The First Time at Firelight Falls (Hellcat Canyon, #4) by Julie Anne Long
Series: Hellcat Canyon #4
Published by Avon on May 29th 2018
“Days like these made being a Navy SEAL seem definitely easier than being an elementary school principal.”
FINAL DECISION: Passionate, romantic, funny, fabulous and so incredibly normal. This is my favorite book of the year so far…and I’m not sure another book is going to be able to top it.
THE STORY: Eden Harwood was the good girl who ended up pregnant. She adores and dedicates her life to her ten year old daughter and her life is busy and seems full until something starts with the elementary school principal Gabe Caldera. Gabe destroys any stereotypes of what a school principal should look like. When the two begin a lot of flirtation, Eden realizes that she might be missing something that she needs. In that moment, the secret of her daughter’s paternity that Eden has kept for ten years may not be secret much longer and might just destroy the relationship that Gabe and Eden are building.
OPINION: This might be the most beautiful book about love that I have ever read, but at the very least it is the best book I have read this year so far and I can’t really imagine another book topping it.
So much is written about love and romance but this book has something really important to say — love is not only about the rush of excitement and lust but also about constancy and stability and being there.
I read this book without stopping from the first to last page — not because of the suspense or the drama — but because of the quietness of the romance. How it fills all the spaces in the lives of these characters. How it exists in the reality of real lives. How often do I turn to romance as escapism? — read about a duke or a billionaire or a famous actor. This is the story of a single mother florist who falls for a school principal during the car pickup and community meetings.
Now I know that I’ve turned off some people who might say “I don’t need to read about my own boring normal life” but I urge you to give this book a chance. Because this book beautifully gives everyone hope: the single mother who doesn’t have a moment to herself, the serious man who has a life filled with responsibilities, those who have made mistakes that effect the rest of their lives, those who have suffered loss.
This book filled me up with joy and wonder and such a sense of peace by its end. Sometimes, often times, when I finish a book I enjoy, I have a difficult time writing the review. The book just takes all the space and I have trouble expressing what about the book captivated me. This sometimes causes a problem because I am quickly off to the next book and I hate having reviews backed up.
This book was different. I felt filled to the brim and overflowing and all I wanted to do was write this review. And I had no immediate interest to fill the space with another book.
Gabe and Eden are so normal that I couldn’t imagine that Julie Anne Long would be able to keep up the interest and tension. But by using the absolutely ordinary events as a flirty and significant interchange between the two, the book manages to fill all the regular moments in their lives with meaning and passionate tension, but always with a humor and an joy in the small things. Never has a normal life been so sexy.
WORTH MENTIONING: There is even a tiny Pennyroyal Green reference for fans of Long’s prior historical series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE FIRST TIME AT FIRELIGHT FALLS is the fourth book in the Hellcat Canyon series. The book can be read as a standalone although there are characters from the other books who appear here.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 amazing stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to assist me in preparing this review. I was not required to write a review and I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.