Title: Firefly Hollow
Author: T.L. Haddix
Series: Firefly Hollow #1
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Paranormal Romance
Book One in the Firefly Hollow Series, Women’s Fiction Romances set in Appalachia.
In 1960, a tragic death in the family calls young Sarah Browning back from college to her Appalachian homestead. Unable to return to school and finish her degree, she finds herself facing a future that isn’t what she’d planned. Lost and grieving, she wanders onto her reclusive neighbor’s property where she stumbles across the all-too-attractive Owen Campbell, a man hiding secrets she’d only ever thought were legend.
Owen Campbell was raised on the folklore of Eastern Kentucky, tales of men and women with magical abilities from shape-shifting to healing powers. Rejected by those he loves because of his own abilities, he isolates himself from the world. When he meets Sarah, he’s faced with the tough decision of whether to let her in or stay hidden away to keep his heart safe.
Please note – this book is NOT a typical paranormal romance. No rage-beast shifters or alpha dogs here. It is, however, at its heart a romance, with a few intimate scenes between the hero and heroine, as well as adult situations dealing with tragedy.
Source: Review copy of Firefly Hollow Collection: Volume 1 via NetGalley
I’m not sure quite what it is about this series, and this book in particular, that I enjoy so much. Perhaps it’s the gorgeous setting, it could well be the intriguing characters, the fascinating families involved or the hint of paranormal, but beyond that I’m a little baffled. Because the pace here is very slow, there’s a lot of telling what’s going on rather than showing, and if I’m completely honest, the romance plot felt wrapped up by halfway, leaving the second half of the book feeling at times unnecessary.
And yet, I really enjoyed this. There’s something about Haddix’s writing that pulls me in and keeps me interested, even when nothing is happening. And nothing does happen for most of this book. Sarah comes homes and gets a job. Owen goes to the library and broods about his secrets. They meet, they cautiously get closer. Love happens. It is that simple, and yet, somehow it feels like more.
I really liked both Sarah and Owen. This isn’t the first Firefly Hollow series book that I’ve read, so I’ve met them before, but in a contemporary setting when they’re much older and wiser and busy organising their family’s lives. It was lovely to read about where it all began and see the people they were before they met. Sarah is great. I loved her independence and strength, which somehow managed to fit in with the 1960s setting. She is a little ahead of her time, perhaps, but she’s not complete anachronistic, although occasionally too good to be true.
I liked Owen too, with his hermit ways and his shapeshifter talents. His life hasn’t been easy, but he’s (mostly) not bitter, and I liked the way he saw Sarah. They make a wonderful pair and I loved seeing them grow closer. However, their easy relationship did seem completely at odds with the conflict that rises between them. Both of them had to act out of character for that to even start, so I was less happy about it.
Then there’s Kathy, Sarah’s sister. I found her a curious character, because she isn’t given many (or any) redeeming characteristics. Even her own parents don’t seem to like her. Which wouldn’t have been a problem, except that towards the end of the book her life becomes a major plot point, which didn’t have as strong an impact on me as I feel it should have done – purely because Kathy is a rather flimsy character. When compared to Sarah’s mother and brother, both of whom I really liked, it becomes even more glaringly obvious. Those two I could feel things for, but Kathy, not a lot.
So even though I know it’s not perfect and there are a few things here and there that I didn’t like so much, my overwhelming impression of this book is of enjoyment and comfort. The romance is lovely, the setting beautiful and the main characters well developed and interesting. I look forward to reading Butterfly Lane very soon.
Firefly Hollow is Out Now!
Visit T.L. Haddix for more details.
Also available as part of a three volume set.