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​​​​​​​The Summer of the Firefly by James Carnarvon.

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The Summer of the Firefly , by James Carnarvon.

There is a satisfying and emotional feeling when reaching the end of a good book. A good book, such an easy turn of phrase, and so difficult to achieve. James Carnarvon has managed such an achievement with his wonderful story, full of evocative descriptions, and beautifully drawn characters. In equal measure the ordinary is brought to life as so much more than ordinary, the drama is almost heart breaking, yet full of hope. A message of triumph through struggle, nothing is ever easy, people are human and make mistakes. How different is Father Stefano from the Catholic priest we might expect? How strong is the influence of our parents even when they are no longer there? How easily do events lead themselves to misinterpretation? The author is the first to admit that no story is perfect, but nevertheless, this is a little gem that sparkles with the magnificent landscape of the Italian mountains and villages and with the emotions in the hearts of the people who live there, not the least of whom are two lonely boys.


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I posted this review after the final chapter of the story appeared at GA:

Do not be fooled, as I nearly was, by the opening couple of chapters of this story. You could easily be misled into thinking it is a guidebook to Ravello and its environs such is the detail provided by the author. Indeed I suspect it could easily be used as such.

However, it then develops into a complex story of how a young teen (Gianni) who has recently been orphaned, is transported to live with grandparents who he has never met. The culture change from London to southern Italy is dramatic. His grandparents and other relations are steeped in the traditions of the area and dominated by their religious beliefs.

Gianni finds it hard to adjust to his new life until he finds a friend – Angelo. The relationship that slowly develops between them is the crux of this special story.


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