Monday, March 11, 2013

Firefly Island - by Lisa Wingate

Mallory Hale goes from living the independent life all over the world to working in the nation's capitol, where a chance meeting over spilled legislation leads to a whirlwind romance and marriage.  Suddenly, she finds herself living in a long-abandoned house in the middle of a huge ranch in Texas, where all of the townsfolk seem leery of her husband's new boss.  Why will nobody talk about Jack West?  What really did happen to his second wife and stepson?  And why is his son Mason suddenly back after 15 years of absence?  Can Mallory adjust to life as a stepmother and wife in this new place?

This book left me conflicted on how to review it.  I am a sucker for a pretty book cover, and they don't get much prettier than the Firefly Island cover.  However, the picture on the cover makes me think of a tranquil vacation setting, or a chance for Mallory to experience a change of scenery from the fast-paced, back-biting culture of the political world; instead, the titular island is shrouded in mystery and gloom, locked up tight, and rumored to even possibly be the site of crimes from Jack West's past.  The disparity between the cover and the setting carried over to my feelings about the book.  I enjoyed watching Mallory learn how to be a wife and mother, and even how to be a friend to people different from what she used to be.  The story of how Mallory and Daniel were trying to make the marriage work after such a short courtship and then the huge transition of location was enough to make a book interesting by itself.  The mystery of Jack West and his son, Mason, could have been an interesting book, too, but somehow the juxtaposition of the two didn't quite work.  I felt like the marriage story could have been deeper and stronger, and I was disappointed in the resolution of the book's many mysteries.

That said, I felt that the writing was good and the characters were strong, so I did enjoy the book overall.  I did just discover that Firefly Island is the third book in the Moses Lake series, so while it looks like the first two books focus on other characters from the town of Moses Lake, perhaps reading them in order would help the reader feel more at home within the book's setting.  I didn't feel as I was reading this book, however, that I was missing important information, though, so it does function well as a stand-alone book.

I give this book 3 stars, mostly based on the quick, dissatisfying conclusion to the book's mysteries.

You can find Firefly Island and the rest of the Moses Lake series HERE.
You can find Lisa Wingate's website HERE.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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