Title: Burning Springs
Author: T.L. Haddix
Series: Firefly Hollow #13
Genre: Contemporary Romance
“Sometimes life throws things at us we don’t expect. Often, really. And when that happens, sometimes the course we set for ourselves isn’t the road we end up on.”
Molly Campbell never expected to find herself working as a waitress in a diner in the middle of small-town Tennessee. She certainly never anticipated that she would develop feelings for one of the diner’s patrons, never mind that she would find herself homeless and having to rely on his kindness for shelter. But that’s where she ended up, struggling to reconcile reality with her hopes and dreams in order to come to terms with both.
Jonah Sutton doesn’t trust the redheaded Kentucky girl his aunt hired to help out in the diner. Convinced she’s hiding something, he vows to stick close so he can keep an eye on Molly. It doesn’t take long for his suspicion to turn to intrigue, and when a crisis hits close to home, he’s more than happy to step up and offer her his support. He never imagined his toughest battle would be figuring out a way to convince her to stay in Burning Springs and build a life with him.
Burning Springs is the thirteenth book in the “Firefly Hollow” series, women’s fiction romances set in Appalachia that follow the Campbell family through generations. It contains paranormal elements of traditional Appalachian folklore.
Source: Review copy from the author via NetGalley
This was such a deliciously warm hug of a book, filled with lovely people, family, beautiful scenery and a slow-burning romance that has a traditional feel in the sweetest sense.
I really liked Molly. She’s a character who has been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) making herself known in the background of recent books, helping brothers and cousins find their HEA, taking care of people and dispensing advice when needed. But she hasn’t been entirely happy, so now it’s time for her to fledge the Firefly Hollow nest and set forth into the world. Not that she ends up anywhere too different from her home town, it just happens to be in another state, with a different cast of characters, though it retains the small town charm familiar to this series.
It also has Jonah, who is grumpy and solitary and has more than a bit in common with some of those Campbells. He lives on top of a mountain in a cabin that’s far away from anyone else and only has a few special people that he trusts to play any role in his life. Yet he’s also generous and lovely, once you get past the gruffness.
I really enjoyed the romance between him and Molly. It’s slow and hesitant because both are relationship shy, but there’s humour and friendship there too, which deepen as the book goes on and form them into a real partnership. I loved how Molly’s entrance into his life helped him discover more about his own past, while he provides a safe space and sound advice for her to sort through her own problems. Plus, more Campbells. Jonah has room to house a handful of them, which is always good when we’re not close to home.
Away from these two and the extended family, there’s also a new character to fall in love with – Trevor, Jonah’s best friend who has a dark past of his own. I loved him, with his carefree ways and scarred heart. I can’t wait to see him get his HEA.
The only reasons I didn’t fall completely in love with this book were that I’d have liked a bit more about Jonah’s cat. Molly never did get a chance to spend time with him. And I also felt that after the long build up to intimacy, the deeper emotional stuff landed very quickly and felt a tiny bit rushed. Not to mention the kink mention that came out of nowhere – and left me a bit disappointed that we didn’t find out more. He hides it exceedingly well.
None of which stopped me from really enjoying this. Compared to some of the Firefly Hollow books, it isn’t too dark or harrowing or heart-twistingly emotional, though it does have a few twinges here and there, but the romance is lovely and plays a stronger role than those rougher books sometimes allow. It’s quiet and peaceful and made for a wonderfully easy read. Definitely one of my favourites of the series.
Burning Springs is Out Now.
Visit T.L. Haddix for more details.