Title: Dragonfly Creek
Author: T.L. Haddix
Series: Firefly Hollow #3
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance
When Ben Campbell returns home to Hazard, Kentucky after a five-year absence, the last person he’s expecting to run into is the girl who broke his heart – the girl who left town and married someone else. He’s done his best to move on, but he knows he’s only been going through the motions of living. Determined to exorcise Ainsley’s ghost, he approaches the young widow with an offer for a steamy liaison to do just that.
Ainsley Brewer Scott carries a lot of weight on her shoulders, weight that’s left deep emotional and physical scars. Her dreams of an everlasting love with Ben were dashed thoroughly, thanks to her malicious and conniving mother. Back in town to wrap up the old woman’s estate, Ainsley’s world is turned upside down when she sees Ben. And when he propositions her, he lights a match to her temper that flames into a burning attraction just as strong as what they shared years earlier.
When the truth behind Ainsley’s leaving comes out, the long-held secrets shatter the fragile trust they’ve started to build. She and Ben have to decide to either walk away from each other for the second time or stand together and fight for their future.
Source: Review copy of Firefly Hollow Collection: Volume 1 via NetGalley
The Campbell family saga continues with a tale of heartbreak, second chances and the manipulations of a truly evil woman. This story might begin with the funeral of Ainsley’s mother, but that woman’s nastiness is felt throughout the book as both Ben and Ainsley struggle to come to terms with their shared past, the years they’ve lost and how they feel about everything and each other.
Like every book in this series, the emotions are running high and deep. Ben is a good man from a wonderful family who never faced any real hardship until Ainsley broke his heart. He hasn’t dealt with that particularly well over the five years since they parted, and as such, he isn’t nearly prepared to deal with anything that happens next. Luckily for him, the entire Campbell clan are on hand to help him out and make him feel loved, even in his darkest moments.
Ainsley never had that kind of safety net and her hurts run even deeper than Ben’s. She’s had to find her own kind of strength over the years, though she does have two very good friends fighting for her now. Her past is dark, her betrayals painful, but I appreciated the way she managed to pull through it all despite her demons. She’s a deeply hurt woman, but she’s also everything that Ben needs.
If I’m honest, though, Ben never quite won me over. He’s nice enough, but I would have liked a bit more fight from him and a little less self-pity and anger. If it wasn’t for his amazing parents and the support of his brother, I don’t think he would have ever done anything right in this book. He does occasionally act as though no one has ever had things as bad as him at times, when he doesn’t even have it the worst in his own family (that prize will always go to Kathy).
I also felt like the beginning dragged quite a bit. There’s a lot of rehashing of the last book, and everything that happened between Zanny and John, which left me impatient for this book to get going. I would also have loved to have seen more of Ben’s plant ability. I know the paranormal elements aren’t the main focus of this series, but his gift sounded fascinating and I would have liked to have learnt more about it.
So all in all, I enjoyed this one, even if it’s not my favourite of the series. It doesn’t just tug on the heart strings as occasionally clamp your emotions in a vice, but despite all the hurt and pain the characters go through, there is healing and hope, which is what this series frequently does best. If you’re looking for an emotional second chance romance and love a family saga, then give this series a go. I’m glad I did and look forward to catching up with the rest of the series soon.
Dragonfly Creek is Out Now.
Visit T.L. Haddix for more details.
Also available as part of a three volume set.