Please note: In an effort to discuss this novel and why I have these opinions, I will be revealing a plot twist that isn’t discussed in the plot summary though this twist is revealed in the first chapter. dancing with fireflies

‘DANCING WITH FIREFLIES,’ BY DENISE HUNTER. Review of the 2014 contemporary novel, book two of Chapel Springs. Text © Rissi JC

Controversial or sensitive subjects are hard to get right in any forum. Particularly so in novels since no matter how hard a writer strives, it’s always a challenge to makes a point without benefit of tonal expression. Denise Hunter tackles what is likely to be a tough subject.

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STORY: McKinley sister Jade is a free-spirit, which leads her to leave behind her cozy home of Chapel Springs Indiana; she heads to Chicago where she hopes her music career would be jump-started. Instead, she returns home broken, with no money and a baby on the way. Afraid of what her family will think, Jade first sees her friend Daniel Dawson who is more “adopted” brother than friend to the McKinley family. He’s also the man who strangely has always been the kind of constant in Jade’s life she doesn’t fully understand. When their pasts collide, both Jade and Daniel will have to confront the secrets they aren’t sharing before either of them can find their future.

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Dancing with Fireflies, by Denise Hunter | Book Review

Teasers don’t tell us what goes on in city Jade’s life, but there’s a mistake that goes on to change her life. One that she makes having fallen away from Christ. Little did I realize the child would be as a result of an emotional story that will tug on your heartstrings. None of the summaries tell the reader that Jade’s pregnancy is as the result of rape. Such a subject is probably going to be a sensitive one for some readers. For the most part, this novel is good. I’d been anticipating Jade’s story for a while now and can say I’m thrilled to have finally been able to read it. Hunter never seems to take for granted Daniel or Jade’s feelings, and in fact, it’s these that get the pair of them in the most trouble.

Jade’s emotional heartbreak isn’t as somber or emotionally impressing as one would assume such an experience might inspire. What fallout there is, the authors deals with very well and I never doubt Jade feels everything at times. Daniel falls easily back into his role of comforter, worrier and friend which is both sweet and frustrating, and this leads to something I don’t like. The ARC text puts too much emphasis on the physical love between these two, and it’s a stretch simply for the subject matter. I don’t mind “passion” however the entire relationship is buffed up as entirely physical. This I’m not going to root it on beyond the conciliatory emotion of “knowing” the pair belongs together. This I find true even understanding the differential between what happens to Jade and what her relationship is with Daniel. dancing with fireflies

That being said, make no mistake, Jade’s story is sweet in an emotional sort of way and naturally, this reader is as anxious as ever to revisit Chapel Springs. No matter what’s next, whether it’s about PJ or Ryan, I know Denise Hunter will write a beautiful, inspirational novel of the best kind.

About the Book:

Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Publisher ARC
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: Goodreads | Novel Crossing | WordPress
Add the Book: Goodreads
Series: Chapel Springs – book 2
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Romance, Christian
Rating: 3 out of 5

Sincere thanks to the publisher, Thomas Nelson for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. This is on my TBR list since I read a Denise Hunter novella and loved it. Thanks for honestly sharing your thoughts about the plot and characters!

    1. Ooo! I want to read that novella too, Heidi (it's her new one, right!?) as it's about the sister of the leading man in book one of this series. I read somewhere that it – along with the other books in the "Weddings" series – will eventually be in print form, so once that arrives, I'm going to collect them all. :)

      Thank you for reading – I strive to be honest in all my reviews and above anything else, I hope that comes through. :)

  2. I'll be reviewing this one as part of the tour with Litfuse. I haven't read it yet, so I'm curious to see what I think. I think I'm gonna like it. :)

    1. As always, I'll be anxious to read your review, Tressa – I think you'll enjoy it too! It's a great time back visiting Chapel Springs and I see Denise has a third coming this December called Wishing Season… I believe (if my Twitter timeline memory is intact). Cannot wait to read that one – and to know who it's about. :)

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