Firefly Hollow (Firefly Hollow, #1)

Firefly Hollow (Firefly Hollow, #1) - T.L. Haddix Bravo! Part way through this novel I had to pause to contact the author (which I rarely do) to let her know just how much I was loving it! So, what exactly turned me into a fan girl? Being an enthusiast of southern culture, I naturally gravitated to Haddix's desire to preserve and pass along Appalachian lore. What is unique in the telling of Firefly Hollowis it is first and foremost a historical romance, which happens to include paranormal elements. Currently, most paranormal books involving shape-shifters center on the event and present some hero form using their ability. In Firefly Hollow, the supernatural is an element, but is presented in a matter-of-fact way that is passed on like any other recessive gene. I won't spoil the moments, but Owen's character is relatable in terms that he struggles with a hereditary infliction that is misunderstood. If you're not a reader ready to jump into the hardcore underworld of shape-shifters, wolves and so on...but, rather seek mythology, with a great historical love story that shares the unbelievable and forces you to trust what logic says we shouldn't, then this is the book for you! I completely fell for Owen and I truly missed the characters after I turned the last page. The courtship is sweet without being naive. It's the perfect combination of love, desire and intimacy without crudeness. My use of 'sweet' shouldn't be misinterpreted as 'prude.' This book certainly is not that, but it causes tingly goodness rather than conjures up the 'Eww factor.' I'm grateful that the dime store, formulaic love scenes were absent and replaced by something deeper with meaning and more truthful. The awkwardness, the gentleness, eagerness and nervousness were all present, which melted my icy, cynical heart. Haddix communicates this relationship expertly and beautifully. My only criticism was that Sarah cried easily, until I realized that I had cried twice. I had to laugh at myself for that! This isn't a heart-wrenching sob, but rather a mix of happy, tingling tears that makes you long for the best and believe in true love. I'm not a hopeless romantic, in fact, I avoid most books that gush about such silliness, but this story is different where nothing is cheapened or soured by the hope for a happily-ever after. Comparatively, the chemistry is much like Colleen Hoover's, Slammed, another book that brought me to tears. Okay, maybe I do have a romantic bone in my body after all! I adored this story and will continue to read other books by T.L. Haddix. If you haven't yet, I recommend picking up this book. I still think about Sarah and Owen. I want more and wish I could go back to their place in the world. I also applaud Haddix for sharing stories from the Appalachian region, a rich and unique culture within the states. Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!