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Cottonwood Whispers Paperback – August 31, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Jessilyn Lassiter Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Strong character development strengthens the storyline and leaves the reader anticipating more novels, hopefully a sequel. Valent is a gifted author with a promising future." --Romantic Times Magazine, October, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1 Original edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414333269
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414333267
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the four years since the events of Fireflies in December, Jessilyn Lassiter has grown into a young woman of seventeen. She's still the feisty, head-strong character we remember, but almost killing a man and facing an angry KKK mob has a way of forcing a girl to grow up fast. Maybe she's lost some innocence, but Jessilyn's still a kid--much to her dismay. She longs for the day when her friend Luke Talley sees her as more than a girl, but until then life's confusing enough. Her best friend Gemma, like a sister in every way except her skin color, has grown up fast herself. Now she's working at a wealthy family's estate, and her crush on the youngest son thrusts her into another event which threatens to tear her and Jessilyn apart.

A young girl's death, a mother's grief, an innocent man accused of murder . . . all only add to Jessilyn's warring emotions. Her heart cries for justice, but in 1936 Virginia justice comes too often in the form of a vigilante mob. Will Jessilyn's family survive another tumultuous summer?

In her follow-up to the award-winning novel Fireflies in December Jennifer Erin Valent had a tough act to follow. Aging a character isn't easy, but Valent's sophomore project is just as good as her first. She nails the dialect and mannerisms of southern Virginia with ease. We hear the accents perfectly without wading through phonetic gibberish. We feel the tangible struggles of a family surviving the lean Depression era.

Prejudice and its devastating consequences took front and center in Fireflies in December, and it's the theme here in Cottonwood Whispers as well. But this time it's not so much whites against blacks (though that's still a prevalent aspect), it's more about racism toward the simple, those who aren't like us, people who are different.
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Format: Paperback
This wonderful story is a sequel to Fireflies in December.

The story takes place in 1936 in the deep south.

Little Gemma Teague has grown into a young teenager bound for trouble. She has been adopted into a white family after her parents died and her best friend is Jessilyn Lassiter. The girls have grown up together and experienced first hand prejudice in the small community where they live. Jessilyn's family raised her as their own daughter, overlooking many problems that rose during that time in American History.

Although Jessilyn warns her, Gemma falls for an older white man and sees him secretly as she works for his family, the well to do Hadleys.

A young girl is killed and no one knows who could have done it. The town is torn as a man is wrongly accused. Jessilyn discovers the truth but everyone is against her as she struggles to ferret out the real killer and bring justice to this small backward town who would just as soon lynch someone than to give them a fair trial.

Jessilyn turns to Luke Talley to help her find the real killer and try to regain her friendship with Gemma. In the process, Jessilyn finds herself even more attracted to the man who works for her father. Luke has become more than a friend.

Jennifer Erin Valent has captured the way things really were in America in 1938 in the deep South where strife and mixed feelings of right and wrong rose their ugly heads up in righteous indignation.

I loved this story where the "truth always comes out". There are no hidden secrets when exposed to the light of Christ.

Paulette L. Harris
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the sequel to Fireflies in December, and carries on the story of the Lassiter family--a Christian family who tries to treat all people fairly and kindly. It is told through the eyes of the teenage daughter, Jessilyn, and deals with her thoughts, struggles and doubts while focusing on the love she feels for a young man, Luke Talley, who was introduced in the first book. This series deals with race relations, violence and prejudice, while showing how goodness, kindness, and courage can defeat evil and hatred. While the faith of the family members is key, it is hard for the main character to believe as easily as some of those around her-- which keeps the story from being too saccharine. Much Christian fiction strains so hard to present the "message" that there is little plot and no character development, but I didn't feel that was the case with this book and its predecessor. Overall, good wholesome fiction that I found very enjoyable. I'm now reading the third book in the series and highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
Jennifer Erin Valent, winner of the Christian Writers Guild's 2007 Operation First novel award winner, does it again. Cotton Whispers, the sequel to Fireflies in December, continues the friendship between Jessilyn Lassiter and Gemma Teague. The summer of 1936 brings with it tragedy and heartache that threatens to tear their friendship apart. Gemma works for a local wealthy family where she falls in love with their youngest son. Jessilyn tries to come between the two, telling Gemma he is no good. When Jessilyn's young neighbor girl is hit by a car and killed, it threatens to dissolve Jessilyn and Gemma's friendship.

Jessilyn's world comes crashing in when a sweet elderly friend is accused of the crime. After discovering who was actually responsible for the child's death, Jessilyn discovers that coming forward could lead to her father losing everything. Jessilyn is in the midst of discovering what it means to become a woman and questioning what kind of God allows these tragedies to happen to good people.

Many times an author has one great book in them, Jennifer Erin Valent has many. After reading the first sentence "I've heard the dead whisper," I knew I was not going to bed until I finished this page-turning book. Valent does a wonderful job in bringing her characters to life. Accented with deep southern language Valent has readers feeling like they can actually hear the frogs, cricket, and cicadas. Jessilyn's struggle to understand a God who allows bad things to happen is something many of us struggle with on a daily basis. The testing of faith, the testing of a friendship, and adapting to life's changes is what you will find while visiting the Southern town of Calloway.
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