“Chasing Fireflies” by Charles Martin was recommended by a retired library staff member and I loved, loved, loved it! The story is heart-wrenching at times, as there are characters with a history of abuse. But the hope and goodness of many of the characters shines through, especially that of William Walker McFarland. ‘William/Liam/Willee/Unc’ has many names, and became one of my favorite characters of all time – he is the main character’s foster father, has spent time in prison, and is now a farrier. His “Willie-isms” (quotes or sayings) appear throughout the novel and are so insightful and spot on. William is a very gentle and patient character – he makes the most of life even when dealt very difficult circumstances.
Chase Walker grew up in the McFarland’s home as their foster child. He is now a reporter and is asked to write a story about an abused, orphaned boy that was found at the scene of an accident. The boy is unable to speak, but is a gifted artist. In trying to help this young boy, Chase learns more about himself and finds answers to questions he has always had about his similar past. He also finds answers to the mystery behind a robbery, involving William and his brother, Jack.
This novel is about fifteen years old, but has recently had a resurgence in popularity. It tugged at my heart and I really loved most of the characters. (Of course, there is always a villain . . .) Give “Chasing Fireflies” a try if you love beautiful stories with terrific characters. (Just be aware that there are several descriptions of child abuse that happened to characters in the past – they are now in situations with good people who will help them though.)