Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 stars and a BRAVO! For FIREFLY HOLLOW by T.L. Haddix

Firefly Hollow
Author T.L. Haddix

The mysterious recluse...Owen Campbell holds himself apart from other people. Badly scarred from emotional wounds that have never healed, he doesn’t expect to find true love or happiness. He remains isolated in a prison of his own making, determined to not let anyone close enough to hurt him again. But his willpower is shaken to the core when Sarah Browning enters his world. 
The girl next door...Sarah Jane Browning is three years into her college degree when a call from home changes everything. Back at the family homestead in the heart of Appalachia, she’s forced to reevaluate her hopes and dreams for the future. Distraction from her heartache comes in the form of her parents’ neighbor. Whispers about “odd Owen Campbell” abound in their small community, and Sarah’s curiosity is aroused. When she breaks the rules and trespasses onto his land, what she finds is beyond her wildest imaginings. As Sarah struggles to overcome tragedy and loss, her burgeoning relationship with Owen is sorely tested. Will love conquer all, or will the secrets from Owen’s past tear them apart forever?
Review: Bravo! Part way through this novel I had to pause to contact the author (which I rarely do) to let her know just how much I was loving it! So, what exactly turned me into a fan girl? Being an enthusiast of southern culture, I naturally gravitated to Haddix's desire to preserve and pass along Appalachian lore. What is unique in the telling of Firefly Hollow is it is first and foremost a historical romance, which happens to include paranormal elements. Currently, most paranormal books involving shape-shifters center on the event and present some hero form using their ability. In Firefly Hollow, the supernatural is an element, but is presented in a matter-of-fact way that is passed on like any other recessive gene. I won't spoil the moments, but Owen's character is relatable in terms that he struggles with a hereditary infliction that is misunderstood. If you're not a reader ready to jump into the hardcore underworld of shape-shifters, wolves and so on...but, rather seek mythology, with a great historical love story that shares the unbelievable and forces you to trust what logic says we shouldn't, then this is the book for you! 

I completely fell for Owen and I truly missed the characters after I turned the last page. The courtship is sweet without being naive. It's the perfect combination of love, desire and intimacy without crudeness. My use of 'sweet' shouldn't be misinterpreted as 'prude.' This book certainly is not that, but it causes tingly goodness rather than conjures up the 'Eww factor.'  I'm grateful that the dime store, formulaic love scenes were absent and replaced by something deeper with meaning and more truthful. The awkwardness, the gentleness, eagerness and nervousness were all present, which melted my icy, cynical heart. Haddix communicates this relationship expertly and beautifully. My only criticism was that Sarah cried easily, until I realized that I had cried twice. I had to laugh at myself for that! This isn't a heart-wrenching sob, but rather a mix of happy, tingling tears that makes you long for the best and believe in true love. I'm not a hopeless romantic, in fact, I avoid most books that gush about such silliness, but this story is different where nothing is cheapened or soured by the hope for a happily-ever after. Comparatively, the chemistry is much like Colleen Hoover's, Slammed, another book that brought me to tears. Okay, maybe I do have a romantic bone in my body after all!  

I adored this story and will continue to read other books by T.L. Haddix.  If you haven't yet, I recommend picking up this book. I still think about Sarah and Owen. I want more and wish I could go back to their place in the world.  I also applaud Haddix for sharing stories from the Appalachian region, a rich and unique culture within the states.  Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!
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Firefly Hollow is the first in a new Romance series by T. L. Haddix, author of the Shadows/Leroy Collection, a series of standalone Romantic Suspense novels. Titles include Secrets in the Shadows, Under the Moon’s Shadow, Shadows from the Grave, and Hidden in the Shadows.
*ARC provided by Red Adept Journeys

1 comment :

  1. I am so glad to have read your awesome review. I think that I would love this read myself.