In Firefly Valley
By Amanda Cabot
Texas Crossroads, #2
She's lost her dream job--but has she found the man of her dreams?
Devastated by a downsizing, Marisa St. George has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it means a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow's End resort. The only silver lining: Blake Kendall, a new guest who might make her believe in love at first sight. But will Marisa's dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers Blake's real identity?
This warm and witty story of dreams deferred and mistaken identity will have you believing in second chances.
In Firefly Valley, book #2 in Amanda Cabot's Texas Crossroads series, is a sweet, relaxed, satisfying read and I enjoyed every minute spent with these endearing and realistic characters. Amanda does a great job at creating a vivid sense of place, and I'm falling in love with the Texas Hill Country. This story can stand alone, but those who have read the first book, At Bluebonnet Lake, will enjoy returning to the Rainbow's End resort and seeing much more of Kate and Greg. The narrative moves slower than some readers might care for, but that's one of the things I liked because characterization was strong and I enjoyed taking my time with the story.
"It wasn't the homecoming of her dreams."
From that first sentence, we can tell that Marisa would face disappointment, frustration and struggles when downsizing forces her to leave the Atlanta world of large corporate clients and take a job at Rainbow's End, where her mom is the cook. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a light read, because life issues like alcoholism, anger, abandonment, trust, forgiveness and second chances give much depth. Blake starts out hiding his true identity and Marisa deals with fear of abandonment and the anger resulting from that fear. The romance between Marisa and Blake is sweet, but they both have serious issues to work through. And I loved the secondary romance between Marisa's best friend, Lauren, and Drew. Hope to see much more of this family!
There's quite a contrast in financial status among the characters, in that some are extremely well off, while others can barely get by. I particularly enjoyed this aspect because it's not the amount of money, but rather what we do with it, that can be problematic. Greg, Blake and Drew reflect a wise, godly, generous spirit that I admired, making a difference in both community and personal lives.
When I think about Marisa, how she couldn't forgive her father for the hurt he had inflicted on his family, I realize that while we appreciate being granted second chances, the extending of that same chance to someone who has hurt us is a lot harder. There are so many spiritual nuggets gently woven into this story - the unintentional effect of our actions, not letting the past control our future, and the need for grace - both given and received. But the bottom line is that only God can heal and change lives, and He does.
One of the characters in this story, Gillian, is injured in an accident that results in the end of her career as a concert pianist. As a musician, I really look forward to her story in the next book, On Lone Star Trail, which comes out in February of 2016.
I enjoyed In Firefly Valley very much because it was about family, and I recommend it to all who like relationship stories and sweet romance. Thank you for creating stories and characters that I enjoy spending time with, Amanda.
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, Christmas Roses, Summer of Promise, and Waiting for Spring. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers Best. She lives in Wyoming.
Connect with Amanda online at amandacabot.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.