Firefly Beach by Luanne Rice is one of her best books yet. Her books are incredibly sensitive, the characters are so real and believable, and she writes from her heart. Her writings seem to center on family issues that one can relate to at one time or another. Rice lets us know that love can heal, prevail and make things right.
Caroline Renwick knows the secret of Joe Connor's father's untimely death when he was only six. Yet Caroline befriends him at a young age and their relationship grows deeper through their letters to each other. That is, until Joe discovers the truth of his father's death, and at seventeen and blames Caroline for not telling him the truth, and cuts her out of his life.
Years later, Joe comes back into Caroline's life, back to Firefly beach to see for himself where the death occurred, and to find some more answers. Now a grown woman, Caroline, remains the main support for her mother and two sisters, as they all must confront those demons and deal with them, as well as the arrival of Joe Connor.
With grace and style, Luanne Rice portrays a dysfunctional family whose yearnings to heal are marred by more challenges and confrontations. With Joe's help, Caroline is able to listen to her heart and to her longings and in the process helps her own family to find the strength to heal and to love again.
This was another could not put down book, and Ms. Rice writes with the same sensitivity that I have come to admire in her previous books. A very endearing love story - I highly recommend it!
This report prepared by Judith E. Pavluvcik
Bantam, Jun 2001, 6.99, 363 pp.
In 1969 at FIREFLY BEACH, Connor arrives at the Renwick home carrying a gun. He accuses the famous artist Hugh Renwick of stealing his wife and plans to steal something that the man loves. However, Renwick is not at home and Connor is unable to kill any of the three Renwick sisters as he had planned. Instead he kills himself. Five-year old Caroline Renwick begins exchanging letters with Connor's six-year-old son Joe, but those letters end years later when he learns his dad committed suicide rather than dying from a heart attack.
Over three decades later, Joe returns to FIREFLY BEACH to meet the Renwicks and gain closure. Instead, he finds the Renwicks needing emotional help too. He helps one sister dry out, but opens his heart to the vulnerable, caring Caroline as love blossoms between them. However, that tragedy thirty plus years ago still nightmarishly lingers as a blockage to any permanent relationship between Caroline and Joe.
FIREFLY BEACH is a powerful look at how one tragic event impacts on innocent family members. Three decades after their father had an affair with his mother; all four now adult children and the girls' mother still are psychologically damaged. Luanne Rice escorts the audience inside the heads of her cast so the reader can feel the swirling often-dark emotions that threaten to engulf each character. Ms. Rice is among the top gurus in invoking a realistic healing power of love in her novels and this novel showcases the author at her holistic best.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner