Review

Firefly Island

by Lisa Wingate

Mallory Hale is a city girl, through and through. An ambitious congressional staffer on Capitol Hill, she’s happily living the single life. Although not necessarily looking for a man, when she lays eyes on scientist Daniel Webster Everson while not so gracefully squatting in a pencil skirt and pumps, retrieving the papers she’d just scattered all over the floor, it’s love at first sight.

One month later, after a whirlwind romance, she finds herself with a husband, a three-year-old stepson, and a one-way ticket to Moses Lake, Texas, a.k.a. Timbuktu to a city slicker like Mallory. Daniel has been offered a job working in the research lab for millionaire Jack West. A man who Mallory discovers has a shady past, as his second wife and 10-year-old son disappeared under mysterious circumstances. No charges were brought against Jack at that time, but Mallory can’t push aside the warning bells ringing loudly in her head.

"FIREFLY ISLAND will appeal to fans of political intrigue, mystery, romance, and women’s fiction. A strong voice, intelligent plot, and small-town setting make Moses Lake a place you’ll want to revisit again and again."

The first thing Mallory does when they arrive in Moses Lake is ask herself what the heck she was thinking in giving up her comfortable life for…this. To say she’s out of her comfort zone as a country bumpkin is the understatement of the year. Between the old, run-down home that comes with Daniel’s job and the various critters that have taken up residence in the closets and cupboards, she’s tempted to grab the car keys and flee back to her mother. Which says how bad it really is, since her mother is the last person she’d typically run to in a crisis.

But Mallory made a commitment and she is going to keep it --- especially since she’s still hopelessly in love with Daniel and her newly inherited son, Nick, the adorable toddler who has captured her heart. So, while Daniel is at work, Mallory busies herself with caring for Nick, attempting to turn her house into a home while ridding its nasty inhabitants, and trying not to think about the scorpions she’s told “mostly live on the other side of the lake.” Eventually, at the suggestion of her friends back home, she starts a blog titled “The Frontier Woman,” which quickly takes off and gives her something fun to focus on.

As Mallory adjusts to her new life, she makes some unconventional friends, and slowly discovers a few more details about the scandal surrounding Daniel’s boss, Jack West. Little by little, Mallory grows more determined to find the truth and figure out the secret of Firefly Island, a small island that Jack has forbid them to visit. The question is how far Mallory will go to protect her family.

FIRELY ISLAND is the third installment in the Moses Lake series by Lisa Wingate. Like the others, it stands alone, although you’ll find plenty of cameos by familiar characters from the previous two books. Written in first person, from the very first page, main character Mallory makes a blazing entry and maintains a strong presence throughout. On the flip side, while at first Daniel seems like Mr. Wonderful, I have to say that once they arrive in Moses Lake, he has a few unlikable moments as he seems to put his job before his family, but he gets better as the story progresses.

The writing is crisp and fresh, with vivid descriptions and clever phrasing. Even with the suspense and intrigue, there is plenty of humor inserted throughout, making for an entertaining read. The fierce love Mallory has for her family, and her willingness to give up life as she knows it to stand by her man, is admirable, and her relationship with little Nick is sweet and touching. The faith element is subtly woven throughout, mostly as Mallory’s inner ponderings about God during the second half of the story.

FIREFLY ISLAND will appeal to fans of political intrigue, mystery, romance, and women’s fiction. A strong voice, intelligent plot, and small-town setting make Moses Lake a place you’ll want to revisit again and again.

Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on May 17, 2013

Firefly Island
by Lisa Wingate