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Firefly Cloak
Cover of Firefly Cloak
Firefly Cloak

Eight-year-old Tessa Lee and her little brother, Travis, are left behind at a campground by their mother and her boyfriend, a crooked-nosed man named Goose, with little more than the firefly cloak they’d used for covers the night before. So begins a journey that will take Tessa Lee in search of the mother she longs for. Her quest is steeped in Southern atmosphere and characters: the owner of the cheesy boardwalk show where Tessa Lee finds her mother and loses her again; the bingo-playing grandmother who holds her close; the old man who thinks the CIA is after him and boards up his house. Running throughout, like threads in a cloak, are themes of guilt, loss, and reunion.“Ms. Reynolds’s poetic gifts are uncommonly powerful.”—New York Times Book Review

Eight-year-old Tessa Lee and her little brother, Travis, are left behind at a campground by their mother and her boyfriend, a crooked-nosed man named Goose, with little more than the firefly cloak they’d used for covers the night before. So begins a journey that will take Tessa Lee in search of the mother she longs for. Her quest is steeped in Southern atmosphere and characters: the owner of the cheesy boardwalk show where Tessa Lee finds her mother and loses her again; the bingo-playing grandmother who holds her close; the old man who thinks the CIA is after him and boards up his house. Running throughout, like threads in a cloak, are themes of guilt, loss, and reunion.“Ms. Reynolds’s poetic gifts are uncommonly powerful.”—New York Times Book Review

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About the Author-
  • SHERI REYNOLDS teaches writing and literature at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club pick THE RAPTURE OF CANAAN. Her debut novel, BITTEROOT LANDING, was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Eight-year-old Tessa Lee tells of being abandoned by her mother in a campground with her 4-year-old brother. At 15, Tessa Lee finds and confronts her mother, who flatly denies having had children. Narrator Jenna Lamia's sunny Southern optimism fits Tessa Lee, a wily child with a quick tongue. Lamia is equally believable as Sheila, Tessa Lee's addict mother, and her grandmother, Lil. Through flashbacks and subtle details, Lamia fleshes out their lives, keeping each separate yet inextricably joined with the others. The combination of an absorbing story spanning three generations; multi-layered, well-defined characters; precisely crafted writing; and Jenna Lamia's admirable performance makes this audio worthwhile. S.J.H. [Editor's Note: A soundreview is also available at Audiopolis, www.audiofilemagazine.com.] (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 10, 2006
    Lamia is fast becoming a treasure to the audiobook world—her reading of The Secret Life of Bees
    earned her an Audie nomination. Lamia's performance of Reynolds's novel is a thing of beauty, pitch perfect and dead on. The story of 14-year-old Tessa Lee, who, at seven, was abandoned along with her little brother, Travis, is elevated beyond Reynolds's (The Rapture of Cannan
    ) already poetic text by Lamia's exquisite and skillful interpretation. The pain and anger of abandonment mixed with the ache of yearning to see her ne'er-do-well mother again is made palpable by Lamia's uncanny empathy toward her characters. Lil, Tessa Lee's grandmother and caretaker, tries to hold on to and protect her growing and hurting granddaughter. Though all the characters shine, Lamia's depiction of Tessa Lee is inspired. This is fine acting, not just reading. As one hears Tessa Lee breathing and smiling along with her thoughts, it makes the listener smile, too. Simultaneous release with the Shaye Areheart Books hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 13).

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 13, 2006
    Reynolds's The Rapture of Cannan
    was a list-topping Oprah pick in 1996. Tenyears later, Reynolds's fourth novel gets going quickly by page five: alcoholic, drug-addicted single mom Sheila, taking up in Alabama with the latest in a string of ne'er-do-wells, deserts her two young children at a campground. Eight-year-old Tessa Lee awakes to find toddler Travis wandering around with a phone number magic-markered on his back and has only the shawl left by her mother, festooned with fireflies made of colorful thread, for comfort. Four pages and seven years later, Tessa Lee, who has been living with her grandparents, runs away to confront her mother, who has been sighted working as a mermaid at a Massachusetts boardwalk; she tells Sheila of Travis's death two years earlier and promptly loses her mother a second time. Ranging over the points of view of Tessa Lee, Sheila and distraught grandmother Lil, Reynolds flashes back periodically while the three try to eke out a present. Reynolds is frank in depicting Sheila's often reprehensible behavior and tender in portraying the warmth between Tessa Lee and Lil. The book never fully gels, but it is uplifting in its explorations of family, forgiveness and redemption.

  • --New York Times Book Review

    “Ms. Reynolds’s poetic gifts are uncommonly powerful.”

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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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