Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Elizabeth White's Fireworks, Reviewed

Fireworks (May 2006)
By Elizabeth White
Published by Zondervan
ISBN 10-0-310-26224-0

Former ATF agent Susannah Tait is out to prove that pyrotechnics genius Quinn Baldwin is responsible for a million-dollar fireworks catastrophe during a Mardi Gras ball. With her faithful black lab, Monty—a retired explosives task force animal—Susannah moves to the charming backwater town of Mobile, Alabama to uncover the truth.

On the pretext of researching for a doctoral thesis, Susannah suffers herself to be dragged to church, ministry projects and gargantuan southern dinners—all in the name of thorough investigation. But this world traveled military brat with a string of letters behind her name finds herself wholly unprepared to navigate the cultural quagmire of the Deep South. Everyone she interviews, from local ATF agents to Azalea Trail Maids, seems to speak a foreign language.

Captivated by the unexpected warmth and joy of her new circle of friends, Susannah struggles to keep from falling for a subject who refuses to be anything but a man of integrity, compassion, and lethal Southern charm. Fireworks offers a glimpse into the heart of the South and a cynical young woman's first encounter with Christ like love.

I enjoyed this romantic suspense. White uses her talents as a word artist, delivering picturesque portraits of the south and its inhabitants. I chuckled as Susannah Tait struggled to understand the cultural differences from her own Arizona roots. As a native of California transplanted into the south, I could relate to this heroine.

Fireworks abound, both in the sky and between Susannah and Quinn. A great read, well plotted with many unexpected twists. A few times I thought I had the mystery figured out, but then the plot spun in a different direction. I was left with one unaswered question though. Why does an explosives task force Labrador Retriever cower under covers during a thunder storm?

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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