In the past month, I’ve read two books with firefly in the title! The one I most recently finished was a review book from Bethany House called Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate.

A common theme I’m finding with Bethany House books is that they all have beautiful covers: striking photographs, a silky-smooth feel, and a satisfying shape and weight. I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but a nice cover sure does enhance my reading experience!

The book centers on Mallory, a successful and upwardly ambitious Congressional staffer who’s living up the single life in D.C. until she’s swept off her feet by a striking stranger. They enter into a whirlwind relationship and when he’s offered a seemingly top-notch job with an eccentric, wealthy researcher in Texas, she takes the plunge and marries him, becoming a step-mom to his toddler son and finding herself at loose ends getting used to small town life.

From the description on the back of the book, I expected this to be a pretty straightforward sweet romance, with some cutesy Southernisms thrown in as she acclimated to Texas. I somehow didn’t catch onto the fact that it was a mystery and somewhat of a page-turner!

Since I knew it was going to be a romance, I was okay with accepting the speedy transition from single girl to wife and mother. Daniel, the husband, was not a fully fleshed out character, but he was appealing enough to make the romance believable. I couldn’t quite believe his son Nick, though, and was really bothered by the way the author chose to transcribe his “kid speak.” It was distracting and not even that realistic to me. Other than that, their family unit was sweet and satisfying to follow.

It was fun to “get to know” the characters who inhabited Mallory’s small-town Texas, but I ended up feeling like I’d been left hanging by the way the conclusion came together. I’ll try not to give anything away, but it seemed to me like Wingate abandoned the mystery right at its climax and switched to explanatory prose in an epilogue, rather than continuing to let the reader follow along with the action. That was annoying to me. I felt like there was history with Mallory’s family and some of the other characters that was similarly brushed aside in favor of wrapping up the story, but I’m sure there’s a fine line between writing a book that reads well and writing a thousand page tome that no one will buy.

Another fun element was that Mallory becomes a blogger as she’s trying to find ways to fill her time. While her astronomical overnight success felt a bit unrealistic to me as a fellow blogger, I guess it could happen, and I was a little jealous of it!

While this was an enjoyable enough read, I found some of the plot structures to be a bit tenuous. It was as if Wingate wanted to write a book about legislation and so she had to find ways to fit that in, and it didn’t necessarily work for me. I can’t say that this book will have any sort of lasting impact on me.

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman