Book Review: Denise Hunter's Dancing with Fireflies

I have always found Denise Hunter's writing to be inspiring, compelling, and well-written.  Dancing with Fireflies is an inspirational love story that follows the story of Jade McKinley and her long-standing friendship with Daniel Dawson.  I loved getting to know the characters, many of whom were introduced in the first book from the Chapel Springs Romance series:  Barefoot Summer.  The characters were well-developed and definitely multi-dimensional.  In this latest book in the series, the story line continues at a nice pace.  Readers who did not read the first book in the series will find that they can figure out the relevant aspects of what they missed, but I definitely recommend going back and reading the first book. A reader could, however, enjoy Dancing with Fireflies simply by itself.

The author does a beautiful job of describing Jade's continual emotional and physical response to stressful situations, induced by trauma in her life.  I could feel her anxiety and the gravity of the situation/s for Jade.  The author tackles some deep and delicate subjects expertly through the story line revolving around Jade.  Her situation was, at times, desperate, and I hit the point where I just didn't see how there could be a resolution to the conflict in this plot, and that, of course, made me read on.  However (fortunately), an unexpected situation arises that draws the plot closer to a conclusion.  The author beautifully surprises the reader at this point and all along the way with various twists and turns in the plot.  

Although the storyline was beautifully written, there are, unfortunately,  two things I did not like about the book. First of all, I felt like there was just a little too much emphasis on the physical aspects of relationships in this particular book. The descriptions of Jade's changing body (due to pregnancy) and even a male character's awareness of Jade's body at times made me uncomfortable considering that this is a Christian romance. Also, various comments referring to a female character's need to nurse her babies, while authentic, seemed, once again, to pull attention to the physical and did not seem necessary.  Secondly, while Jade did have an epiphany that helped her reach a resolution to the main conflict in the plot, it felt like her ideas were more based on an emotional epiphany than a spiritual one.  The spiritual aspect was there, but it seemed to come more from her mom than from Jade herself.  While Jade did thank God for how he made things work out, I just would have liked to see more spiritual development in Jade, I think. I will say, however, that Jade changed a lot throughout the story, and I was glad to see the transformation in her character.  

The plot of this book was wonderful, but the two aspects mentioned above prevented me from giving this five stars.  I do, however, look forward to reading the next book in this series, which is due out in December. 



3 out of 5 stars


Book Description

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”