Firefly Beach is Meira Pentermann's second novel. Her first novel, Nine-Tenths, was released in September 2011.
Following a divorce from her husband, and her mother's recent death, Beth LaMonte is looking forward to a fresh start when she moves from Albuquerque, New Mexico to a small coastal town in Maine named Virginia Point. Shortly after moving into her new place, Beth notices a firefly flitting about in and out of her home, which becomes aggravating and slightly terrifying. However, Beth's curiosity wins over, and she follows the firefly down to the nearby beach. It is there that Beth discovers an old diary written by a young woman years earlier in 1975.
Instantly intrigued by the diary she finds hidden in the rocks, Beth begins reading and is inspired to paint a picture of the diary's author. Taking her newfound obsession a step further, Beth investigates the whereabouts of the young woman - named Katherine - who mysteriously disappeared years earlier. Only when she can solve Katherine's mystery will Beth finally relax, and move on with her new life.
I attack works by self-published authors with gusto because one never knows when they're about to discover an amazing new talent and enjoyable novel. Firefly Beach is one of those novels.
Readers who enjoy a romantic ghost story will have a hard time putting this one down. The beginning of this novel sets a refreshing tone, which is most likely influenced by Beth's strong will and intention to start a new life. Pentermann writes the setting quite well, and you can almost smell the salty sea air of the Maine coast. Beth's attitude and demeanor upon arriving to the small town is quite accurate given her situation, which makes it relatively easy for readers to relate to and understand her.
Knowing the synopsis before I began reading this book, I found myself speeding through the first several chapters to reach the point where Beth finds the diary. As soon as Beth discovers Katherine's diary, we are set out to learn the mystery behind Katherine's whereabouts. The mystery portion of the novel is very well-written and unpredictable, which, of course, is important to those seeking an engaging and fun read.
Although the final outcome of Firefly Beach is satisfying and pleasing, I feel as if there were many loose ends that could have been tied up and elaborated on. For example, Pentermann provides us with great detail about Beth's painting and art endeavors, but this sub-plot is quickly devoured by the diary mystery, and is left untouched for the remainder of the book. The same goes for Kenny's background and upbringing, which seems wholly irrelevant to the novel; Kenny of whom is the town's local jeweler and hermit who becomes close to Beth and helps her solve the diary mystery.
Overall, Firefly Beach will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, especially since Pentermann leaves us with a possible impending romance for Beth, and the promise of new, close-knit relationships between Beth and the townspeople of Virginia Point. I will definitely read more of Pentermann's novels if and when the opportunity is presented.
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