My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was so excited to pick up this book. It is book two in the Jessilyn Lassiter series by Jennifer Erin Valent and picks up several years after the events in the first book, Fireflies in December. I can’t brag on this series or on this author enough. She’s one of the authors that connects with her fans on social media and is so open and inviting that it really makes you want to read her books—and if you haven’t? You really should! These books capture the heart of the Deep South in a time when prejudice ran deep and weaves a tale of hope and faith in times of adversity.
The year is 1936 and Jessilyn Lassiter is turning seventeen years old. Her best friend is a black girl which is highly unusual for the time period. Of course there is a back story to this friendship and it all began with deep prejudice, threats and fear as the family lived under the watchful eyes of local Klan members. Things have greatly improved but change is slow in coming and things are still difficult at times for the Lassiter Family.
When Gemma starts working for the Hadley family she takes a brief interest in Joel Hadley. Jessi knows from the get-go that something isn’t right about this situation. Gemma becomes distant and withdrawn which brings further worry to Jessi.
When tragedy strikes the town and an innocent man is accused of committing a terrible crime—Jessi turns her suspicions to Joel Hadley and she is determined to find out the truth behind Gemma’s secrecy so that she can save the accused, Mr. Poe. Now, Mr. Poe isn’t like everyone else—they say he’s “special” and it doesn’t take much variation from the normal for people to become suspicious.
This book was so heart wrenching and the characters were incredibly well written and loveable. I especially loved the simple wisdom in Mr. Poe and the trust in the Lord that Miss Cleta possesses. I think the best quote in the entire book was said by Miss Cleta and it was a calm reminder for me to put my worries in the Lord.
“Hear that breeze?” She closed her eyes and a sweet smile spread out across her face. “It’s like the breath of God washin’ over me, stealin’ away all my worries, whisperin’ precious words.”
This book was absolutely fantastic. I can’t brag enough on it or on the words of wisdom within the pages. Oh, and before I forget to mention it—there’s also a budding romance in this story that is absolutely sweet and realistic. I can’t wait to pick up book three of this series!
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Jennifer Erin Valent is the 2007 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and 2010 Christy Award winner for Fireflies in December. She lives in central Virginia, where she has worked as a nanny for over fifteen years. A lifelong resident of the South, her surroundings help to color the scenes and characters she writes.