Title: Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter
A Chapel Springs Romance Book Two
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Denise Hunter’s Dancing with Fireflies is a lovely novel of healing, friendship and unexpected love. Jade McKinley left the small town of Chapel Springs to begin a new life in Chicago. When she returns a year later, she finds herself depending on close family friend Daniel Dawson as she tries to get her life back on track.
Jade and Daniel have been friends for years but while Jade’s feelings for him have always been friendship, Daniel’s feelings for her have much deeper. Daniel watched as Jade fell in love with another man and he was there for her when she lost the love of her life in a tragic accident. Jade never recovered from the heartbreak of that loss and she has no intention of ever experiencing a pain like that again. When circumstances force Jade to seriously plan for her future, she seeks Daniels assistance in finding employment and a place to live and their friendship deepens. A surprising suggestion from Jade takes their relationship in a new direction, but will Jade’s fears stand in the way of their future?
Jade is close to her family but she has valid reasons for keeping her secrets from them. She is independent and determined to make it on her own, but she does not let her need to succeed on her own keep her from accepting help when it is offered to her.
Daniel is such a wonderful, caring man. He loves being the mayor of Chapel Springs but his parents’ expectations for his political future weigh heavily on him. Daniel never hesitates to give Jade whatever she asks, and while it is great that his support for her is unconditional, it is a little heartbreaking watching him get hurt in the process.
Jade and Daniel’s shared history provides a wonderful backdrop for their evolving relationship. Their friendship is easygoing and uncomplicated despite Jade’s current predicament and Daniel’s longstanding love for her. Jade slowly begins to view Daniel as a man (versus a male friend), but she does not examine her changing feelings for him too closely. Daniel’s feelings for Jade continue to deepen, but fearing she would reject him if he confessed his love for her, their relationship remains platonic. After Jade’s unexpected proposition, they become even closer, but will their friendship give way to romance?
The circumstances surrounding Jade’s pregnancy are unexpected but Ms. Hunter adroitly handles a difficult subject with a great deal of sensitivity. This part of the plot is never downplayed, but it never overshadows the overall storyline either. Jade’s reactions are realistic and it is easy to understand the reasons for the decisions she made for her future.
Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter is an engaging and heartwarming novel. The characters are well-developed and appealing. The storyline has plenty depth and the relationship between Jade and Daniel is believable. A lovely faith-based romance that I highly recommend.