when she finds herself in Moses Lake, her faith seemingly starts to grow. So, what was that based on? She read her Bible only once (and it was a passage in Job relating to dreams that I question the interpretation of…not going to get into the whole dream thing here…). She does pray quite a bit, but there is no talk of Christ except for a brief mention of His compassion. It just seemed to me as if the book was trying to portray this tremendous amount of growth in the spiritual life of the main character. But if it doesn’t mention Christ and the character’s knowledge and acceptance of Him, then there is definitely something lacking.

One of my favorite parts of the Moses Lake books are the quotes that are at the beginning of each chapter in the book. They are writings that were left on the wall of the Waterbird Bait & Grocery, a tradition in Moses Lake, and they are in turn hysterical and touching.

The secondary characters in this book are also an added bonus. While I didn’t quite connect with the actual town and citizens of Moses Lake as much in this one as I did in the previous novel, it was still fun returning to this small Texas town. This can be read as a standalone novel if you are just now discovering this series.

The mystery part of this novel is really what was interesting to me, but there was more to it than just that. Romance, humor, mystery, family, a cute kid, and even a dog – Firefly Island has a little bit of everything.
I will give Firefly Island ... 3 BookWorms.

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate
Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: February 1, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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