Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski
I wasn’t expecting quite this emotional a journey when I started this book, but J.A. Redmerski doesn’t hold back: life isn’t always pretty or straightforward, and we live every ugly, convoluted twist along the way. Intentions don’t always bring us a happy ending, and some people are simply too broken to fix, and are best left alone.
Song of the Fireflies
Elias and Bray met as children, and instantly were the best of friends. Throughout everything, Elias stood by Bray’s side offering comfort, friendship, loyalty and stability. Something that was missing in her life. A greatly troubled soul, even as a child, Bray is one of those wounded people who never actually step forward to fix themselves, preferring to wait for someone else to complete them and fill the gaps.
Emotionally trying, I was so angry with Bray and her callous disregard of the man who tried to be by her side: just the fact that Elias gave her another chance after she disappeared without a word or trace for years should have proven his character to her. But, she’s so unable to make a good choice, it’s like she’s programmed to pick the worst option. Always. Now, I could understand her trust issues, but Elias has been there for her: for him, the loyalty earned in childhood equates to his almost unconditional acceptance and willingness to forgive her anything, and he does so repeatedly. Yet, she can’t seem to incorporate that into her reactions.
Elias too, for me, became frustrating. While you can’t help who you love, you can make choices that won’t run your heart through a meat grinder, repeatedly. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that those words or every moment you stand by them will help them to learn to love and forgive themselves. He has so much to offer the right person, and I don’t see that as Bray, no matter HOW much he may want her.
This is a beautifully depicted and emotionally charged relationship that is everything that a relationship should not be: one-sided, laden with deception and disbelief, heartache and horrendous behavior. It is so easy to be the one who ‘gives more’ in a relationship, Redmerski just elaborates on that issue in the extreme version: neither are ever truly settled or happy, and for Elias, I even actually held out hope to the end that Bray would realize what she had.
Narration in this story is provided by Chelsea Hatfield and Douglas Berger. I will say that the use of two narrators worked well, as they were able to play off one another, carefully presenting the words on the page. Hatfield managed to incorporate the hesitancy, caution and self-absorbed moments of reckless disregard that Bray displays regularly into her performance: there is that ‘tone’ that we all know when someone is absorbed in their own purpose, but responding to you. This sense of disregard of the personhood of Elias was a frequent feel from Bray, and Hatfield elucidated those moments beautifully. Douglas Berger hit all of the right notes with Elias, the frustration, desire, need and the utterly confused moments that followed every bad act, along with the “I am being patient and explaining for the millionth time” background tone of utter frustration with Bray’s inability to believe in his love for her. I can only expect that this performance was exhausting for both narrators, they hit every note perfectly and the voices were nuanced and laden with the often dark and despairing aura surrounding this story overall.
Redmerski did not write a happy fluffy skip in to the sunset story here: deeply emotional, twisting and turning that keeps readers and listeners at the edge of discomfort, this was a wonderful listen.
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: Song of the Fireflies
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Narrator: Chelsea Hatfield, Douglas Berger
Published by: Forever, Hachette Audio
Published on: 4 February 2014
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 41 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
About the Book:
New York Times bestselling author J.A. Redmerski brings us a stunning and heart-wrenching new novel about a couple who find each other in their darkest moment.
Since they were kids, Elias Kline and Brayelle Bates have been inseparable. When Bray moves to South Carolina, separating the two for the first time, they both at last realize that their innocent childhood friendship has developed into something much more. So when Bray finally returns to Georgia—and to Elias—things between them couldn’t be more perfect…until one fateful night changes everything.
Desperate not to go to prison for a terrible accident, Elias and Bray decide to run. As they try to make the most of their freedom, the two find themselves relying on a rebellious group of people who tempt the duo into a wild and daring new life. But they can’t run from their troubles forever.
As the consequences of their past catch up to them, the couple must finally face reality. Even if they can make it through the unimaginable, Elias knows the truth about Bray’s painful history, and in the end he may not be able to save Bray from herself…
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.