Author Denise Hunter’s been around a while – but she’s new to me. Dancing with Fireflies is the first book I’ve read of hers. It’s the second in her “Chapel Springs Romance” series. Let’s just say I’m now a huge fan! I loved the setting, characters, storyline – basically everything about it!
Jade McKinley finds herself pregnant, alone, and chasing a failing dream in Chicago. She makes the tough decision to return home to Chapel Springs, Indiana, for the support of her family and the hope of a real career. What she doesn’t expect, however, is circumstances out of her control occupying her family so that she’s left alone while carrying the biggest burden of her life. Long time family friend Daniel Dawson, the young mayor of Chapel Springs, becomes the only person she can rely on for help finding a place to live and a job.
Daniel Dawson grew up as a normal “extra son” in the McKinley household while his own parents were pursuing political aspirations in Washington. Because he’s always been best friends with Jade’s brother, Ryan, she’s always viewed him that way. Daniel’s feelings, however, are not the same. He’s been in love with Jade for as long as he can remember. As he steps in to support Jade, he knows that his personal feelings can’t be revealed to her – that would destroy any hope of a friendship with Jade. And at this time in his life, friendship is all Daniel can hope for. He’s also being pushed by his parents to advance his political career. Through all of this, he must discover his dream and where his heart lies.
It’s really sweet and refreshing that Daniel is already in love with Jade at the beginning of their story. This makes it a not-so-typical romance and builds tension from the beginning. Jade has no clue he feels that way. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that when Jade finally considers the possibility of Daniel being attracted to her, I was ecstatic, to say the least. It was about time. (Really, I wanted to sit down with her and have a nice long chat about why he’s so perfect. Someone needed to tell her that he’s loved her that way for years.)
The story is told with great detail, painting a vivid picture without weighting down the storyline. It moves swiftly, while the characters maintain a certain depth of personality. It’s a beautiful illustration of how true love sacrifices and always puts others first. The characters, including the boisterous and caring McKinley family, are the type you want to get to know and have over for dinner.
Dancing with Fireflies is a wonderful drama and romance about growing in faith and finding unexpected happiness. Denise takes you along on Jade and Daniel’s journeys as they learn to forgive, let go of past heartaches, and open up to love.
“The same sun that burns a shallow-rooted plant will nourish a deeply-rooted one. I hope your roots burrow down deep. It won’t take away your troubles or make things perfect, but it does give you peace and strength through the hard times.” – Mama Jo McKinley, Dancing with Fireflies
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Thank you to BookLook and the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for providing a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read any of Denise’s books? What is your favorite?