Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Time of the Fireflies, by Kimberley Griffiths Little

One evening, in her home above her parent's antique shop in a small bayou town in Louisiana, Larissa answers a phone call on one of the antique phones from the shop - a phone which isn't hooked up.  A mysterious voice tells her frantically that she must "trust the fireflies" and that it's "a matter of life or death." The message and the medium make little sense to Larissa but soon she is embroiled in a mystery involving ancient curses and betrayals, time travel, and family tragedies.

This wonderful and complex story plays well as a decent supernatural mystery novel, and includes some nice gentle (and subtle) lessons about forgiveness and familial reconciliation that are appropriate for a middle reader.  There are a few rough spots in the narration (and the resolution is a bit from out in left field), but overall this is a satisfying story and engrossing read.  Little avoids the types of good ol' boy Southern stereotypes that plague stories place in the bayou, and instead uses the setting and local color to prettify the story.  I also appreciated the fact (which I only realized in conclusion) that all of the important characters in the story are female -- proving that one can write a story that is empowering without having to make a big point in doing so.  People who are squeamish about creepy possessed dolls, however, should probably give this one a pass.

[Disclosure:  I solicited and received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.  The book is planned for release at the end of July.]

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