This book is warmer than a campfire on a cool summer’s eve.
Heartwarming. If there is one word to describe The Firelight Girls by Kaya McLaren, it’s heartwarming. I picked this novel up at a huge library book sale on a whim. Usually, I research books before I read them, let alone purchase them. I like to know exactly what I’m getting into. But this book called to me. Maybe it was the title. Maybe it was the pink sunset cover. Or maybe it was just my soul knowing this was exactly what I needed.
The Firelight Girls is a happy book. It is so uplifting and light. It’s the type of book you want to read curled up under a tree or beside a fire. The book isn’t superficial though: while everyone gets a happy ending, they go through hardships to achieve it. Maybe that’s what makes the story so cozy and sweet.
My favourite part was how McLaren was able to create all these unique, independent women. Every single one of them has their own story, and their stories aren’t ones traditionally told. There’s Ethel, the woman who fell in love with a woman in the 1950s. There’s Ruby, who Love passed over. There’s Shannon, single in her 40s and wanting to teach but not knowing how. There’s Lauren, who’s been with her husband for so long she’s forgotten what love is. Then there’s Amber, whose mother neglects her in favour for men and drugs. And lastly, there’s the camp itself, who is home and so much more to each of these women.
The story isn’t world-shattering. The prose isn’t so beautiful that you could cry. The characters aren’t ones that will haunt you for the rest of your life. But still, this story remains important, one that shows the bonds of womanhood and how a place can shape and make a person. It’s a wonderful read to soften your cold heart, especially if you have experienced camp before, or anything similar to it.
So if you find this book at a book sale, or a garage sale, or on the shelf of a bookstore — or if you find any other book that seems to call to you– take the chance on it. Sometimes, a warm book-hug is all you need.
3.5 campfires out of 5.