Marisa St. George is devastated when she is a victim of downsizing and has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it’s a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow’s End resort. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But will her dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers who he really is?
Last week, I reviewed At Bluebonnet Lake, the first book in this wonderful contemporary series by Amanda Cabot. I’m always equal parts eager and hesitant to read the second book in any series because while I very much want to catch up with beloved characters, I’m scared that this one won’t hold quite the same appeal for me as the first book did. I needn’t have worried about In Firefly Valley.
First of all, I must say that I was ecstatic to discover that we get to spend quite a bit of time with Lauren and Fiona during In Firefly Valley. Lauren was one of the characters from book 1 that stayed in my heart when I had finished reading, and I’ve been checking the descriptions of the rest of the series with fingers crossed, hoping she’d get a story too. Watching her blossom in this book, sharing part of the plot with her best friend Marisa, was such a nice surprise!
Yes, I got to catch up with several of my favorite characters from book 1, but I also got to meet several new characters that captured my heart just as completely. Blake and Marisa, for starters. How could I not love a heroine whose favorite childhood book was Anne of Green Gables? And how could I not love a hero who decides to read it for insight, hoping to gain some kind of clue into Marisa’s reactions? Granted, there were moments when I wanted to knock their heads together and hope they found some sense – and each other’s lips – in the process. Especially Marisa. Oh, sweet mercy! I thought she and I were going to have words a time or two. (Remember my teacher glare that I mentioned in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post? I have a teacher voice too. These days it’s mostly reserved for characters who aren’t cooperating with me lol.)
Truthfully though, the more I read about Marisa the more insight I gained into her background and the less I wanted to purse whomp her. While flawed (and aren’t we all), her caring heart and sharp intelligence combine with those flaws to make her a very intriguing character. The same goes for Blake. Although at least he seemed to react less than Marisa and approach things with more wisdom. But. Marisa has been wounded over and over again, and I thought Amanda Cabot did a marvelous job of capturing the realism there.
Bottom Line: There was one scene involving just Blake at a grocery store that I thought felt a little too perfectly contrived, but overall this story superbly engages and entertains! The messages of forgiveness, mercy, and redemption promise a soothing respite in our “real world” filled with anger and blame. And while I normally prefer one love story at a time, the secondary romance gracing In Firefly Valley just purely made my heart smile 🙂
(I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com.