Amanda Cabot. In Firefly Valley. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2015.
When I read books, sometimes I find myself transported to a different place or time. Other times, a book seems perfectly designed to be read in the environment described by the author. As part of the Revell Reads Blog Tour, I just read Amanda Cabot’s In Firefly Valley, which somehow seems like the perfect book to read at the Texas resort that serves as the novel’s primary setting.
The second book of Ms. Cabot’s Texas Crossroads series, In Firefly Valley continues the story of Rainbow’s End, a Texas Hill Country resort, and the people who work there. Marisa St. George returns to her hometown as Rainbow’s End new business manager after her career as a CPA in Atlanta falls apart. There she meets Blake Kendall, a college friend of the resort’s new owner and a bestselling author with a chronic case of writer’s block. After enduring a rough childhood, Marisa struggles to trust Blake, especially when she discovers his true identity. Together, they overcome their respective pasts and find a second chance at Rainbow’s End.
In Firefly Valley captures the enchanting setting of Texas Hill Country and the role of Rainbow’s End resort in the lives of a diverse cast of characters. Along with main characters, Marisa and Blake, Ms. Cabot delves further into the lives of her other characters that were first introduced in At Bluebonnet Lake, including Rainbow’s End owners Kate Sherwood and Greg Vange.
Overall, I had mixed feelings about In Firefly Valley. While the concept behind the novel seems well-developed, the storyline and characters lacked depth in portions of the book. The book’s pacing felt somewhat slow, although some readers may be intentionally looking for this type of story for a summertime or vacation read. I personally enjoyed At Bluebonnet Lake more than In Firefly Valley, in part, due to the main characters. While Blake Kendall seems realistic and relatively interesting, Marisa St. George comes across as relatively whiny and her sections resulted in me nearly skimming to get to other portions of the novel. The secondary characters were generally the most interesting and will be the likely reason for me to pick up the series’ next novel, On Lone Star Trail (Spring 2016).
Fans of Ms. Cabot’s other novels, including At Bluebonnet Lake, will find In Firefly Valley to be a worthwhile read. Additionally, those who enjoy aspects of the Texas-inspired settings and storylines created by Lisa Wingate and Becky Wade may want to try Ms. Cabot’s novels. The pacing of the novel itself will likely be the greatest challenge for readers, as it’s too slow to recommend to readers like my mother and sister. Instead, my grandmother (who enjoys slower and calmer storylines, such as those found in novella format) would be the most likely person out of my family to read In Firefly Valley.
Special thanks to the Revell Reads Blog Tour program for the advanced copy of In Firefly Valley!