Jennifer Erin Valent has written a wonderful debut novel, “Fireflies in December”. I was captivated from the first chapter. The story surrounds a family in the depression era in the early 1930’s. The main character, Jessilyn Lassiter was best friends with Gemma, whose daddy helped Jessilyn’s daddy on the farm. One night in the summer, there came up a ferocious storm, lightening flashed everywhere. When Jessilyn saw a strike near Gemma’s house, she and her daddy raced to the scene. They were too late to same Gemma’s momma and daddy, but Gemma was alright. That night, Gemma came to live with the Lassiters. The only problem was that Gemma was a black girl and the Lassiters were white. In the rural South at this time prejudice was prevalent among the citizens. Some cowardly kind wore white sheets and pointed hoods to take their revenge on anyone they saw as fighting against what they thought the South should be like. The Lassiter family went against the typical Southern attitude in taking in Gemma and making her one of their family. Jessilyn, Gemma and the family were pitted against the townspeople and the KKK in particular. Beside loving the story as told in the first person by Jessilyn, I also enjoyed reading the dialogue and prose written in the Southern rural style of speaking. I felt a part of the story. I would highly recommend this book to younger readers as well as adults because it gives a realistic idea of the way our country has grown in the area of race relations. I will be looking for more books by this talented author.
I received a print copy of this book from the Tyndale Publishers in return for my honest review.