BOOK REVIEW: Firefly Beach by Luanne Rice

Under the summer sky, anything is possible....

Author of the acclaimed novels Cloud Nine and Follow the Stars Home, Luanne Rice returns with another moving portrait of a family in crisis—as three sisters come face-to-face with the past and find in each other the courage to go on.

Coolly sophisticated and steadfastly single, Caroline Renwick has always been the sister everyone could count on. As she and Clea and Skye gathered at Firefly Hill, their childhood home, Caroline thought that they had all put the past behind them. But as summer gets under way, a mysterious man arrives—a man who has the power to bring it all back....

Joe Connor was only six when his father died at Firefly Hill. Though he and Caroline had never met, the five-year-old girl reached out to him. They became pen pals and friends, until a teenaged Joe finally learned the truth about what had happened to his father that night. Now, after years of silence, Joe is suddenly here ... and Caroline still feels a connection. But she can't help but wonder if this handsome man holds the key to her family's healing—or its destruction. And in his presence, how long will she be able to guard her heart?

'Firefly Beach' is not my first Luanne Rice novel and I seriously doubt it will be my last.  Truth is I know it won't as there are more sitting on my bookshelf right now waiting for me to choose one.  I really enjoyed the story, liked the characters and at times wanted to beat their heads, or mine, into a wall.  Set in New England three sisters live their adult lives in the shadows of the past.  Being the children of a famous artist just adds flavor.  Three separate women living three separate lives all in the shadow of each other.  While living under a cloud of the past that they, and their mother, cannot seem to spread beyond.

At times I literally wanted to bash heads.  Someones.  Anyones.  I got so frustrated with everyone alluding to and talking around these horrible things that had happened to shape who each sister had become.  Rarely did they actually talk about it.  Work through it.  They talked around it.  And that made me want to bash heads.  But it also made me actually think.  Not something you expect from what you picked up and anticipated to be a beach read.  How often does each and every last one of us tiptoe around our own stories.  How often do we talk around, walk around, think around those big tings that helped to create who we are, flaws and all?  Instead of dealing with it, moving past it, and filing it into the bin of done and over with thanks for the experiences and the knowledge. I am just as guilty as the next person of letting the big stuff continue to dominate my choices and decisions instead of learning from it and then moving forward. We are all guilty at some point of letting our pasts dictate our futures.  Rice did an excellent job of telling the story so the reader knew what was going on while also playing out these all to human circumstance.  I think of all the girls, Skye and their mother gained the most throughout this novel.  They gained self-respect, they gained a sense of self and in the mother's case she gained a sense that she was enough for her daughters in the best way she could be at any given moment.  Not necessarily what they wanted or even needed but she was enough.

I'm glad I own this book because it is one I would read again.  I also think that it is one that in re-reading you will pick out more things that were missed the last time around.  I have to apologize for thinking that 'Firefly Beach' was just a beach read, and not because of the title.  It's a book that makes you want to bash heads but also makes you think.  If you really think you can find the parallels, in thought process if nothing else, to yourself and others you know.  Hopefully through the characters' growth you might just find a little bit of growth for yourself as well.

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Firefly Beach
About Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two novels including THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, her first YA novel. Five of her books have been made into movies and mini-series, many have been New York Times bestsellers and two of her pieces have been featured in off-Broadway theatre productions. She divides her time between New York City and the Connecticut shoreline.

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