17 March 2014

Review: Dancing With Fireflies by Denise Hunter

Beautiful Romance 

Jade McKinley has moved home to Chapel Springs, jobless, broke and pregnant from a date gone wrong. Daniel Dawson has loved Jade for years, but his parents have political ambitions for him, and those aspirations will require a suitable political wife. Not Jade. Anyway, Jade still sees him as some kind of surrogate brother.

I’ve read several books by Denise Hunter, and I’ve always enjoyed her mix of personalities and her small-town settings. Dancing with Fireflies is no different in that respect. It’s a sweet romance with likeable characters that it’s easy to feel for. My one complaint—common to all the Denise Hunter books I’ve read—is that it’s more a clean romance than a Christian romance. It's not that the characters aren't Christians (they are), but more that their faith isn't a significant part of the story.

I see this as a growing trend, perhaps as authors and publishers try to expand their market outside the traditional Christian fiction readers, and I’m in two minds about it. On one hand, I want to read fiction (especially romance) that reflects my Christian values. I want fiction to feature realistic characters, people who don’t spout Bible verses with every sentence. At the same time, I like to see a Christian theme or faith-based subplot, and while there was plenty of potential for this in Dancing with Fireflies, I didn’t see it coming through.

Despite this, I really enjoyed Dancing with Fireflies, probably more than I’ve enjoyed any of the other Denise Hunter books I’ve read. I think that’s because the characters are people I could truly empathise with. Jade is in an impossible situation through no fault of her own, and is now afraid to love. Daniel has loved her for years, but has been afraid to tell her, and is now spending more and more time with Jade. She’s pregnant and doesn’t want to tell her family at first, which leaves Daniel as her only support—and which shows him to be a hero any reader could fall in love with (surely the most important test of a romance novel). And those kisses ...

As usual, the path of true love doesn’t run smooth, but Dancing with Fireflies will leave you with a happy sigh. Recommended for fans of Carla Laureano and Andrea Grigg.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Litfuse PR for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Denise Hunter at her website.

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